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The presentation cheat sheet – Three – The Problem Statement

The presentation that I am most proud of however is the one that we made together as a team for the first MIT BAP competition in Karachi. The judges panel included Ken Morse, Bill Aulet and Imran Saeed, all three from MIT E-Labs. Despite earlier failed attempts to impress Ken, this time we managed to get two t-shirts and a runners up prize out of him.

Now you need to remember the context. The year is 2007. We are all of 5 years old. It’s been two years since the launch of our first product. We have done reasonably well. The product so far has been selling itself and we really haven’t had a need to create a pitch. This is our first effort and involves and consumes literally all of us over the five day period.

We have three problems. How to explain Basel II and all that we do for our customers in the first minute (for the record the Basel II doc is a 300 page prescription for sleep). How to address the credibility factor (can a company in Pakistan really do this sort of stuff?) and then show the growth potential (the wow factor).

What do we do? We simplify the problem to the emotional and financial pain involved in getting central bank reporting wrong for a banker. We clearly state that the regulatory reporting problem is based on a common framework across the world and if you solve it for one country, you can easily replicate it for others. And we fix the credibility issue by sharing the names of our customers and the increase in our price points with every single sale. We then show why how and what we do is different from what our competition is doing right now.

We wrap up by showing how far we have come in less than two years and I think that wraps it up. The growth shows that the model is working and is scalable. The value and back story confirms that there is money to be made in scaling it. The images and picture reinforce the scoring and judging sheet.

Game, Set and Match.

The real reason why I am so proud of this pitch is that after three years we finally got out problem statement right. And we did it by not describing the 300 page Basel II document but by connecting emotionally with our customer’s pain and clearly putting a value statement around removing that pain. If you could figure out a way to do that for your plan within the first 100 seconds of your pitch you are well on your way to the right score.




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