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This Is The Least You Can Do When You’re Pitched An Idea

Write a list about why it will fail.

In January I joined Gautam Mishra on a quick around-the-world trip to connect with investors. Gautam recounted Inkl’s origin story in each meeting and one act he performed religiously in the early days in response to each pitch struck a chord with me.

But first, what happens when you’re pitched an idea?

For starters, you’re facing another human who has mustered the courage to share the vision they’ve been obsessing over for weeks, if not months.

“Thank you, any questions?”

The pitch just ended. Here’s where you come in.

“Why do you think [venture name] will fail?”

There are three reasons why it’s important to ask this question each time you pitch from now on.

1. It gives your audience permission to be candid

Time is valuable. The quicker someone believes they can be honest about their thoughts, the quicker you’ll have insights to examine and action. Without permission to speak candidly people can have the tendency to sugarcoat feedback and that’s less useful.

2. It demonstrates you’re prepared to learn and grow

Investors look for entrepreneurs who have the mettle to rapidly process and adjust to feedback signals. It’s a precursor to understanding how well they will perform when the going inevitably gets tough.

3. It gets people thinking

I’ve found that people who accept permission to be candid on why a model or venture will fail are the same people who offer up additional insight after the initial conversation. This has come in the form of ideas for product features, offers to test and introductions to other interested parties.

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I write about what I see building companies. Currently growing

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