The Art of The Elevator Pitch

I’ve been trying to branch out.

I’m not great at public appearances. I don’t go to a ton of parties; I’m not the hollywood elite. I’m just some dude in Austin, Texas that likes to build things. I built Witsi because I thought it would be a cool thing to have exist. I watch Silicon Valley and am a bit surprised at the business connections they find themselves in. How does one get meetings with several venture capital companies? How do I even get invited to those parties? I haven’t worn a toga since college.

On my endless pursuit of finding an audience, (and also being universally and unconditionally loved, but I’ll leave that for my psychologist in a few years), I’ve been attending some events at the Capital Factory. Capital Factory is a local co-working space, VC fund, and entrepreneurial event space. They do a lot of stuff around here: basically every budding entrepreneur in the city has at least heard of it. And I figure, since I’m a budding entrepreneur myself, I should probably at least show up once or twice. I went and saw Alexis Ohanian talk about his VC fund, which was interesting. We hung out! (In the sense that he walked by me at one point and I made up a story to impress myself later when I forget the real story).

Today I attended Epic Office Hours, which was an invigorating experience. Basically, it was speed dating, only with a bunch of CEOs, investors, and other entrepreneurial types who have founded some incredible businesses, and have taken time out of their days to help a bunch of people like me: idiots who have no idea what they’re doing. This was all free. I couldn’t be more impressed. I had time to meet with 4 “mentors” total, and introduce myself and my business to people who could really help me. And they did! I’ve got all their suggestions on my to do list. They gave some really insightful advice.

My biggest questions: how do I build an audience? How do I make people want to use Witsi as much as I do? How should I focus my time?

Obviously, those are hard questions to answer within 15 minutes of knowing me and my product. But these people already had incredible insight. I feel like I have a real path forward now. I can’t thank them enough. The best thing I think I learned was how an elevator pitch works in the wild. For each person you had to walk up, sit down, and tell them exactly what you were working on in less than 30 seconds. Anything more would be wasting time. This is actually really hard! I have so much to say about Witsi and how it works and what it does and where I see it and who I want to use it and…too much. Just spit out what it does in a way that makes people interested. Here, you get to do it rapid fire, until you figure out what works the best. Really useful skill to learn.

I don’t have a great conclusion to this post. Usually there’s some witty ending or some great final point that we all end up learning together. But all I learned here is that going and doing things is better than not doing things.

Next week I’m giving a presentation of my own at an Indie Hackers Capital Factory event next week. If you’re in Austin, come check it out! It’s free. I’ll talk mostly about the struggles I’ve had so far, as a product focused founder who’s not great at business and marketing. It should be a hoot. If you’d like to check it out, sign up on Eventbrite!

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