I have been meeting with a few hundreds of entrepreneurs so far and there are a few things that start to make me “shake” during a meeting (shake is not good…). There are a few “ideas” or “expressions” that start to disturb me and I often react with humour but i think the tipping point has arrived where i should share it. Who knows maybe that will help in further meetings?
“We have a new web2.0 project”: i have no idea what is web2.0. if you do please explain me first, don’t assume i will guess it. Actually i hate this expression. So now you know it. If you believe you have something new, just explain it and don’t hide behing “buzz” words.
“internet is full of information that nobody knows how to find”: that’s why Google is owning 80% of the market and makes billions every year
“we will do viral marketing to get bigger and in particular address bloggers”: if you ever wrote a blog you should know that all good bloggers (the one you want to catch) are overwhelmed with requests. So you’d better be a bit more specific about being just “viral”
“A new bubble is around”: will not even argue with that. first when you digg, most people can’t really define correctly what “bubble is”. And each time i ask why people think so, then i wish i did not ask the question. I am ready to take any good argument, what makes me “shake” is not the idea it self (after all why not?) but the fact that everyone seems to throw this buzzy idea withtout really understanding it. So far i very rarely heard something holding water. Things could change. but the context so far has not. So i stick to my thinking
“We have no competition”: first make sure that you checked on that well (use BuzzShout or MomB for this), if possible before our meeting. Second you can be sure that if you have a good idea you will have competition. Actually being alone in a market is rather a bad news. Finally you always have competition. If you assume you try to reach internet users, then you will have to convince them to come to your service better than any new service. there are only 24h in a day.
“Alexa shows we are growing”: i have already said enough on how reliable i think alexa is. Come with serious metrics like comscore/hitwise/nielsen but please NO ALEXA (at least not as stand alone). The good news is that if Alexa shows you are not growing >i don’t care, i would even consider that as an advantage
“The blog X reviewed us positively”: so what?. Even if 200 bloggers reviewed you positively (which is great) from a VC point of view, this is not what i am searching for. What i am searching for is a company, not a great blog post.
“We are the eBay/Google of…” Actually that’s fine saying so and helps clarifying your idea. Ambition is good. But just so that you know many entrepreneurs present themself that way. So if you want to be original you might want to find something a bit different ..Curiously nobody wants to be the “Microsoft/MSN” of something…