Reflections on Start-Up life: Week 22

A little out of sync this week but I blame the time difference!

We continue to have a very interesting time here in San Francisco. It’s ranged from the stunning (hearing Opera singers serenade each other at a birthday party in local restaurants) to the slightly off putting (seeing the crack addicts shooting up, the rush for public toilets when the library opens and the general homelessness that is in the Tenderloin district).

Given I’ve covered Chirp in the last post, I’ll move on to the value of a pitch. It’s increasingly apparent that the first 30 seconds is critical. You need to do two things, 1) get the message you want across and 2) more critically NOT get the wrong message across. This second part is generally under emphasised by people, but it’s brutal. You might think you’re saying the right things, but if there is any ambiguity, then the rest of your pitch is spent correcting the things they thought they heard.

People have also said start-up life is brutal and that your the only one that believes in your idea. In the valley that’s a triple dose. Everyone here has a) seen it before b) heard it before, c) is so caught up in what THEY want to say and pitch to you that you’ll find people slamming your idea from pillar to post. It has its upside — which is you get resilient, you refine and you thrive, but you also begin to get cagey.

That’s not just small start-ups. Everyone is also ready to say why x, y, or z company has it all wrong. The valley runs on relationships, but it’s fueled by opinions!


  • Networking
  • Relationships
  • Slowly working our way to pitches


  • None really, just the need to be resilient and keep self belief.

Goal this week

  • Pitch, pitch and pitch.