I recently watched the documentary “This is it!” about Michael Jackson again and remember the scene in the middle where the director is picking the handful of lead dancers for the MJ show from a line up of hundreds and hundreds of highly talented people that made it through the first selection filters and made the journey to the stage.

The parallels with pitching for an investment to experienced investor are striking:

  • He does not need to see an entire performance start to finish, he has seen it before

  • He compares every dancer to every other dancer who is on stage, but also subconsciously against all the other candidate-dancers he has seen and picked before.

  • His mind and eyes wanders all over the place without a clear structure or script

  • He uses a heavy dose of gut feel

  • He is looking for someone who has that bit of “something special”, both in terms of objective capability, but also drive and ambition

  • He know he probably makes mistakes (picking the wrong dancer and not picking the right dancer who standing in the back row)

  • He probably forgives a newbie who makes a rookie mistake in auditioning and actually enjoys discovering a new talent (or the opposite discounts the talent of the “auditioning pros”)

This does not mean to throw all the rules about presentation design out of the window: the context is just different when you for example pitch a crypto startup to a crypto fund who has been funding crypto companies for the past 2 years.

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