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How to Make Your Pitch

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The key to a successful elevator pitch. It's not about all the details; it's about simplicity. That's the advice offered by Steve Blank in a recent blog post. "[A]nyone can make a complicated idea sound complicated," he writes. "The art is making it sound simple, compelling and inevitable." Blank goes on to suggest explaining how the world will be a different place as a result of your product or service. Group gift-buying site eDivvy gives it a shot with an elevator pitch from our March issue.

Will financial reform hurt start-ups? Legislation that would seek to prevent a repeat of the financial crisis seems increasingly likely to pass, according to the Wall Street Journal. The paper reports that Republicans and Democrats are "near a deal that would preserve the framework of Mr. Obama's plan." It's still unclear if such a deal will strip provisions that would impose restrictions on angel investors, which were included in the original bill proposed by Senator Chris Dodd. Those restrictions, which are the subject of an op-ed in today's Journal and a blog post last month by Fred Wilson, would raise the net worth requirements for becoming an "accredited investor," which could make it harder for start-ups to find willing angel investors. "We hear Senator Dodd is taking such complaints seriously, and we hope so. No one believes angel investors pose a systemic risk, so it's hard to understand why these proposals are part of a bill aimed at preventing another financial collapse," writes the Journal's editorial board.

How to poach from a big company. The entrepreneur and VC Ben Horowitz explains. He says that start-ups frequently hire an experienced manager once their product begins to take off. The problem? Experienced managers are used to having everything come to them, rather than having to get stuff done by themselves. "Your executive has been conditioned to wait for the emails to come in, wait for the phone to ring, and wait for the meetings to get scheduled," Horowitz writes. "In your company, he will be waiting a long time." To prevent this, beware of potential hires who talk about all the learning they plan to do during their first month on the job, which, Horowitz says, suggests that they think a start-up is as complicated as a big company. Instead, "Look for candidates who come in with more new initiatives than you think are possible," he advises.

Hulu launches paid subscription service. Although the five most recent episodes of popular shows will remain free, Hulu plans to charge $9.95 a month for access to additional episodes, the LA Times reports. Hulu is the second most popular service in terms of the number of monthly video streams in the U.S. (YouTube comes is first), and it is booking roughly $100 million in advertising revenue. But the Hulu's backers, which include several large media companies, hope to "train viewers to pay for online access to professionally produced content," the Times explains.

Will the iPad revolutionize retail? We told you yesterday about iPad's potential as a business tool. Today, AdAge tackles the gadget's potential to help stores sell more stuff. Right now, most retail apps are geared to e-commerce, but the article envisions more creative uses for Steve Jobs's latest creation. "In time, the iPad could be used as a virtual sales assistant, allowing sales staff in the dress department to pull up coordinating accessories from the jewelry or shoe department," AdAge imagines. "Car dealers could customize a vehicle, showing customers colors and finishes, all while standing in the parking lot." Learn more about calculating the iPad's ROI for your business.

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Last updated: Apr 22, 2010




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