Students spent Wednesday readying their presentations for investors at Mainsail Partners, building on everything they’ve learned during their time in the Silicon Valley Immersion class.

As our journey here in California slowly creeps towards the finish line, we must sum up all that we have learned into a simple 8-10 minute presentation for a few fantastic members of Mainsail Partners. We sit here today, looking at the data we gathered over the past week and ponder how in the world we are going to create such a short presentation with so much information.

Luckily, Anna Love-Michelson from Stoked, who’s helped us along our journey, came to our rescue. She explained that we have an obligation to inspire Mainsail Partners so they feel compelled to support us. We must design our presentations in a way that forces our audience to think with their hearts and then justify those feelings with their heads. We must pitch our solutions through storytelling, describing whom we met, what we discovered, and how we intend to help. We have been encouraged to act out our stories and even narrate skits; putting all of us in a position of discomfort as we try to impress our peers with the research information we found.

Through this discomfort we will create a feeling that is unforgettable to the audience. Translating our point of views into a story that allows each individual in the audience to relate to the tension that occurs within each of our problems; and once the tension reaches its apex; we will introduce our solution with a “BANG.”

It is astonishing to see how all of our unorganized sticky notes, our empathy maps and hypothesis testing really can create an incredible final product. We are watching all of our random interviews come to life as they find their own special niche in each of our presentations. As these interviews continue to evolve and a turn into organized solutions, we are becoming more aware that the “process” really works.

Even with the many frustrations along the way, the “process” isn’t crazy after all. Our bad habits have been broken and our eyes have been opened to a new and better way of starting a company. We are no longer the common entrepreneurs who jump immediately into the solution without fully investigating the problem. Our group is now a unique breed of entrepreneurs that are willing to take a step back and examine the problem before we jump the gun and create a running company. Today was the day that all of our hard work came together. Allowing us to be proud and confident as we pitch to Mainsail tomorrow morning.

 

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About The Author

Clark Gregor has more than a decade of business marketing, communication and public relations experience, primarily in higher education, with shorter stints in corporate public relations and the federal government. At the University of St. Thomas he manages communications at the Opus College of Business and edits the university blog for graduate business programs, Opus Magnum along with other marketing efforts.

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