I’m always kinda nervous and excited before workshops with startups on a new territory. So this time in Moldova was no different. I came earlier to a conference room. Checked everything – meaning I checked if there was a Flipchart and marker. These days I go back to paper. No fancy slides. Just the teams, my feedback and hard work.
It started. A solid selection of startup participating in a competition organised during the Rockit Digital Conference in Chisinau. They listened. For a while as my intros are shorter everyday. It’s not about me. It’s about them. The first task was crafting a message map. It’s usually a test drive. This one was good. they all followed and came up with simple headlines, good supporting messages. Then I explained the model I advocate. Crafting a pitch around the Big Idea-Problem-Solution-Potential-CTA template. And then it’s their time to pitch. Some hesitate. Some say they need to go home and redo everything. And I say – stay and try. Right now. And they do.
Teams pitch one by one and I give feedback. Sometimes harsh but they take it well. And then one girl says: I have not prepared anything earlier. I’m an engineer and I need to know the requirements first then I do the job. I love the sentence. I’m positively curious. Then she adds: So now I know the requirements and I can improvise but I have no slides. Good, I think. Nobody needs slides. So she starts, on her laptop she shows the picture of a guy, a famous influencer from Moldova as we will find out in a second. And she says:
This is Ilia Plămădeală form the Duck Show, an influencer and host of famous youtube channel. He recently made a viral video to promote this conference Rockit. It was a great success and probably helped sell tickets. Rockit used influencer to sell things to a particular audience. But what if they wanted to target the audience in Poland the same way, or France. They would have to search the right influencers and exchange hundreds of boring emails. Sometimes with zero rate success.
This intro was smashing. A great Big Idea in right time and right context. The rest of the pitch was equally good. I was almost disappointed – how can I leave that girl with almost no significant feedback. But all I could say was – good! Practice, rehearse it and don’t overdo it!
It was a rare case when someone took my words, absorbed them and crafted a good narrative. Well, maybe it’s true. It’s best if you take the engineer approach. learn the requirements first and then do the job. Do not come with a ready-to-go solution. Learn and absorb. And practice without being ashamed to improvise.
All the other pitches were good, too. Trust me. This was just one example. But one more thing amazed me. On the very same day, when I was coming back after the fourchette (great fancy food thing). So I was just coming back to my hotel room to binge watch Netflix when a guy I worked with during the workshops stopped me at the lobby. It was 5 hours after the workshop ended and he asked for 30 seconds of my time. Just to show me the presentation they totally remodelled and redesigned after my feedback. I was touched. So focused. So dedicated. I can’t get enough of passionate people like that! Good work Moldova! I’ll be watching you.