The challenge of pitching your app to journalists or VCs

From A loose rant on motivation and evaluation by 37 Signals’ founder Jason Fried:

In our industry, you’ll often hear people say things like “if someone can’t figure it out in 10 seconds then they’re gone.” Or “I checked out the site and I couldn’t figure out what they did so I left. Terrible design.” Or “if it takes more than a couple sentences to explain it then it’s not simple enough.” Or “too much to read!” Or “there are too many fields on this form!” Or “there are too many steps in this process.”

However, something’s usually missing from these assessments of the situation: The actual customer’s motivation. How motivated is the customer to solve their problem? What are they here for? Customers come to learn something, research something, consider something, buy something. If they are motivated, they may not mind spending five minutes reading.

One of the situations where your product (such as a mobile app) gets judged by the wrong criteria is when you talk to journalists. For many products,  journalists aren’t your target users, so they have limited patience. I found that getting journalists to install our app, including choosing 5 stocks, was tortuous. But hundreds of thousands of happy investors have done just that. Meanwhile, Dave Winer says the same problem exists when pitching VCs.

One thought on “The challenge of pitching your app to journalists or VCs

  1. This is brilliant. I wonder if it means that gee-whiz reviews from very active journalists only indicate that the app’s appeal to a non-committal user, but not to a serious one. This may also explain the popularity of a relatively small number of tech reviewers (e.g. Pogue, Mossberg); everyone knows they take the time to really use the products they review.

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