Full Stripe Goes Live!
January 1, 2015
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The Dreaded Elevator Speech

We have a weekly business meeting. The meeting is chaired by Ann, our Goddess of Marketing and Director of Adult Supervision for myself and Brian (our tech guy). Hana, our Legal Eagle and ‘’Deputy Director of Adult Supervision’’ is also there to make sure Brian and I don’t fight over the colouring crayons. Brian and I are usually dying to get out of the meeting. Brian has what I call ‘’Computer Separation’’ issues. Separating him from his computer is like leaving a puppy on its own for the first time – there’s lots of whining. I’m just looking at my list and thinking, ‘’I’d better make a start on this, like now.’’

We are just, literally just about to bolt like racehorses out of the gate when Ann says, ‘’You two need to come up with an Elevator Speech.’’ There is an inaudible, inward groan from the two of us, followed by a knowing exchange of glances….. ‘’We’re gonna take the stairs…’’

Before we can say anything, Ann pre-empts our excuses with, ‘’Sorry guys. I know what you’re thinking, but it’s now on your list’’. Brian and I have heard about it. We know it exists, but have always avoided it the way you would avoid a rabid dog.

When I tell the two dogs, Casey the Retriever and Susie the Bernese, they’ve gotta do an Elevator Speech, there is wild panic in their eyes accompanied by uncontrollable shaking. I leave them with the uncomfortable feeling that I have given them PTSD.

It’s fine for Ann, our marketing girl, she’s been doing Elevator Speeches almost her entire adult life. ‘’Do some research, write it, then rehearse it,’’ she says simply.

So I type into Google, ‘’how to do an elevator speech without sounding like a moron.’’ Google gives me advice on the first 6 words, but none on the last 5. Then just for fun, I type, ‘’how to do an elevator speech when you are a computer programmer.’’ Here, Google turns up 0 results. Great. Google is about as much help as a blind guide dog.

I know the importance of the Elevator Speech. As Albert Einstein said, ‘’If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.’’

After a little research, I found a little step-by-step guide entitled ‘’Elevator Pitch Format’’. The pitch should be delivered in 60 seconds, give or take.

For (this type of customer)

Who has (this type of problem)

We offer (this solution)

Which is (different in this way)

From (other competitors)

Call to action

Hmmm. Seems easy but it’s not. I know all the elements, but somehow I can’t seem to get it right. It’s not like something you can knock out in five minutes. You write it, look at it, re-write it, look at it, take the dogs for a walk, come back, look at it again, make a snack, sit down, look at it again, watch some Youtube, re-write it, look at it in despair, and re-write it. The procrastination is endless.

Finally, the masterpiece is complete.

Hi, My name is John Lowe from FullStripe. We are a full solution, IT company focused on small and medium sized businesses.

 We believe that small and medium sized businesses are woefully underserved by all online solutions available out there. Often, the IT solution is put together using multiple vendors with different pricing models and growth thresholds, along with different support policies. As the business grows, the solution is not scalable and the business owner does not have a concept of his true IT cost.

 We deliver a fully customised, scalable and secure solution with transparent pricing that makes sense.

 We provide an initial free consultation to make sure you get exactly what you need and we tailor the solution to you needs. We do everything from assessing your storage and bandwidth requirements, recommending and delivering a software solution that may include email calendar and project management collaboration platforms. We can also help you with your website creation.

 We do everything we can to take the worry out of your IT. Our aim is to provide everything you would otherwise get through anonymous multiple vendors at a transparent cost effective cost – all under one roof. We do the research for you.

Now, I need to rehearse it. I need an elevator. Fortunately, I live on the second floor in my building, so I walk downstairs, call the elevator and get in. The doors close.

Unfortunately, the elevator ride from the ground floor to the second floor is only 20.93 seconds. I just about get to… growth thresholds in the second paragraph.

I live in Prague. It’s not like there are a bucket load of skyscrapers with 60 second elevator rides. I need another plan. I go back to the flat.

I am sitting at my kitchen table pondering my dilemma. The kitchen in my flat looks into the living room. The two dogs are passed out on the living room floor. I have an idea.

I wake the dogs up and get them to sit side by side. They are not very happy about being woken up from their mid-afternoon nap. ‘’Ok, guys, you are going to listen to my ‘’Elevator Speech,’’ I said. Bemusement on the face of a Golden Retriever and a Bernese mountain dog.

After I finish, the Retriever looks at me and says, ‘’That was rubbish, buddy’’. The Bernese says, ‘’Was that in Chinese?’’ They both walk off. This leaves me with the conclusion that dogs are not good judges of elevator speeches.

Finally, after hours of standing in my flat talking to random pieces of furniture, my elevator speech is ready.

In my dreams, I find myself walking into elevators and impressing the hell out of people, making kick ass contacts that lead to big contracts, which make me bucket loads of money, giving me the opportunity to retire early to a beach in Thailand.

Then, one day, I’m waiting for an elevator. The doors open and Michael Jordan is standing there.

In my head, I’m thinking…. ‘’Elevator speech, elevator speech, elevator speech.’’

‘’Oh my God. Oh my God. It…, it…, it’s you. You…, you’re Michael Jordan. I can’t believe it’s you. I’m your biggest fan. No kidding. I remember the time…..’’

Did I blow the elevator speech? Hell yeah.