Hook, line and sinker: My thoughts on pitching an App

I was recently a judge at the ‘Muther of All Hackathons’, a 36 hour developer event at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View California. The concept was simple, you get 24 hours to develop an app using a variety of API’s and services and then you pitch your App to your peers and judges to get awesome prizes.

Developers had 3 minutes to sell their App and the previous 12 hours will have been for nothing if they could not get their point across. A good app can be destroyed by a poor or confusing pitch, we the judges had 3 minutes to assess the App, its purpose, innovation, marketability and overall quality. Sadly some of the teams had not heeded the advice in the previous days panel.

Pitching is not easy, especially to a room of 300 or more people, here’s some advice for the future:

  •     If you want to succeed, you need to set aside some time to practice your pitch in front of your team as it will help you separate the important facts from the waffle.
  •     If your App crashed, don’t panic about it and keep talking! Bugs happen at the worst times
  • Practice your pitch some more
  •     In the first minute you will have the most attention, cover the important stuff first: App name, purpose.
  •     Under five minutes to pitch? Don’t read out your CV or give a history lesson.
  •     Never say “This is the most/best/revolutionary X”, if it is trust in your audience to realise it
  • Although bugs happen, test every thing you will be demonstrating, then get someone 100% new to your product to test it
  • You don’t have to demonstrate all features, just the ones that best showcase your App
  • If you have time, offer a summary of the product, you may have have sped through your demo due to nerves, recap and help the people listening to you
  • Breathe, the worst that can happen is that they say no, remember they are people just like you!
  • Prepare to back up any claims stated in your pitch, judges/panels etc will more than likely test them!
  • Lastly, try to enjoy yourself, thinking “I hate presenting” is a self fulfilling prophesy

There are many more tips but those are the essential I think, got something to add to the list? Get in contact!

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Apps for Good « If not now, then when? - July 13, 2011

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