The Appeal of “New” is Hardwired

Dr. Bianca Wittman of University College London found that making novel choices activates the ventral striatum of the brain. This area is associated with rewarding behavior. Thus, labeling a product as "new" may increase its sales because of this brain wiring. Also, familiar brands also cause higher levels of brain activation, so the perfect pitch [...]

By |2016-10-24T14:14:47-07:00July 9th, 2008|Categories: Marketing and Sales|Tags: |0 Comments

How to Escape Corporate America

Pamela Skillings is the founder of Skillful Communications, a career and communications consulting firm in New York. Previously, Pamela spent more than twelve years as a marketing executive for companies including MasterCard International, Morgan Stanley, and Citigroup. She recently published a book called Escape from Corporate America: A Practical Guide to Creating the Career of [...]

By |2016-10-24T14:15:20-07:00June 9th, 2008|Categories: Human Capital|Tags: |0 Comments

The Art of Unintended Uses

Most people in the mid eighties used personal computers for three primary purposes: spreadsheets, databases, and wordprocessing. Thank God that Paul Brainerd came up with the idea of PageMaker and desktop publishing, or we'd all be listening to music on cassette tapes. The principle that I learned from Aldus is that ultimately customers decide how [...]

By |2016-10-24T14:15:26-07:00June 2nd, 2008|Categories: Cool Stuff, Events, Pitching and Presenting|Tags: |0 Comments

The Art of Sucking Up

There is an art to sucking up. Done too blatantly it will backfire. Done too weakly, you won't get what you want. The perfect suck up contains the following elements: Credibility. No matter how good you suck up, if you don't meet the requirements for placement, a job, an interview, whatever, it won't matter, so [...]

By |2016-10-24T14:16:12-07:00March 25th, 2008|Categories: Events, Marketing and Sales|Tags: |0 Comments

“Everything you should know about me as an entrepreneur you could learn from my OB/GYN”

An email pitch from an entrepreneur named Sherry Couch of BizNiche brought a big smile to my face. First of all, how could I skip an email with a subject line like this one: “Everything you should know about me as an entrepreneur you could learn from my OB/GYN”? Sherry went on to write:I am [...]

By |2015-03-17T13:57:12-07:00February 2nd, 2008|Categories: Pitching and Presenting|Tags: , |2 Comments

Ten Questions With Garr Reynolds

All hail Garr Reynolds! He has written the definitive book about making great presentations: Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery (Voices That Matter). To give you a taste of his book (and increase my link count), here are ten questions (really thirteen) with Garr. Question: Who indexed your book? I know I’m [...]

By |2016-10-24T14:17:10-07:00January 14th, 2008|Categories: Pitching and Presenting|Tags: , |6 Comments

The Art of the Signup Page

A site's signup page is the second most important page on a site (the most important is the home page itself) because this is where you're asking for committment. Everyone worries about the home page (and still don't do a good job), but most companies do a poor job with the signup page. For example, [...]

By |2016-10-24T14:17:16-07:00January 9th, 2008|Categories: Entrepreneurship|Tags: |0 Comments

Ten Questions with Fred Greguras of Fenwick and West

Fred Greguras is a partner at the Silicon Valley law firm of Fenwick and West. He is also a buddy of mine, and I asked him to answer the most common questions of newbie entrepreneurs. His clients have included BioMarker Pharmaceuticals, Excite, Kintana, and Speedera Networks. It’s very important to make the right decisions in [...]

By |2016-10-24T14:18:16-07:00October 11th, 2007|Categories: Entrepreneurship|Tags: |0 Comments

The Top Ten (Sixteen) Lies of Lawyers

Like CEOs, marketers, engineers, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists, lawyers tell their own specialized tales. Most of my experience is with lawyers who do work for tech entrepreneurs, so this is my focus. “I’m really excited about what you are doing and will give your company my personal attention.” Once someone gets to the partner level, [...]

By |2016-10-24T14:18:38-07:00September 24th, 2007|Categories: Venture Capital|Tags: , |35 Comments

Disrupt-Then-Reframe Selling: How to Close a VC?

Have you heard of the concept called “disrupt-then-reframe”? The theory is that you introduce a non-sequitur or unexpected element into your pitch and then immediately inject a call-to-action. The disruption theoretically neutralizes critical thinking and makes a person more susceptible to agree. This concept is the result of a study by Barbara Davis and Prof. [...]

By |2016-10-24T14:18:47-07:00September 13th, 2007|Categories: Marketing and Sales, Venture Capital|Tags: |0 Comments

Data Visualization

My buddy Laura Fitton pointed me to a terrific explanation of visualization techniques. The article is called “Data Visualization: Modern Approaches,” and it’s in Smashing Magazine. The techniques and uses examined are mindmaps, displaying news, displaying data, displaying connections, displaying websites, articles & resources, and tools & services. This picture is an example from Time [...]

By |2016-10-24T14:19:03-07:00August 28th, 2007|Categories: Cool Stuff, Pitching and Presenting|Tags: |0 Comments

How to Talk to the Press

Here’s a video featuring editors and reporters from the Wall Street Journal, Wired, TechCrunch, Seattle Times, and Seattle Post Intelligence discussing how entrepreneurs should pitch the press. You can also read the wrap up if you’re too busy to watch the video. Also, here's a video featuring only Michael Arrington from November, 2006. The short [...]

By |2016-10-24T14:19:33-07:00August 6th, 2007|Categories: Marketing and Sales, Pitching and Presenting|Tags: |0 Comments

How to Write a Business Plan: Ten Questions with Tim Berry

I work in the surreal world of Silicon Valley where venture capitalists fund companies based on PowerPoint pitches and executive summaries. My friend Tim Berry rightfully pointed that business plans still serve an important role in "the rest of the world." He's right, and he should know because he's the president of Palo Alto Software, [...]

By |2016-10-24T14:19:47-07:00July 23rd, 2007|Categories: Entrepreneurship|Tags: |28 Comments

The Nine Best Story Lines for Marketing

Lois Kelly is the author of Beyond Buzz: The Next Generation of Word-of-Mouth Marketing. This is her explanation of the top nine types of stories that people like to talk about. If you’re pitching your company to investors, customers, partners, journalists, vendors, or employees and you don’t use at least one of these story lines, [...]

Bite Your Tongue: Eight More Ways To Improve Your Presentations

There was such a positive response to the speaking tips of Doug Lawrence (email) that I asked him for more stuff. Taking a cue from the fact that “Bite your tongue” was the most popular tip, here are more: Warm-up with a towel. Singers often have to get their chops “up” in their hotel rooms [...]

By |2015-10-29T07:55:21-07:00June 19th, 2007|Categories: Pitching and Presenting|Tags: , |0 Comments

Speaking as a Performing Art

My buddy Doug Lawrence has been a professional singer, music director, and speech coach. He is a highly respected concert artist having sung for almost forty years in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Hollywood Bowl, and throughout Europe with conductors like Leonard Bernstein and Michael Tilson-Thomas. In the last forty years, in addition to singing, [...]

By |2016-10-24T14:20:19-07:00June 12th, 2007|Categories: Pitching and Presenting|Tags: |0 Comments

By the Numbers: How I built a Web 2.0, User-Generated Content, Citizen Journalism, Long-Tail, Social Media Site for $12,107.09

Because of Truemors, I’ve learned a lot about launching a company in these “Web 2.0” times. Here’s quick overview “by the numbers.” 0. I wrote 0 business plans for it. The plan is simple: Get a site launched in a few months, see if people like it, and sell ads and sponsorships (or not). 0. [...]

By |2016-10-24T14:20:28-07:00June 3rd, 2007|Categories: Books, Entrepreneurship|Tags: , |0 Comments


My buddy, Glenn Kelman, the CEO of Redfin, had a strong reaction to last week’s post about PR by Marge Zable Fisher. So much so that he penned an alternate solution to the challenge of a good client-agency relationship: Don’t hire an agency and do it yourself. Here’s what he wrote. Nobody knows if Charlemagne [...]

By |2016-10-24T14:20:35-07:00May 29th, 2007|Categories: Events, Marketing and Sales|Tags: |54 Comments

Make a List and Check It Twice: A Real-World Guide for Speakers and Presenters

Pam Slim provides a great list of things to do prior to making a presentation. If you make speeches, presentations, or pitches, you need to read this. Here’s one more power tip: Show up with your own Countryman E6i microphone. (And tell your host that you need a Shure or Sennheiser body pack.) This has [...]

By |2016-10-24T14:21:03-07:00May 10th, 2007|Categories: Pitching and Presenting|Tags: |0 Comments
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