Donna Griffit is a Corporate Storyteller, has worked globally for over 16 years with Fortune 500 companies, Start-Ups, and investors in a wide variety of industries. She has consulted and trained clients in over 30 countries. Donna has the ability to magically spin raw data into compelling stories that captivate audiences.
Listen to the podcast to learn about
01:00 - Don’t Avoid Noes Learn From Them
12:40 - How to Talk About Your Competition
25:30 - The Power of Origin Stories
28:00 - How to Make Impactful Demo Videos
You can read the complete transcript below
Amit Somani 00:55
Welcome to the Prime Venture Partners Podcast. I’m your host Amit Somani. And, I’m delighted to have with me today, Donna Griffit. Donna is a Corporate Storyteller and has a fascinating story herself. She’s been working with clients large and small, from Fortune 50 companies, to Fortune 500, to early stage startups from around the world. Welcome to the show, Donna.
Donna Griffit 01:18
Thank you, Amit, for having me.
Amit Somani 01:23
Donna, you have dealt with lots of different companies of different shapes and sizes. What are some of the common patterns you have seen as startups go about trying to tell their story, whether it is to customers, or to employees, and most interesting, to investors?
Donna Griffit 01:40
Ooh. Wow. So, I think there’s the good patterns and the bad patterns. And I’ll start with the bad, because it’s always more interesting for people to get the juice. So, one common thing I see founders doing is over telling. I think there’s this fear that people won’t get it. So, what we do is we’ll throw everything at them, every single bit, bite, detail, Excel spreadsheet, and just toss it up there and like, “Well, they’ll get it.”
And clients that come to me to work on their deck are not allowed to come with a deck that looks like that. And sometimes they do sneak it through, and I will nip it in the bud. I’m like, “I cannot work with that. You have to extrapolate the meaning.” And yeah, VCs are very smart people. They see a lot of these things, but when any human brain, any human eye sees a slide loaded with so many details, the brain is just going to go, “Floop. See you. Bye.”
So, you have to give meaning to the data. It’s just like what a data scientist would do, or a good AI would do to pull out data at actionable insights from big data. You want to do the same thing. You want to pull out the actionable insights from your deck and give them … That’s what the story is, that’s storytelling. So, that’s one. Arguing. I’ve seen it before, it’s very embarrassing when you see a founder arguing back with the VC. Because, I’m sure you guys, I have a feeling, will sometimes ask things purposely to be a little contentious, just to see whether … So, I see you’re nodding
And you want to see that people have grace under fire, because there’s going to be a lot of fire that you’re under as a founder. So, if you show you’re arguing, that shows a lack of coachability, that shows a lack of flexibility of thought, and what do they have to teach you? And by the way, and we were discussing this before, I’ve had investors say to me, and this seems like a little nitpick, but it’s profound. “If you’re not sitting there, taking notes with a pen and paper,” remember those? “Actually, yes, you’re not taking us seriously.”
It’s not writing it on your phone. It’s not writing it on your computer. It’s not having your co-founder take notes. And I even had one partner say to me, “You could be scribbling or doodling. I don’t care. You could throw the paper afterwards. It’s just the act of showing that what we’re saying matters.” You don’t have to agree with it. So, I see you nodding, so I assume that you’re-
Amit Somani 04:10
Yeah, no, that is most certainly one of my pet peeves, as well, as a practicing VC, that you’ll be having a very deep conversation and you’ll have lots of, like you were saying, challenges, agreements, disagreements, whatever. And it’s all floating in the air and nobody’s making notes. And actually, I’m pretty arduous and hardcore about making notes myself. And I’m like, “Look, we talked about all these things and we disagreed about many of these.” And you’re like, “No, no, but that’s not true.” “Do you want to write this down? Because I’m sure this is not the last time we’re going to chat.” And I heard you speak once and you said, and I believe this too, “the purpose of the meeting is not to get the check in your hand. That would be a dream home run. The purpose of meeting…”
Donna Griffit 04:50
It’s the Cinderella story. Likely in a first meeting, you are not going to walk out of there … Have you ever written a check at the end of the first meeting? Ever? Never. Okay.
Amit Somani 04:59
Donna Griffit 05:00
Have you come close? Maybe you’ve come close. Maybe it’s been such a great deal that you’re like, “Okay. I want this deal.”
Amit Somani 05:05
Yeah, we’ve come close a couple of times, but never.
Donna Griffit 05:08
No. So, there’s due diligence and you want to make sure it’s legit and you want to go through it. So, if you have caused a VC to sit up and take notice, and really get intrigued and want to take a next step, that next step can be, “Let’s set up a meeting with my partners. I want you to meet someone who’s an expert in your field to do some deeper dive into your technology, because I’m not as familiar with it.” Anything that shows movement. And I always joke, I don’t know how it is in India, but in Silicon Valley, you’ll be in a meeting with a VC and you’ll think. “Excellent. Awesome. Amazing. Terrific. Fantastic. Love it. Totally in. All in. Totally going to do this.” And then never hear from them again, crickets.
Now, it took me a while to adjust, I’ve been in Silicon Valley for seven years, and it took me a while to realize what just happened here? And it’s not that they’re not truly interested in the moment. It’s not that it’s BS, because if they’re not interested, you’ll know. And they’re not saying no to you, they’re leaving a door open. And one day, if you continue to update them, as you make progress, you’re going to hear back, “Hey, it’s been a long time. How are you?” And don’t be all like, “Oh, now you write me. Now that I’ve raised a round, now that I’ve closed it.” Don’t do that. Be smart.
So, nobody here wants to say no to what could potentially be the next big Airbnb, Uber, what have you. So, don’t count your dollars before they’re actually deposited and don’t get mad that you haven’t heard a no. Just know that, that’s part of it. It would be nice to get feedback. And I’ve been really lucky to be inside some of these very direct feedback sessions and glean it, and bring it out to the rest of the world.
And another thing. And the flip side of the, I think, the taking notes and the arguing, is not putting the good news upfront right away. I’ve sat in meetings where, like slide 17, suddenly we just closed a major deal with Johnson and Johnson and we have a 500K commitment in our 1.5 mill round or whatever. And it’s like, why are you waiting till now to tell me this? Bring the good news upfront. We don’t have time to sit there waiting for you to extract again, the meaning from the data. This is now something that just hit me now, because I’ve been working with so many data science based automation companies, that it’s like, nobody wants to work to dig through mountains of data. If you’ve got massive engagement, if you’ve got big numbers, growth month over month, quarter over quarter, 20% in north. Tell me that at the beginning and then tell me how you got there.
Amit Somani 07:50
Lots of follow-ups, Donna. So one, which again, we think about a lot and I think you alluded to it, but I want to unpack it a little bit, is what we tell people, and I’d love to know if you do too, which is, you need to cultivate an ability to read the room. So, when everybody’s saying, “Great, awesome, rocking, love it.” Et cetera. And you go to five VC pitches and everybody says the same thing, theoretically, let’s say, and you come back and like, “Yeah, I’m done. I’m going to start getting term sheets, they’ll start rolling Sunday night.” And nothing happens. You completely misread the room. And every single one of them, and this happens more than I would care to admit, even with our own company sometimes.
So, I think, the question back to you is, beyond the note taking, are there ways, or do you see this too, where are there ways to get to know whether the listeners are getting it or not? I have a couple of hacks, but I’d love to hear from you. How do you read a room effectively and does that come back?
Donna Griffit 08:50
It’s a tough one. I would love to hear what you say, because I think that I’ve … I mean, VCs have this, I don’t know if you guys do a course in how to keep a stonewall face and not give much away, but it is hard. And also, when it’s your own baby, it’s really, really hard to read anyone else, because it’s so sensitive. I mean, I remember when I became a mom for the first time and someone would say, “So, how’s the baby?” I’d pull out my phone and show like 300 pictures. And then, after a while, I got the glazed looks and then I’m like, “Yeah, I could probably pick my three favorites and show it to them and do just as well, and then move on.” So, that is reading the room. The question is, what’s your tell? How can we know, as founders, when you’re just not liking it? And what do we do with that? Do we get up and leave? Do we say, “This isn’t going to work.” What do we do? I’m throwing it back to you.
Amit Somani 09:50
Yeah, no worries. No worries. So, I think the simplest thing that we encourage founders to do when they’re pitching other investors or for follow on rounds is, really to try to simulate discussions such that you’re going to get a no. People try to run away from the no, because they just want yes, yes, yes. So, until you get some genuine objections and then you start handling those objections, things are not going well.
If everything’s, “Yes. Great. Awesome. Love it. Whatever, great. We’ll be in touch.” Well, maybe not. You say these two things, “I do not like your churn numbers and I don’t think you can succeed in SMB SaaS with $1,000 ACV.” You’re like, “Okay, now let me talk to you and change your world model.” And now, you got me hooked, because this is different than my pattern matching. And so, I better pay attention really to what this person is saying. But if it’s all, yes, yes, yes-
Donna Griffit 10:42
You’re saying, if you can get someone to truly tell you what they object to and then be able to address those objections in an educated way?
Amit Somani 10:53
That is a sure shot way of getting to the next meeting. Now, you make it-
Donna Griffit 11:00
If I were to come into a meeting with you, Amit, to give my pitch and then say, “Okay, I don’t want to hear what you like about what I’m doing. I’d like to hear where you see the holes in the plot.”
Amit Somani 11:11
Donna Griffit 11:12
What a refreshing approach. I love it.
Amit Somani 11:14
Absolutely. And I think the best founders, even when they know things are not going well, they will ask that question. And most self-respecting VCs will tell you, “It’s not poker face and a little black book with a diary, and you don’t want to say it.” They’re like, “Look, I love these two, three, four things,” because you also know this is sweat and blood and tears they’re putting into it, “but these two things, I’m not quite sure.” Or, “Actually, to be honest, Donna, I absolutely do not like this one thing.” Now you know. And it’s not even like you’re going to convert them into your belief system, but you really know. And now if you can engage them on that, even if you don’t solve it there, you’re like, “You know what? Let me call you next week. Let me ask around a little bit and call you back.”
Donna Griffit 11:55
Love it. Oh, see, I came on to be interviewed on this podcast and I think we ended up giving a massive nugget to your audience. Guys, this is gold. You should all be taking notes and writing this down. Chase the no. Run right into the storm. Love it. I’m going to be passing that one on for years to come on, Amit.
Amit Somani 12:12
Yeah. No. Great. Glad you liked it. Let’s switch gears, Donna, and talk about one other thing that you talked about, which is also one of my pet peeves, but I think you have some interesting ideas, which is, how do you talk about competition? Everybody will have the prototypical slide for competition, the two-by-two or some, 10-by-10, what is the right way, in your opinion, to talk about competition? What do you advise your clients and the companies you work with?
Donna Griffit 12:37
Right. And I will be throwing the question back to you at the end, because I’d love to hear your take on it. So, first of all, my big rule of thumb is, never diss your competition. You do not know, first of all, who is sitting in the room that might have been involved in some capacity. By the way, you should not be pitching to someone who’s invested in a direct competitor of yours. Do your homework beforehand. Don’t even approach VCs that already … Because they can’t invest in you and you might end up giving away precious data. It’s a waste of both your time. But let’s say they’re not invested in a direct competitor, maybe at some point they saw the company, they mentored the company, they were on a board or something, or they’re connected. So, it’s dissing something that they have respect for.
Two, if it’s a company that’s been successful there, they do have merits. I mean, seriously, you can’t discount that. And three, it speaks to who you are and your integrity, because if you’re dissing them and speaking ill of them, the VC’s sitting there thinking, “Oh, wow, I wonder what they’re saying about me behind my back.” So, it doesn’t reflect well on you. Now, the fact that you have competitors is phenomenal. It means you have a market and you just have to be able to say, “What they’re doing is great. What we’re doing is great, plus, plus, plus, and better execution, better speed, a different approach, a secret sauce, something else.”
I mean, it’s not that Myspace wasn’t good. I’m sure it was. I remember it vaguely. But Facebook came along and executed in a way that just grabbed people. I mean, look at Wordle, I’m sure a lot has been said about it and I just got on this morning and it was the first day it was actually on the New York Times, different platform. It was a little jarring suddenly, but it’s like, what is it about that, that just grabbed people? It’s not that crossword puzzles aren’t great. They have to be great in order for someone to love Wordle. You have to really love crossword puzzles. And it’s something that’s been around and sustained, but we just took a chunk of that and brought people this very simple model that just caught on. So, what is your Wordle? So, now you, now you tell me.
Amit Somani 15:00
Yeah. So, back to the competition, right? I completely agree with you. You shouldn’t diss them. In fact, I would go even a step further and say, anybody who’s a worthy competitor, I think you should have one really nice, thoughtful, deep thing to say about them. Saying, “We love their customer service.” Or, “We love the way their product works on low network kind of environment.” Say, in an environment like India. Or whatever it is. That means you are thoughtful, you’re deep, and you’re not being very flippant about it saying, “No, no, we’re the best and we’re already to the far right of every graph that you can think of.”
Donna Griffit 15:36
And we’re not threatened by them. They’ve got their place and so do we.
Amit Somani 15:40
Absolutely. And the second thing, which you said, which I also completely concur with, I think you articulated it well, which is that, you also want to show people that the market is really big and that nothing is better than saying, “Look, there are 10 other people who are making dents, but of course, we have our secret sauce, or unique mousetrap.” Or whatever it is, but you don’t have to be the best on every dimension. That’s usually to me, a bad sign or a bad signal, at least at early stages, right? Maybe if you’re raising $500 million or something, then you want to say, “Look, we’re the only game in town. There’s nothing left now.” Almost anywhere else, even there to be honest, I’m not sure, but certainly that would be-
Donna Griffit 16:20
And that’s why I like the petal diagram, the Steve Blank petal diagram, where the company in the middle and then the different segments. I like it much better, because I think the most famous example he uses is Slack in the middle of unified business communication and online storage and all of that. And if you are interested in seeing more, I have a good example of it on my website, on donnagriffit.com, under resources. So, it’s like, you’re a one to many, you touch on many different types of solutions.
Some, you’re competing with, others you’re completing with, and some you’ll play nicely in the sandbox with, and others you might eventually nudge out of the sandbox, but it’s showing a much more holistic view of the market. And I find myself with my clients more and more, using that as opposed to the X-Y, to the two-by-two, because if you have a super clear X-Y, and maybe an X-Y-Z, I’ve seen a nice third dimension come into play, but it’s not just very generic things. It has to be meaningful, the X and the Y, otherwise it’s going to be like, okay, you’re online and you’re affordable. That may have worked for Airbnb, which was basically their X-Y back when they did it, but things are a lot more nuanced today.
Amit Somani 17:42
Yeah. I love the petal diagram and I think there’s a related thing, which is that a great customer segmentation is worth 1,000 charts of different natures, right? And you can use the same customer segmentation to also map your competition. To say, “Hey, look, for enterprise, this is ServiceNow, or this is whatever, Snowflake, or what have you. For mid-market, this is what it is. And for mid-market and pharma, that’s where I play. So, there may be a few deals we compete on, but that’s where I’m going. I’m not full stack for everything, for everybody.” And that just also shows you’ve been very thoughtful about your customer segmentation, not just your competition.
Donna Griffit 18:25
Yeah. Yep. So, going back to pattern for a second, I’m curious to see your take on this, because I know you’ve had a lot of talk about storytelling and how important it is, but I want to focus in on one thing and get what you think. So, this is fun, I’m interviewing you. So, for me, I’ve worked with companies for nearly 20 years and my focus on startups has been in the past 17, 18 years. I still remember founder stories from 15 years ago when they are powerful, because stories resonate, stories stick with you. And my take, my personal take is, always start with either your founder story, what was the spark, the moment that got you to go on this crazy journey? Because it’s yours, it’s authentic, it shows a facet of you. And it’s also something they can’t really argue about, because it’s yours. Nobody was there, to tell you, “No, that’s not how it happened.”
Or, a user of yours, a customer of yours and their story, their struggle before and how their lives were a miserable mess before they met you. Or, something happening in the world at large, because, and I said this yesterday to a client of mine or in a workshop, I can’t remember, it all blurs together, I’ve had so many this week. And I said, “If they are able to say, to go to a barbecue on the weekend with their other VC friends, and, “Oh my gosh, I saw this company this week and it’s the coolest thing, they’re able to do, blah, blah, blah.” And articulate it in a sentence. “Oh, and you’ve got to hear the story of how it started.” Because they’ll probably mis-tell the story, but it stays and it has that kernel of what resonated with them. Yes. So, I see you’re nodding. So, you agree?
Amit Somani 20:08
Absolutely. 100% agree. And remember, when you’re in a situation like yours or for that matter, one at Prime Ventures, you’re seeing hundreds and thousands of pitches a year, literally thousands. And they’re all like, “Okay, this is the TAM, and this is the SAM, and this is the GTM, and that is the ARR.” And you’re like, it’s all blurred. Won’t happen with the story of how you started, if it is true and authentic. The only downside, I would say, is sometimes you’re tempted to go put revisionist history on it and just make a story, because you want to story tell, and that doesn’t really work well. But eight out of 10 times, that’s not the case. So, if you say a genuine, heartfelt story in how you started, I mean, you would never forget it. There’s a company we just recently did not fund. I mean, I almost had tears in my eyes when this woman founder when she’s talking about it, what a story, oh my God, I don’t think I’ll ever forget this for the next 10 years. There’s different reasons why we did not invest, but I won’t forget it.
Two things I want to say off that, and I meant to say it one before, when we were talking about taking notes, on the flip side of that, don’t do a patchwork pitch, I call it. You’re going to get, okay, well, this VC said, “Well, I don’t like that.” And this one said, “Well, you need to have that.” And then you go back and you create another slide, and you create another slide, and you create another slide, and you’ve ended it up with this bloat. And sometimes, I have to come and clean the slate. I often think of it as like finding this rocking chair that’s covered in seven layers of paint, and it’s a beautiful antique rocking chair. And then you sand away the paint and you come back to the beauty of what’s at the core.
So, just because one VC said it, doesn’t mean that you have to completely transform your pitch. Take the note in, thank them for it. And see if it sits with you, if it resonates with you. That’s one. But the other thing, what you just said now, so I happened to run in last night to a founder I worked with many years ago, who’s become a friend. His son and my daughter were in preschool together. And he was the founder of EatWith, have you heard of EatWith? And they were acquired back in 2017, turned homes into Airbnbs for food. And the first time I met them, they were in an accelerator, and I said, “So, tell me the story of how this started.”
And I remember this, seriously, back in 2010, ’11, I think. And he said, “Well, I was on my honeymoon and we were in Greece and we were walking around looking for some kind of authentic food, and all we saw were these blue signs with the souvlaki, souvlaki, souvlaki. And so, we just stopped a woman who looked like a local on the street and said, “Excuse me, where do the locals eat around here?” And she said, “What do you mean, where do we eat? We eat at home.” And he’s like, “Well, how do I get invited to that restaurant?” And she’s like, “Oh, did you want to come to dinner?” And he’s like, “No, no, I’m really joking.” And she said, “No, please come to dinner.”
So, they sheepishly show up. 10 people around the table, beautiful food, scintillating conversation. He said, “It was just the highlight of their trip.” And he said, “And that’s how travel should be, seeing a slice of life inside. And that’s what I wanted to bring to the table.” Now, years have gone by, I know I’ve transformed the story, but to me, I can see that little old lady walking with her market bags home, and them stopping her. And she has a scarf on her head. And I see a stone wall behind her. It lives inside my brain. I was not on their honeymoon with them. So, it sticks that much, and I’m sure you will remember that founder and be able to also reach out and help her in some way or track her success, or do something, because you were so captivated by that story.
Amit Somani 23:42
100%. I’ve already made several introductions. They’ve got multiple customers because of us. And I’m like, “I’m going to help you.” Doesn’t matter if you’re not-
Donna Griffit 23:50
And you know what? That’s amazing, because sometimes founders will say, “Well, if an investor doesn’t get what I do, I don’t want them as an investor.” Oh, really? That’s a great attitude. That’s going to get you far. Because you never know, it may not be their realm, but maybe you have a friend or a colleague or someone who you went to business school with, who is just the right fit, and you want to introduce them. And it is such a network, right? You guys talk all the time and share notes. And by the way, it goes both ways. If someone’s a stellar founder, everyone’s going to know about it. If someone’s a jerk, everyone’s going to know about it. You want to be known as, “Wow, such a great person. We didn’t invest but that was just because A, B, C, I think they’d be a great fit for you.”
Amit Somani 24:36
Yeah, absolutely. And I think net promoter score works both ways. So, we actually pride ourselves on, believe it or not, of course, our investee companies, but also companies that we turn down that then go on to refer other founders to us. We actually have a metric that tracks that… to say, who all did we turn down, and are they referring people to us? And if they are, I mean, we must have done something right in the dating process. Right?
Donna Griffit 25:00
And it is a dating process. I use that metaphor a lot. And yeah, I always say, on your first date, if you start talking about your entire dating history, where you’d like to get married, how many kids you want to have, there’s a good chance you’re not going to see that person again. So, with investors also, you don’t want to throw, like I said, everything, every Excel sheet, everything, you want to intrigue them, pull out the data, make them want to hear more and ask for a second date. Which again, is meeting with partners, meeting with the tech expert, meeting with whatever. But that’s your goal, to get to the second date. I went on too many first dates back in the day.
And it’s the same process and it can be frustrating, and it can be demoralizing, and it can be like, another no, and another no, but if you think of it in a way of it’s just the next no on the way to the, yes. When I was dating, and I met my husband when I was 34, so it was considered a bit later, but I kept saying, “If I have an X number of dates, I have to meet that quota of before I meet the person I must spend my life with, I have to go through that quota. So, I might as well have fun along the way and find friends to do it, and find joy in the process.” And the same thing for founders. You can’t bring your frustration into the next date, to the next meeting, because that’s going to reflect and they don’t want to work with disgruntled, bitter, jaded people. You want to come in fresh day, new opportunity, today is going to be the day.
Amit Somani 26:36
Absolutely. I want to go back to the point you said about patchwork. And I think if you keep trying to patch it up, you will lose the original story and the authenticity. And so, you should take all the input, be respectful, make notes, ponder about it and so forth, because it might actually lead you to some better insights, but then you got to go back and say, “What’s my story?” And you got to stick to it, because the more you, like a little bit of this and a little bit of that, you’re nothing to nobody if trying to be everything to everybody.
Donna Griffit 27:05
Yeah, it gets out of control. And you know what? You could create backup slides based on that. So, that’s a great thing. If you get that question again, “Oh, I have a slide ready for it.” But it doesn’t have to be in your main deck, because different VCs have different perspectives. And just because they want to know that doesn’t mean that you have to completely change your model for everyone, but do be open to learn something. I’ve already learned things just listening to you today.
Amit Somani 27:30
No. Great. Thanks. So, actually, as we get to wrapping this up here, and this is a perfect segue to that, you also do, I think, a little bit of work around the one minute explainer videos, right? To capture attention, imagination, or a quick, better than a slide deck of 20 slides, or even a exec summary of 10 slides,. So, any tips and suggestions and thoughts about the explainer videos that you recommend?
Donna Griffit 27:55
Yes. So, let’s separate explainer videos and demos first. A does not have to be an explainer video where you’ve spent several thousand dollars to have somebody animate something really cool and slick. A demo should be a user journey. Somebody said to me yesterday, I was giving a workshop and one of the questions that came up was, “We found more success with VCs when we do the demo at the end of the pitch.” And I’m like, “Then you’re not doing a good demo. You’re boring them.”
You don’t have to show them every single thing in the system, but if you show it through the user perspective, “Okay, here’s what we did. We onboarded within a few hours, we integrated with all their systems. We were able to do a full system analysis and right away we had 37 issues that were … And then we were able to do that. And then, the continuous monitoring. And after just one month, we were able to locate $38 million in misappropriated funds and duplication. And we were able to look at this.” That is a user journey and that’s showcasing it. And you can do screenshots. You can do gifs. Just show them the beauty of it, but it doesn’t have to be the entire system. You don’t want to do a live demo and live demos have a way of dying, by the way, I’ve seen it happen.
I saw it happen to Steve Ballmer when he was at Microsoft and a blue screen came up when his presentation was supposed to go up. So, it was real poetic justice. So, that’s on the one hand. But when you do want to do an explainer video, and I wrote a script for one yesterday, and this is a client I had worked with two years ago and she’s in the space of infrastructure companies. And they have an AI modeling that enables them to create a digital twin of a building or a structure, so that you can really hone in safely and look at all of the different things. And it grades it. And it shows all the things. And there had been a real demand from her customers to also have a workspace for it, because there’s all these people, the engineers in the field and the people in the office, and it’s on their WhatsApp, and it’s on their mail, and it’s everywhere, but nothing is aggregated into one place.
I always ask people, “Okay, what’s a style that you’d like to have?” And she sent me monday.com’s original movie, which is great, but it didn’t have the drama that she does, because infrastructures are life. Now, since I worked with her a couple years ago, Biden came into leadership and one of the first things he put into motion was the Infrastructure Bill, $3 trillion. And his quote was, “This is a once in a generation investment.” Which it is, because infrastructures are supposed to last, hopefully, 100 years.
I mean, he had a meeting he was on his way to last week in Pennsylvania, and a bridge collapsed several hours before he was supposed to be there. I mean, it doesn’t get any better than that. So, if you have emotion, drama, and it happens in things like health tech, infrastructure. I mean business SaaS, you’re not going to really have the drama, though it can be there too. So, I told her, “Okay, this is how I envision it. Pictures of bridges collapsing. There was a big bridge collapse in Genoa, and with headlines coming through, this and that, and then Biden the $3 trillion. So, our infrastructures are crumbling in front of our very eyes. Leaders of the world are starting to take notice, but the companies that run the infrastructures don’t have a solid infrastructure to stand on and then go from there.”
So, at the same time, because she’s like, “I want to focus on both VCs and customers, and that’s a little tricky.” But the minute VCs can see the true need that’s being met for the customers, ah, that makes sense. And if the US is investing $3 trillion on it, that makes a lot of sense. And if the companies are saying they don’t have the right tools for it, there you go. And then we showed off a few features. So, first the big problem, the drama, then we have the solution. We are the superhero. We’re going to sell this for you. Feature, feature, feature, just a little bit, and the bright future coming through. All this can be done in a minute and a half. It can be done with stock videos. It doesn’t have to be complex animations.
So, hit them in the heart, the belly, the gut, and then the mind. It starts, the first thing that comes in is, “Oh my gosh, bridges are collapsing.” The second is, “Oh my gosh, my God, this is, wow, this is scary.” But at the same time, I see somebody investing a lot of money. “Okay, here are my questions. How does this work? How is this different?” So, it’s a triangle, playing between those three things, and you need to hit on all.
Amit Somani 32:56
Perfect. That is a beautiful way to summarize and end our podcast here. Right? So, hit the heart, the belly, and the mind. I’m going to remember that and maybe even sanity test it as I’m listening to pitches. But thank you so much, Donna, for being on the show here. Donna Griffit, ladies and gentlemen.
Donna Griffit 33:16
Thank you so much for having me. This was educational for me as well, so thank you.
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