Demoing or pitching is an inherent part of any startup lifecycle. It is like that moment when you first stepped up on stage in school to take part in a debate competition or that other time in college when you participated in your first BPlan presentation competition. You’ve evolved since then and are now more matured, but at the end of the day we are still humans. Even the most experienced make bloopers and here we’ll trip over those funny mistakes (by presenters or people in the audience) that happen during startup demos and pitches.
1) SNAFU as it is popularly called- Situation Normal, All Fucked Up
Murphy’s Law never disappoints and situations like demo crashes, missing presentation files, lost chargers and non-functional mikes ensure a few laughs right at the beginning. It’s something you cannot avoid. These situations will always arise and there’s no foolproof solution to the problem and maybe these are the things that keep us human?
2) Thrashing a company which is in the jury
Oh, we’ve seen this happening so very often! Presenters are completely in their element sometimes on stage and lose all semblance of the audience composition. They’ll go ahead and blatantly thrash a company/VC present in the jury only to realize later when he’s done with the presentation. He’d walk away from the dais, look at the panel and then is when the penny drops! The audience erupts in laughter as the presenter hides his face with a wide smile.
3) Class Participation- The ‘I Know it all’ Syndrome
This usually happens when we have a few smart pants in the house. These people always have a doubt and will on an average speak 20% more than anyone else in the hall, including the ‘speakers’. They never realize but the barrage of questions and suggestions to the person speaking on the podium is a subject of irritation (and giggling) for the rest of the audience. Yes sir, you know it all!
4) Anticipation going bad
Before presenting, we always employ our ‘Game Theory’ antiques to anticipate what the audience or jury might ask. “I’m going to say this to which she’ll ask that and bravo, I have the answer ready!” thinks the presenter. And what happens on stage maybe something more, “And why do you think that’ll happen?” she asks and the presenter goes, “Oops, I didn’t see that coming.” And the fumbling and smiles ensue. The only way to win this game is to be prepared with what to say when you don’t have an answer.
5) I’m the funny guy
I might be mistaken but most of us think of ourselves as ones who can crack funny jokes, just like Jim Carrey (like I’m thinking of myself over here). But when you’re on the stage, what can be really funny is the fact that your joke didn’t evoke a single person to laugh. This in itself can be your best joke as the audience would eventually end up laughing their guts out (perhaps during the break). So, try your jokes on someone before you go ahead on the stage.
6) Limb malfunction
Well, this is not very common and when it happens, we shouldn’t laugh, but again, we’re vain little humans. We’re talking about those moments when your limbs get a life of their own- a longer step and you go stumbling down the stair, legs playing games and entangling them with the wires, and shivering like hell! All these happen to the best of us and always give moments when people look back and giggle slyly.
Well, these were a few situations which I’ve seen (conjured), do add some your magic moments in the comments…