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How To Pitch A Product (avc.com)
117 points by cwan on Aug 5, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 23 comments

It's really funny because when I started working on the demo I had a full slide deck. Each time I practiced I eliminated a slide or two until there was nothing left. At that point I decided to just show the site and start coding.

You'd be astonished how magical "I can make your phone ring" feels to people. Family, friends, and people who don't even know me giggle when I do my demo on them.

It's even better if it's a business pitch rather than a technology demo. The world's best sales pitch is always being able to say, "If I push this button then your phone is going to ring 150 times in the next 3 minutes with people who want to buy your product, want to see?"

That's how you get to charge 150K per client per year, and that's why DailyCandy and the like are worth so much.

I had about 10 other things I wanted to demo, but that's all I could fit in the slot they gave me.

Dear Hacker News,

I'm sorry you missed the Twilio demo at NYTM. I decided to create a number for you to call in to so you don't feel left out.

+1 516 619 8182

Go ahead, give it a try. It'll be fun, and I promise not to share your data.

Cheers, John Britton - @johndbritton Developer Evangelist Twilio - http://www.twilio.com

After all the editor religious wars, it's really nice to see the editor he used.


He used nano and PHP, and I think that was a strong tactical choice. It shows how you don't need anything sophisticated to use Twilio. If he pulled out NetBeans with J2EE, or Visual Studio or Emacs with Rails, people will be suspicious there might be some "magic" happening behind the scenes.

I'm glad you're not making fun of me, I actually do use nano on a daily basis... but I usually run it using `pico`. ;)

Nice that he was able to overload an entire cell tower during the demo.

This is actually pretty similar to our demo at NYC Tech a few years back: Showed the product, let everybody jump in live, brought down the venue's wifi. Fun times:


Q: Why do I need this?

A: You can't live without it.

Most gangsta Q&A answer, ever.

I'm dead serious, you're going to get left in the dust if you don't use it.

well, it really depends on what kind of product you're building. answering with customer stories would have been stronger.

kick-ass presentation nonetheless.

You're right, but I was on stage and that's what came to mind. Next time I'll be ready. ;)

It sure helps to write code live if you are pitching to developers. John got a big nod from the audience for doing that.

In my experience, writing the code live is asking for trouble. It seemed to work for this particular audience though.

HOLY COW. That was the fastest programming I've ever seen. Haha - loved it when the room full of nerds corrected John on the one typo he made with the semicolon. Hilarious! Good demo, yo!

What an amazing demo. Love the way the audience got involved in the coding ("semi colon!!!") and the interaction between you and everyone in the room. Steve Jobs is in trouble.

One of the best (and quickest!) "business" demos I've ever seen.

Even though I'm not a coder I was astonished by how he made his presentation.

I wonder now if a regular non-hacker VC would appreciate as much as we all geeks do :P #keepthatinmind


The product was an API, Application Programming Interface. To demo it properly, you have to do some application programming. Your question applies to any product that the VC wouldn't use her/himself..

He sure did them a solid :) Nice work John!

Totally unrelated, but I'm wondering how much Fred paid for AVC.com...

I did a Sean Connery voice on the conference line. +1 516 619 8182

Meet, phone, email and snail mail potential buyer in that order.

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