A Few Lessons Learned From TRAFFIC’s Test Track

Jan 25 2010

There were plenty of great moments over the last four days at TRAFFIC. Many do’s and many don’ts, but I think I got more out of TEST TRACK than any of the other sessions. Here are a few ideas and thoughts that I was left with.

1. Public speaking is a practiced talent. It’s like cooking. Everyone is capable but some are much better than others. Some of the presenters were so bad (non practiced) that I could barely take it. I felt terrible for them. Even if their idea would have changed the world, nobody could pick up on because the presentation was a nervous wreck.

2. It’s all about money. If you want them to give you their hard earned money, tell them how much, and how you are going to make it using your concept. It sounds so simple but most of the presenters got caught up in basic facts and slide shows that were to general.

3. These were investors not idea people. It seemed that many of the people needed help trying to figure out how to monetize their idea in addition to seeking funds. That wasn’t the investor’s job, they were the cash, the presenters were supposed to already have that figured out.

4. Just because the particular investor you’re presenting to doesn’t get it, keep trying. The guys on Test Track have certain things they “get” and other things they don’t. Although in this particular case, all but 2 presenters didn’t have an idea strong enough to continue, there are good ideas that often get turned down time after time until they finds someone that understands the concept.

5. A slideshow is a tool, not the presentation. It should only back up or give the audience a visual on what you are saying. It can be used to emphasize important points and WOW them. Do NOT put up data about the whole industry or general data that everyone already knows. Only put up information that you think they may not know or that shows how your company is growing in comparison to those numbers.

6. Don’t take things personally. Your ideas and your company are your babies. When people say it sucks, take that information and figure out who’s lacking. The person with the comment, your presentation, or your idea. Ask a third party you feel will give you an honest answer. I am often asked to do these type of things for ad companies because of I am very truthful and that often helps when reaching a goal, having someone that can call it without an agenda.

7. No matter how good an “idea” was going to be they weren’t going to invest in ideas that day. They wanted companies that were making some money but could use money to get to the next level. They may say different but I’m pretty sure of this. Not that there were any brilliant concepts, or even remotely new, but even if it had come up, I’m not sure anything would have happened. That or it would have never made it up to the podium and Rick would have invested in it himself.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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