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July 2013

David S. Rose on the art of entrepreneurs pitching ideas


David S. Rose is a business-savvy, fast-talking New Yorker who has been called a "world conquering entrepreneur" by NewsWeek Magazine and has been dubbed The Pitch Coach for his many years of helping entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to potential investors. Last week a tweet was going around asking "...if an info-rich investor deck was preferable to a 'Presentation Zen' investor deck?" David S. Rose gave a succinct answer to this question on the blog. Here David linked to a presentation he made at TED in 2007, which I also linked to when it first appeared years ago on TED. David's presentation should be seen by every entrepreneur who is thinking about creating a pitch. Although it is a few years old now, the content is as relevant as ever.

Some of the material may seem obvious to you, but coming from a business leader who has successfully pitched for millions of dollars and helped others pitch for millions more, David is a very credible source. In this TED University talk, David is talking specifically about "the pitch" to a VC, which is different from a 45-minute talk at a technical conference, but there is much in there that can be applied to other types of presentations as well.  The top ten characteristics you're conveying, says David, are personal. You are asking people to invest in you, not just the idea. "The primary hallmark of an entrepreneurial fundraising pitch as opposed to other types of presentations is that the most important factor by far is you," says David. "Investors are going to spend the entire session attempting to determine if you are the person behind whom they should invest their money, and how you come across personally is often more important than everything else combined, including your business plan, and industry and financial projections."
10 things to know before you pitch a VC for money
The top ten characteristics that investors will be looking to find in you during your presentation, according to David S. Rose, are: Integrity, Passion, Experience (in starting a business), Knowledge, Skill (in functional operating areas), Leadership, Commitment, Vision, Realism, and Coachability.

Is an info-rich investor deck preferable to a “Presentation Zen” investor deck? - See more at:
Is an info-rich investor deck preferable to a “Presentation Zen” investor deck? - See more at:
Is an info-rich investor deck preferable to a “Presentation Zen” investor deck? - See more at:
Is an info-rich investor deck preferable to a “Presentation Zen” investor deck? - See more at:
Is an info-rich investor deck preferable to a “Presentation Zen” investor deck? - See more at:

BusinessWeek article.
It's All in the Sequence.
• A longer post I wrote back in 2008 on David S. Rose

Remarkable, inspiring interview with Cesar Millan

The other day, while surfing the net on the bullet train to Tokyo, I stumbled on a great interview with Seth Godin conducted by Bryan Elliott. I had never heard of Bryan Elliott before, but he's good and he has a very educational website called Behind the Brand which features interviews with many remarkable people. One of the interviews he did recently was with Cesar Millan. I was always a fan of Cesar and his TV show (Dog Whisperer), but I did not realize what an incredible story he has and how much he has been through. The term "authentic" may get tossed around too much in describing people's character, but the word fits perfectly in the case of Cesar Millan. He is down to earth and the real deal. I always found his communication style natural and honest and that comes across in this simple, no frills interview with Bryan Elliott below. So much of what he says about leading a successful business life and personal life resonates with me. I think it will resonate with you as well. Great stuff.

         "It's contribution, then business."  — Cesar Millan

Cesar's Way
Behind the Brand

Digital Domination Summit


The Digital Domination Summit featues "video interviews with 30 leading experts sharing strategies on how to dominate business in the Digital World." There are interesting, informative, and inspiring interviews with people such as Guy Kawasaki, Gary Vaynerchuk, Alicia Navarro, and 27others. It's worthy of your time. It's free to sign up and get access to the videos here. Below I include an overview of Marco Montemagno's mission followed by three of my favorite interviews—Seth Godin, Tony Robbins, and Kathryn Minshew. I also include Marco's interview with me.

The Digital Knowledge Divide Truth
Marco Montemagno shares his vision and gives an overview of some of the content.

Seth Godin
Don't wait for permission, says, Seth. Don't wait for someone to pick you. Pick yourself. (I love Seth's comments around 24:20 in the video.)

Tony Robbins
An inspiring interview on marketing, business, motivation, and a whole lot more.

Kathryn Minshew
The founder of The Muse shares her experience in creating a business that helps millions find or create the career they want.

Marco and I chat about presentations (Youtube)
The photo editing software I mention at the end is called Pixelmator. It's inexpensive and excellent.

Many more interviews
Go to the Digital Domination Summit website to see all the video interviews. Another one I really like is with David Siteman Garland. Loads of good information.

Visuals can tell a story


50 years later. Same place. Same ship. On the left, my dad and me in 1962 on deck somewhere in the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the way to beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. On the right, my son and me last week on the same deck. The 1962 version of me, and my son today, are about the same age, one. My dad died when I was 13. Much too young and too soon. In the picture he is 35. I am currently 51. Different world. Different time. Both images are actually stills from motion picture cameras. On the left from an old Bell & Howell 8mm film camera; few people had a movie camera then. On the right from a smart phone; everyone on board had one. A lot of water has passed through the strait since my dad held me on the same ship 50 years ago. A lot has changed. Who would have believed in 1962 that I would be taking higher quality movies of my future son on the same ship using only my phone, and that the movie we shot would be instantly viewable...for free. Crazy. I'm putting together a family home movie blending our 8mm motion pictures from the '60s with footage we are taking today of our young family. I hope that someday my son will pose for the camera with his one-year old child on the ship to Victoria. What a cool image that would be, and what a great story it would tell.

My oldest brother took the shots of us last week. He was somewhere just behind the camera 50 years ago as well. Time marches on...but we're still kicking.

A fascinating look at the history of aspect ratios

If you work in filmmaking or other forms of visual storytelling you are already comfortable talking about aspect ratios. But for many people it is still a bit of a mystery. An aspect ratio of a screen, for example, simply describes relationship between its width and its height. Not all that long ago TVs had screens that were 4:3. These days, of course, your TV screen at home or in the conference room has an aspect ratio of 16:9. Movie screens in theaters display even much wider images. In the world of presentations today, slides (which can include HD video) can be created typically in either 4:3 or 16:9. In Keynote, for example, you can choose a 4:3 aspect ratio with a resolution of 800x600 or 1024x768. Or if you want a more cinematic look in 16:9 you can choose 1280x720, 1680x1050, or 1920x1080. Many people still use slides in 4:3, but the trend is moving away from that aspect ratio. Large conferences and other events such as TED/TEDx, etc. will ask presenters to prepare slides (if they use slides) for a 16:9 screen. But how did 4:3 and now 16:9 (and other wider cinematic dimensions) get to be standards? Even if you are well-versed in this subject, you will find the two presentations below by filmmaker John Hess  from interesting and informative. I also think these are brilliant examples of good presentation.

The Changing Shape of Cinema: The History of Aspect Ratio

Composition Techniques for Widescreen Aspect Ratios
Although the discussion in the presentation below concerns cinema and filmmaking, the lessons should be of interest to anyone who works and designs for screen displays. There is even a discussion of the Golden Mean and rule of thirds which I talked about in 2005 in this post From Wabi-Sabi to Golden Mean and here in From Golden Mean to Rule of Thirds.

Composition Techniques for Widescreen Aspect Ratios from

4:3 example.
This is in the Apple Store Shinsaibashi (Osaka) just after they opened in 2004. The back-lit screen behind me has an aspect ratio of 4:3. Many Apple stores still have 4:3 screens in their theaters, but some have been replaced and I hear others will be eventually changed to 16:9 screens.


16:9 example.
In this presentation at the Creativity World Forum 2011 in Belgium, my slides appeared at four different spots on a screen that wrapped around the audience.

A remote control can set your presentations free!

You do not have to use multimedia in a live talk to be successful, but if you do choose to present with the amplifiying power of multimedia, then a small, remote control device is a necessity. Today we still see too many business people, academics, and students, stuck behind lecterns with their eyes fixed on their laptops as they try to make their case, report their findings, or pitch their ideas. If you want to make a connection with the audience and engage them in your content, then you need to remove the physical barriers and move closer to the audience. A good remote allows you to get away from the lectern and your laptop.

A few of my favorite remotes for presentations
In the video below I discuss a relatively new kind of remote, the ring-style remote.

Links to the remotes mentioned in the video
A favorite of mine is the Easy Presenter Presentation Remote by Keyspan. This is a rather old model, but I love it. I like the way it fits in my hand; it's not at all bulky. (alternative link on Amazon). The newer Keyspan PR-PRO3 Presentation Remote Pro is not one I have used, but it also has audio controls, and I've heard good things about it. Another model I have is the Logitech Professional Presenter R800 with Green Laser Pointer. This too is an excellent remote with a built-in timer and a great range, but I simply prefer the lighter feel of the Easy Presenter.



(A) Genius Ring Presenter - Black Finger Mouse with Laser Pointer (Amazon 日本). (B) Genius Wireless Ring Mouse (Amazon 日本). The latest version appears to be the Genius Ring Style Laser Pointer. It's cheaper and has a button that sets the screen black. The mouse funtion is said to be better (more info on this latest model on the Genius homepage). The ring-style remotes are great, but the range is only about 10 meters or so, significantly less than the others mentioned above, but for most people 10 meters (or 30 feet or so) is good enough. In the video above, the MacBook was about 9-10 feet away (about 3 meters). The minor difficulties I had with the slide not advancing in the video was not a range issue but a matter of me not hitting the button solid enough.