Presentation Tips

As our presentations draw closer, I did some research on how best to present ideas to the panel of judges who would be considered angel investors.

I found a nice Forbes article by Carmine Gallo with five tips.

1) The pitch should have a compelling story as opposed to only being data-driven as angel investors take on more of a mentor role by providing emotional as well as financial support. 2) He then suggests using pictures to tell the story as they make the presentation more memorable than words. 3) The presenters should be passionate about their product during their pitch. 4) If the product does not solve a problem, investors will likely not care about it. I found this odd as this would usually be the first thing mentioned in many of the other pitch tips I browsed through. He must have assumed a good product was envisioned or else you wouldn’t be pitching the idea. 5) And lastly, share the stage. Since everyone is required to present, this will show a cohesive group where everyone played a part.

Is this advice common knowledge? Do you think these tips will actually help your presentations?

The Five Marketing Must-Haves of an Online Startup

In our first meeting with our mentor, he expressed serious concerns regarding our marketing strategy. This was because we didn’t have one. Each of us may have had some sense of how we wanted to market the application, but there wasn’t a clear direction.

This Entrepreneur article provides five marketing tips for a startup.

1. Focus on customer experience

This means designing a simple application that is easy to use. No matter how good an application is, if people have difficulty using it, they won’t.

2. Cross promotions/exposure

Know your target demographic. Where do they usually hang out (online or offline)? Promote your products at these places.

3. Content strategies

“Establish your brand as a subject-matter expert.”

4. Build virality into your product/experience

How can you get people to share your startup naturally?

5. Media exposure

If you can’t get top-tier media exposure, getting blogs to write about you is a good start.

This is in no way a comprehensive list. Do you agree or disagree with these points? Are there tips that you would consider more valuable than the ones listed above?

Performance Reviews: Why Bother?

This article regarding performance reviews says that reviews a few times a year are meaningless. It states that company performance reviews should be like that of sports teams, immediate feedback as opposed to every quarter as was discussed in class. While quarterly reviews are better than annual reviews, too much time will have passed when quarterly reviews are given. The feedback to employees should be immediate so that they can modify their behavior so as not to waste company resources.

It goes on to say that the purpose of the performance review isn’t for the benefit of the employee, but rather for the company. In many cases, it provides written documentation of your failings so that if need be, they can fire you and cite the poor reviews as the reasoning. Even HR managers dislike performance reviews as shown by a 2010 Sibson Consulting study where 58% of managers disliked their own review systems.

While the article states that performance reviews are meaningless, it advocates the need for immediate feedback which is a less formal type of performance review. Do you think this model is better than what most companies have in place now? Or should companies do both, informal immediate feedback coupled with formal quarterly reviews?

“Cars You Can Drive Will Eventually Be Outlawed”


We discussed heavily in class the disruptive innovation of autonomous vehicles. What I found most interesting however was not the technology itself but the regulatory implications.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors says that cars controlled by people will eventually be outlawed in favor of those controlled by robots. He compares it to that of the elevator where the development of simple circuitry led to the elevator operators’ extinction.

So when autonomous car adoption reaches a critical mass, will the government require car owners to purchase autonomous vehicles if they want to “drive” on main roads? Will the government provide a cash for clunkers program? Will they provide 0% interest loans to those who cannot afford the full cost for the sake of public safety? How do you think a government would even go about this?

Surviving Disruption

Surviving Disruption

We discussed extensively in class about what disruptive innovation is and provided examples of disruptive innovation. We did not cover as much on how to survive disruptive innovation.

In the article that I’ve linked, Wessel and Christensen suggest that incumbents assess three factors to determine if they can survive the disruptive innovation:

1. Identify the strengths of your disrupter’s business model

Are there disadvantages in the disrupter’s business model that offsets their advantage? This will help determine the types of customers the disrupter will and won’t attract so the incumbent can figure if those customers are worth retaining.

2. Identify your own relative advantages

An incumbent must know its own business when a disrupter begins to disrupt so that it can determine how best to compete with them.

3. Evaluate the conditions that would help or hinder the disrupter from co-opting your current advantages in the future

So how can the incumbent better serve its customers to make the disrupter less attractive, thereby creating barriers for the customer to switch.

Do you think these three are the best factors to determine how an incumbent may be able to survive a disrupter? Do you think there are other factors that the article does not cover?

Reinventing How IT Gets Funded


Instead of having a chargeback model for organizations with IT as Engine Room, do you think it is better for all organizations not in the IT is the Business or Everyone’s IT spectrum to move towards the IT as Global Service Provider that the article suggests?

The CIO Executive Board believes that the best model is the one where IT operations are broken into 12 to 24 business services and assigning costs to each one. This is very similar to how IT as Global Service Provider works as it offers a limited menu of services and avoids the tedious line item cost accounting that chargebacks require. Additionally, instead of using IT terms, the IT department would use business terms so there is no confusion on the part of the business units. The business units may not understand what it means when IT tells them they’ve used X amount of network bandwidth, but they will understand when they’re billed for videoconferencing.

Another question I have relates to IT as Global Service Provider. We’ve discussed this IT structure at length but has anyone worked at a company that’s actually modeled this way? If so, how was it?

End of On-Premises ERP

We discussed a lot about the merits of both on-premises and cloud based ERPs, but according to Gartner, on-premises ERPs will be considered “legacy systems” by 2016.

The main argument from Gartner is that companies are seeking to lower IT costs and to increase flexibility. Additionally, on-premises ERPs created more value for consultancies that helped companies implement them than the companies themselves. The thought of an integrated ERP was great in theory, but many companies have failed to capture this supposed value. I don’t know if on-premises ERPs will be considered legacy by 2016 because many companies will be unwilling to abandon systems they’ve spent millions on, but I agree that they are on their way out, regardless of industry. Do you guys agree with Gartner’s assertion that on-premises ERPs will be considered legacy systems?


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