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Ask HN: How to pitch a company that doesn't solve any problem?
3 points by d--b 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 6 comments
Wherever I read about startup pitching, there is a strong emphasis on the "problem that the company solves". In fact, it is often cited as the #1 point to address.

Yet, many technology advances do not really solve a problem but create new use cases, or improve on existing things.

In these cases, what's a pitch that works? I don't think that "imagine a world where..." works very well...

For instance, how would you pitch the creation of Nintendo? Or Facebook? Or Visicalc?

None of these cases solved any particular problem, yet, they clearly have been massively successful.

If it improves on existing things, then the problem it solves is something like "It's too hard to do X. With our new Y, X is much easier."

Visicalc: "Doing spreadsheets by hand is too slow and too error-prone. Now you can do it with a computer, which is fast and never makes arithmetic mistakes."

Nintendo: "Our youth are hanging out on street corners annoying their elders. We can get them off the streets with better video games." (Kidding...)

Aha, I like that visicalc pitch, thanks much

Nintendo: play video games like the ones you love from the arcade, as much as you like - without having to pump in quarters, stand in line, or even leave the comfort of your own home!

Thefacebook pitched without a problem slide by showing engagement at a massive level.


Arguably the problem that is implicitly solved is 'how do we reach and target college students and graduates from the high-value Ivy League demographic?'

Every B2B company must ultimately increase their customers' profits. Every B2C company must ultimately create some desirable emotional state in its users. Whether or not you think of these as "problems" or not is an unimportant matter of semantics.

Nintendo solved the problem of the Yakuza needing playing cards for their gambling halls.

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