EGD News #31

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This email was sent to the EGD mailing list on the 29th of May 2020.

Here are the things that I’ve been excited about this week.

Pitch Deck Tips

I’ve bumped into this issue several times. Founders often have pitch decks that don’t give a good starter to a conversation, which matters the most in a pitch meeting.

I was recently listening to the Venture Stories podcast, which had Mike Maples, the General Partner of Floodgate on as a guest (investors in Twitch, Lyft, etc.)

Mike Maples wrote this phenomenal article on entrepreneurs living in the future.

Mike pointed out the main issues for him in pitch decks. He invests at the seed stage, with check sizes of $500k, and then advises his portfolio founders to create their Series A decks.

He says that “I find the best pitches are the ones that say: What we do? What’s our secret? What have we done so far (tangible) in terms of traction?”

What we do?

“I recommend to start with a slide that says, here’s what we do.”

“A lot of pitches, they have like four or five slides before they tell what you do. Let’s say you’re selling a solution for FinTech (technology used to support or enable banking and financial services)”

“The first slide might say FinTech is going from X to Y. Then a slide about changes in finance. Then a slide about blah, blah, blah API’s. Then about all these companies and customer preferences.”

Pitch decks can confuse. “At this stage, I still don’t know what you do. I might just decide that I don’t agree with one of the points that you make in the first three slides. And now I’m arguing with you about one of these points. And we haven’t even gotten to what you do yet.”

“Now the meeting is in a rabbit hole, and now you don’t even have a chance to talk about what you came to talk about. I could have five threads open in my mind. Like “I made this point, they made this point, they made that point, and I still don’t know what you do.” I haven’t closed those threads.”

“If you tell me what you do, I can relax.”

Ways to say what you do

“Say “what you do,” assuming that the VC knows literally nothing. For example, don’t say: “We’re Airbnb. We’re a market space for unused housing.” I don’t know what that is. Say: “We’re Airbnb. We let people rent an extra room in their house.” Oh, that’s what you do.”

“Why is that important? Well, if you explain it to a VC and they don’t understand what you do, they won’t admit it. You say: “Hey VC, are you with me so far? We’re a marketplace for unused housing.” Most VCs have too much pride, and they’ll say, “Yeah, okay, I’m with you.” But they don’t know what the heck you just said.”​

Our Secret

“And so then the next slide: What’s our secret.”

“The way I like to frame it: There’s something that we believe here that not everybody believes.”

But here we come back to talking to the VC like they are a four-year-old. You need to realize that VCs are regular people. “If [the VC] thinks this doesn’t make sense, nothing about what the founder is going to say going forward is going to make any sense. They can’t get in sync on whether this is an interesting secret or not.”

The best pitch

“I find the best pitches are the ones that say: What we do? What’s our secret? What have we done so far tangible in terms of traction?”

“If you can get those ideas out there in five to 10 minutes or less, you’re way more likely to be successful.”​

Tweetstorm advise

“The other thing I recommend to people is that don’t start out by making slides. Start out by knowing what you want to say. Come up with a sequence of 10 sentences that frame your argument.” And then once you get agreement on a compelling argument, it almost looks like a Tweetstorm. You know, imagine your pitches a Tweetstorm, then you say, Okay, this Tweetstorm is tight. Now I’m going to back into what would be the slides to emphasize the points of the Tweetstorm.”

Look up Tweetstorm here. Here are some perfect examples of Tweetstorms.

New Webinar on Friday 5th of June, 11am CET

Many gaming startups in PC premium games have been coming to Elite Game Developers for advice on sales projections. We’ve come up with a solution, and Jussi Autio is here to provide it.

Jussi Autio is the Creative Director of Resistance Games, a premium PC & console strategy game studio based out of Oulu, Finland. Jussi has extensive experience from PC and Steam games and has put together some awesome material, which we will go through in this webinar.

The agenda for this 60-minute webinar:
– Go through Jussi’s material, incl. sales spreadsheets
– Joakim will ask questions on the material
– Q&A for the audience

We have limited space in this webinar. Sign up here to claim your spot!

Blog

Magical Pairs In Game Development — I wrote a blog post this week on the topic of Magical Pairs, which is something that I’ve had on my mind for quite a while now.

After Ilkka Paananen, the CEO of Supercell, wrote about Magical Pairs in the “10 Learnings from 10 Years”, I wanted to do a deep dive into pairs working in game development. I’m also exploring other facets of creative work, where people don’t work on creative endeavors in solitude.

Podcast

EGD 061: Culture and People in Gaming with Daniel McLaren — Daniel McLaren is the Senior Manager of Live Operations at ArenaNet. I’ve known Daniel for a while now, ever since he was working in a games company here in Helsinki. He then moved back to the States to work on Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes.

Daniel is one of those people who really love the industry and the people who make games. We talk about culture, hiring and dealing with hard times.

Articles Worth Reading

+ Doing Business In Japan — This article was written by an American who’s lived and worked in Japan for over a decade. He explains the relationship between employer and employee, also known as salarymen, and what is the expectation for work. He talks about startups, and how being a startup founder taints a person. “When I met my future wife’s mother for the first time, I brought my resume and tax returns. Her mother was not 100% keen on the match when we started dating, as a combination of “foreigner” and “not gainfully employed” suggested that I was not exactly marriage material, but I eventually won her over.”

+ When will blockchain gaming be worth investing in? — London Venture Partners’ take on crypto in gaming: “Current blockchain games seem to be best viewed as economic simulators that attract some of the same users happy to spend tens of thousand of dollars playing free-to-play mobile games. Dominated by crypto whales, but without the bulk of non-paying players which enable these heavy-spenders to stand out from the crowd, the sector has proved to be something of an inverted pyramid; one based around financial value rather than fun.”

+ Cloud Gaming: Why It Matters And The Games It Will Create — This is an impressive article on the realities and the future of cloud gaming: “Much has been said about “instant play,” in which a gamer could move instantly from watching gaming content on YouTube into the game (and in the precise moment watched). This may be a fun feature of cloud game streaming, but this too doesn’t make the game itself a cloud game unless it affects game design in a way that requires cloud game streaming. A helpful way to think about cloud games is not to consider where processing occurs, but where it has to occur.”

+ The 2×2 competitor and positioning matrix — Early stage investor Hunter Walk shares his thoughts on this matrix slide that often comes up in pitch decks. He usually asks the founder: “What would your competitors say about this slide?” He hopes that the question “leads to an interesting conversation about how the entrepreneur sees the market. Or how articulate (and intellectually honest) they are about why they selected the two matrix attributes versus any other comparative set. When the discussion falls flat it’s often because the slide isn’t based in reality.”

Quote that I’m thinking about

“The coronavirus has accelerated the world’s digital adoption by 5 years”Naval Ravikant

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