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Piccsy Pitchdeck (piccsy.com)
140 points by jamesgolick on May 24, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 87 comments

Always when I see such exceptional HTML based pitch decks (the last one was from a wedding thing, don't know the name anymore) I am on the fence: They look so damn good and for sure you get attention en masse (today you should get 20K from HN and many VC related people).


- Isn't this a hell of work? A good JS/frontend guy should need at least one or rather two weeks? Please tell us how many people did this gem of a presentation in how many days .

- The pitch deck is basically an evolution—everytime you meet a VC, an angel or whoever the deck gets better due to their feedback—after 2-3 months it's perfect. This means that you need some good presentation software where you can quickly add and change content all the time (nowadays it's Keynote which is both fast and makes stylish presentation with ease).

- And my last point (which is a matter of taste): if you go public with your pitch deck, you are public and the surprise effect if you approach VCs after you went stealth for months is gone. I think latter is pretty important, when something is public, everybody knows it, incentives are smaller to make intros and get angel/advisory shares and finally you have also the risk that you don't get funded and the pitch quickly wears off (in your case with your stats I wouldn't worry but still for startups in earlier stages this may be not the right path; anyway I am wondering that you did this presentation because your stats are so incredibly good and skyrocketing that you'd need only this one stats chart attached to your an email).

So, isn't it better to spend time and effort instead for a great parallax HTML JS page landing page for the actual users of your site??

Or you just want to put a VC who you currently talk to under pressure to get a better valuation (by getting more leads and offers).

Thanks for the <3

Yes, it is a lot of work. Creative Director + Copywriter + Art Director/Designer + Developer.

The deck is dynamic, we can change it pretty easy. And/or, we can present with Keynote or whatever else alternatively in person.

We want to make as many VCs aware of our upcoming raise as possible. This seemed like a smart way to do it :)

While your pitch deck is beautiful (no argument here), your usability is less than average. If those navigational elements are meant to be sections, why do you not support back/forward navigation?

As an investor, these sorts of omissions make me doubt if your team is detail oriented (not just in the design sense) and will be able to make a product that is truly intuitive and easy-to-use (because honestly that's all that you're pitching).

I wouldn't say this is too much work actually. It's beautifully designed and coded but a decent designer/coder duo can probably finish this in a week, iterations can happen after.

I believe they must have some sort of a Keynote presentation that is evolving constantly, to show in meetings or so. This thing is for showing off maybe.

My personal opinion is heck yeah it's worth it! I mean, even if it turns out to be not such a good idea for startups to consider, it's innovative if they have some good plans for growing -I believe they do considering that the founder is already in this field (vizualize.me)- it would be like creating some sort of a startups meme.

I believe you're referring to http://investors.dressrush.com/

The most cursory glance at that pitch, and one fact shone out:

Cost to acquire customer: $0.55

Long term customer value: 5-7x of "cost to acquire".

Either my English comprehension is declining with age, or someone just shot themselves in the foot.

They list revenue of $2750 - 3850 for 1,000 customers.

That's ATROCIOUS. Groupon-land.

If that's the state of quality of companies, no wonder the whole market is crumbling.

Also a great deck, the inspiration to create ours!

Team has no apparent prior company operations experience, let alone M&A success.

"Technical" team member isn't a "founder".

They're in photo sharing and clearly following in Pinterest's footsteps.

Yet, took the time to build an extremely well-designed, intricate, graphical investment pitch in HTML.

Not sure if that's an antipattern or not.

Certainly, an equivalently beautiful presentation aimed at prospective users of the site would be unquestionably valuable.

> Team has no apparent prior company operations experience, let alone M&A success.

The advisors do have M&A experience, and that may well be why they have them. Two of the team founded a company called Moxy, so they'll have some operations experience. Not everyone needs it to start up and an investor should look at the details, not the flashy site.

> "Technical" team member isn't a "founder".

I'm not aware that this is a requirement for a successful business. Indeed, there are plenty of businesses where the technical people aren't founders that do just fine.

I'd worry less about the design than the numbers. For me, I wouldn't say it was well designed because of it's intricacy. It's not intuitive, things were inconsistent (do I scroll or click, or both?) and some areas just seemed to be blank (at least for me).

I promise: no snark intended with this question, but I don't know a better way to ask it: does starting a design shop count as company operations experience in startupland?

Totally prepared for the answer to be "yes". And clearly there are design shops that have become serious companies, with growth trajectories, quarterly and yearly revenue forecasts, employee turnover, the whole nine yards. Is Moxy one?

I totally see where you're coming from on this, but I think you're placing an awful lot of importance on things that might not be that important.

I'd say starting a design shop could count as company ops experience, but not everyone who starts a startup has experience. Indeed, people start up without experience all the time. From the looks of the presentation they have an MVP, have users and have burned through less money than they're asking for (although the details we don't know).

I don't know enough about Moxy to tell whether or not that's yes, but I would say it might not be wholly necessary and would be down to the investor to decide.

Actual angel here.

Ops is not that hard for a startup.

M&A? Build something people want and it will happen.

At scale, I think running a creative servies business is much harder than a typical tech startup. Mapping billable hours to bodies, some of who you haven't even hired yet, is a difficult process that's hard to scale.

Actually what you're describing applies to any service company, including companies separately founded by Thomas and myself on different sides of the globe. Creative service businesses and tech startups are a bit like chalk and cheese, which perhaps is part of Thomas' argument (not wanting to put chalk or cheese in his mouth though). However, one thing is certain, the guys that are pushing out this company and looking for investment are at least doing something about it, and I think that's good enough for me.

I'm hope this is just a pretty slide deck for public consumption, not really for "investors". e.g. that slide with visitors and uniques screams vanity metrics to me...

Firstly, I'm not sure how much of the pitch deck you actually absorbed. Much of what you said is not "factually" true.

Secondly, why would creating a well-designed pitch deck be an antipattern? They have 3 million plus uniques a month with a very healthy average time on site. It's not like they are ignoring their users and the growth of their company so that they can instead just waste their time crafting elaborate pitchdecks...

It's totally possible, even likely, that my fast read of their investor presentation missed facts. Perhaps you'd be kind enough to point a couple of them out?

If your first read of their presentation missed important facts, does that imply it's an ineffective presentation?

I agree the presentation is ineffective. On my read, anyway.

There is a logical sequence to the pitch but that is not reflected in the visual structure. The top horizontal menu keeps the "Problem" disjoint from the "Solution". The precursor to this pitch deck was the DressRush pitch (http://investors.dressrush.com/), which does a better job at showing the logical sequence of a pitch, from Intro to Team to Problem to Solution.

But even DressRush is missing a key mechanism: a simple Next arrow that cycles you through all the content. After all, we are only talking about 10 screens or so. There should be no need for fancy navigational mechanisms that get in the way.

Some of the screens get truncated at the bottom but show you an arrow on the right side. The user is torn between scrolling down or scrolling right. (Violating the UX mantra: "Don't make me think").

It almost seems like the Piccsy pitch is trying to get the user to meander aimlessly through the content. And in that respect it is successful. I went through the path I thought they wanted me to follow, but then when I skipped back I found I had missed some important charts and data.

The visual appearance is over-designed and over-fontified (a made-up word) at the expense of readability. Perhaps because it is at the end of a long day for me, but at this hour I don't want to puzzle out coy infographic-style design when looking for basic numbers. The journey is not the reward.

It's a beautiful presentation. I'm jealous. We have products we're in the process of slow-launching; I'd absolutely pay to get a site like that.

Maybe the best way to put it is, skepticism over prospects of new internet site is inversely proportional to the quotient of (quality of application / quality of investor pitch).

And piccsy.com doesn't look bad at all! It's just, the denominator is so big...


The founder (Daniel) has been involved in a number of businesses. If you had read his description, even just glanced it at for more than a second, you would have seen a fairly long list of businesses with which he has been involved. He is the co-founder of visualize.me, the founder of Everyguyed (a men's publishing network), and the co-founder of a design agency, amongst other things. I can't speak to his experience with M&A, but it would seem unlikely that he would have a hand in running so many separate businesses without at least being exposed to some M&A experience.

As someone else pointed out, the advisors of the company also have M&A experience.

Also, Piccsy was founded at around the same time Pinterest was, so it's untrue to say that they are simply following in their footsteps.

"visualize.me" is a spam site. "vizualize.me" (ow) looks interesting, but Eckler's name appears nowhere on the site I can find, nor in any news stories I could find about the company, which does have a web page listing its current staff and is clearly still operating (they have a Twitter account).

But this is getting nitpicky. You're right: I wrongly and thoughtlessly implied that they were a Pinterest derivative, and ignored the vizualize connection.

Thanks for catching that.

A pitch deck is all about gaining (and maintaining) attention right? Seems that if they don't have any of the prerequisites you mention then a Ridiculously Good Looking presentation like this is a good thing.

Right, that's what I'm thinking, but then one wonders: does "Ridiculously Good Looking presentation" start serving as a negative signal?

this is my concern. As a developer and a manager I am immediately put on guard by companies with flashy propaganda. My first thought is, "Do they go out of their way to make it look nice in order to cover up a mediocre product?"

But that's just my initial reactions. Sometimes it is true, sometimes it isn't.

Off-topic, but you've been awfully critical and quick to judge as of late, Thomas. You've already shot this company down without seeing the product.

Huh? The product is right there.

Honestly: I'm not qualified to judge the prospects of a photo sharing site. I mean that sincerely: I have no f'ing clue of whether a photo site is worth $1 or $1Bn.

I'm in the exact same place as 'tferris: as a company operator and likely future again-founder, I have a somewhat visceral reaction to overly intricate investor courting rituals.

It might be a totally reasonable response to say "You're crazy, this is going to be super effective, they did exactly the right thing here." Awesome! I'll have learned something new. Fire away!

alarms were going off when I read "pitch deck"...

I get the same visceral reaction. If anything, they are too broad and in a space where zipfs law rule supreme.

For a pitch deck it made zero sense to me. "the problem" was a bunch of unreadable junk. "the solution" was...? Wtf?

Agreed, the problem was way to difficult to understand. People are just wooed by moving circles I guess.

If they're saying what I think they're saying then I think a simple screenshot of an image sharing menu from a well chosen iOS camera app would probably do the trick for "the problem" but I'm not convinced their "solution" would be any better (instead of share via one of twenty different services, you need to pick which of twenty different features from one service to check off).

Ha. Nice Reference.

If I can get on my soapbox for a second (and let me know if this isn't cool - I just like pointing people towards more effective products), I'd like to call attention to http://www.lookwork.com, which was designed and developed by Ben & Eric of Svpply fame quite a few years ago using the jQuery Masonry that people seem to think is Pinterest's bread and butter. You can follow friends, tag images, add your own feeds and sync it to your Dropbox.

Lookwork, out-of-the-box, has a ton of fantastic inspiration feeds that are of much higher quality than Pinterest and Piccsy. In fact, when I received the email about Piccsy yesterday, I made a tongue-in-cheek tweet about the worth of an image aggregate that doesn't even aggregate quality images (both in resolution and their usefulness to the user - sorry Daniel).

I've been really pushing the site over the past few years despite the founders leaving it nigh high and dry after Svpply took up more of their time (and after they really bombed their public launch).

Regardless, if you're a creative or a dev looking for design inspiration, I'd highly suggest Lookwork over any other platform I've tried (and I'm a sucker for curation sites, so I sign up and use all of them). I'm really hoping they integrate it with Svpply and make it a truly one stop shop for all things visual.

Note: It does cost $5, which I kind of wish they'd drop unless you want more advanced features. I can see about getting people invites if anyone is interested.

Also, to say something from a design perspective on this pitch deck, it's rather annoying as between all of the CSS3 transform effects forcing the text to juggle between antialiased and subpixel and whatever resizing mechanism is causing the images to blur, it's hard to read/follow. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

My favorite image bookmarking site today is designspiration.

Different strokes. The deck shows the direction we're going. Anyone will be able to create any stream. So, you'll be able to aggregate all of the quality images you want :)

But users don't want to do that legwork. I'm way more apt to use a product that, from the get-go, gives me what I want and then allows me to expand on that.

Designspiration thumbnails those images so small, it's impossible to just browse and tag without needing to click into it. That's my main complaint with most if not all of these services; I shouldn't have to click to see it in its full glory, and often times, the details get lost at that size and certain works are inherently at a disadvantage of being seen because of it.

Is Pinterest using Masonry? It's not listed on the Masonry site as a reference.

Why does it cost 5$?

It might not be Masonry, but I've noticed that any site that uses that method of floating content is automatically compared to Pinterest.

I'd assume it's $5 because it took some effort to build and there's no other means of revenue for the time being. The homepage doesn't really do the rest of the experience justice, but the whole thing is really clean and not nearly as distracting from the actual content it claims it is highlighting like Pinterest/Piccsy/Snip.it/Cubbi.es/etc.

I don't understand the problem slide. what do the size of the bubbles reflect? it isn't consumer spend or market size.

It's definitely the most confusing one to me, and it only gets more so the more you study it. It's almost as if the circles were designed first, and then the groups of text were randomly assigned a circle. It's peculiar that stock photography and blogs are the biggest circles. Maybe they're what the majority of their users actually use the service for? Then there's the grouping and positioning. It's strange to me that Tumblr is in bookmarking instead of blogging, or that blogging is attached to postcards and image bookmarking and not blogs. Why are the things in bookmarking not grouped with Instagram, and why is Twitter with Instagram instead of Tumblr or Pinterest.

So I guess the main point they're trying to make is that you have to go to all these sites to do this stuff, but they give it all to you in one place. What's slightly strange to me is that there are a lot of sites in the problem area whose content isn't in the solutions area, so it's maybe not clear if this is providing some of that content or all of it. Maybe a clever graphic indicating logical process, like a funnel or something sorting and processing the problem balls for you as you scroll down would make more sense (and be less creepy than Daniel's blinking mug looking at me).

Is the HN traffic enough to crush their servers? Something is deeply broken as I post this.

"Ajax" is listed under Technologies. May as well include "computers" and "internet," too.

The traction graph has a terrible y-axis. Equally spaced ticks measure 500, 1.5M - 500, 500k, 1M, and 600k. Many people who notice that will think it is meant to deceive, regardless of whether that was the intention.

Design wise, and I've seen this more often lately with fancy HTML5 things, the whole assumption of a minimum browser height really gets on my nerves. I know Google+ has this problem too (along with the disabling of vertical scrolling), though a redesign might have changed it.

I browse on a Mac, and not in full-screen mode. My browser isn't sized to fill the screen as it would be in Windows. Yet elements on the page are sized big enough to overflow without resizing the window. Combined with a navbar that is fixed to the top (and is huge), there's even less space to read the actual content. The layout suggests that each section is probably designed to fit comfortably within the browser window.

Granted, this is less of an offender than other sites I've encountered. If I could remember what they were, I'd be able to back up my point better.

Beautiful, sure... But there's so much emphasis on the form that one hardly sees/reads the content.

Also, I would really appreciate if the site was a bit narrower, smaller fonts, and less flashy colors... But =, maybe it's just because I'm reading it at night.

The "Visits vs Uniques" graph is one of the worst I have seen. When your Y-Axis has such variable jumps it just makes the graph completely irrelevant. I would say it was intentionally skewed to mislead, but sometimes the jumps work in your favor and sometimes not, so I just can't understand the reasoning.

Equally spaced increments go by 500k, 1mm, 500k, 1mm, 600k.

Charts are meant to give a visual representation of data, if you skew the chart then you may as well be skewing the numbers.

I don't feel this is a good presentation. Text is too small in many places. The solution is not made obvious from the graphic.

What I found original and nicely intuitive is the way to show fragmentation of the playground field. But it is missing a clear view (in a snap) of the cause of this fragmentation. Because the next slide is supposed to explain how to solve the problem.

Making critics is very easy, making the art is very difficult.

Nice work, but what the app actually does is not evident on first glance when you scroll the page. You get to the solution, see the streams (and might not see that you can open some of them), the scroll lower, and see the team etc.

Doesn't really tell me anything about the app itself.

Beautiful?? Beautiful??

You have got to be kidding.

Blinking eyes - balloons blowing up: it doesn't have the visual appeal of a Roadrunner / Wile E. Coyote cartoon, let alone something like the mother of all demos.

Had some trouble viewing the presentation at first in Chrome. I did go back and it rendered beautifully later. I suspect most people won't do that... which is a shame but the risk with using complex presentation style.

Not sure why there's so much concern with the time it took to make. Working on your startup is a labor of love... describing and pitching should be too. Very nice work.

Is there a well-known framework or JS library that most of these "scroll to animate" pitch decks are using?

It seems like a lot of work to roll your own, and I imagine the designers have better things to do. They all seem to work roughly the same way.

scrollorama.js and impress.js are good starting points for that

I'm not sure they did that deck in-house. In the footer it says "Designed by Moxy Creative House" and that level of visual polish isn't present on the main Piccsy site.

Just uninformed guessing, but interesting if it's true.

Read the team bios. They are Moxy.

I think that deck is much better designed than the product itself. Actually I was disappointed by that as I expected something on the same level. I guess I might be not the only one feeling that way.

Heh. Beautiful on desktop maybe, but on Chrome for Android, it's messy and runs like a slideshow while I can feel my phone getting really hot... better hope your investors aren't checking on mobile.

That site crawls like a dog on my Firefox 12, Linux i7 quad core system.

Near the bottom under Advisors the "role" of the two advisors is reversed. iStock Photo / Getty Images and Flickr/Bitly should be swapped based on the description of the two men.

How can they have so many visitors with no website? http://www.piccsy.com doesn't give me anything. Is it just me?

It is just you.

site doesn't load for me either... maybe the HN traffic is crushing their servers?

Yeah wow that is outstanding. In terms of communicating their ideas this is simply phenomenal. The first time I've seen this scroll-to-reveal technique used well.

Blinking team profile pictures are a really nice touch!

Thanks, this is one of my favorite parts!

It creeped me out at first. lol

Our corporate nannyware (websense) associates this site with "nudity". I could not make heads or tails of the site on my Nexus Galaxy.

For laughs go to piccsy.com and try to click any of the links in the footer (e.g. "About").

edit: They appear to have now disabled infinite scrolling.

If they want money, maybe they should spend this effort to make their site works well on mobile and tablets.

...except they misspelled "Flickr" on the second slide. But I guess only nitpickers like me would mind. :-)

If you ignore the fact it takes minutes to display anything beyond a blank page, yes it is nice.

@piccsydaniel, may you release that framework so others can reuse it with their theme and data

The site not actually loading is sort of a turn-off, no matter how pretty the presentation is.

Who's the artist for the team pics? I quite like them. Maybe not the blinking so much though.

Glenn Michael, the Creative Director of Piccsy. http://www.moxycreative.com

@piccsydaniel, may you release that framwork so other can reuse it with their theme and data

that was really hard to read. And I only have a vague idea of what you are.

it does look really nice though.

Makes it sounds like these days you sell Pitch Decks to investors, not businesses

Doesn't work on chrome on mac, many images are broken, some slides are doubled.

Works fine in my Chrome 18, its way smoother in chrome than in Firefox 12

Is this time and money well spent?

a startup pitch and proudly display that they use php/mysql

kudos to them!

Thanks James!

Is this legal?

Let me rephrase> Is it legal to put a pitch deck aimed at private investors online for all to see? I know this is a grey area in the past, and recent legislation has changed things, so I ask again, in hopes of actually getting an answer: Is this legal?

As far as I understand, even with the recent legislation, this is still not legal. They could get into a lot of trouble for publicly advertising an investment opportunity like this.

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