Need An Elevator Pitch?

Stymied by the prospect of condensing your amazing idea, your raison d’etre, your invaluable services or the reason why someone should pay attention to you or your business into one compelling minute? Harvard Business School has the web app for you with the HBS Elevator Pitch Builder. Enter the app and get prompts for “who”, “what”, “why” and “goal.” In each section, you are given a number of words relevant to the section and designed to catalyze your point. There is also a “tip” link to help you if you find that you are still stuck. Because of my curious nature, I of course had to try this out. Under the “who”, I wrote:

I am a creative, original thinker, authoritative in my field and responsive to customer need.

The “what” boils down to your “tag line” – or, as the MBA’s put it, “your value phrased as key results or impact.” I wrote:

Effective decisions, deeper analysis and pointed research, brought to you in half the time.

The “why” asks for what differentiates you and makes you better. I had to think about this one for a little bit. Eventually, I wrote:

Having spent my entire career researching and writing, leveraging technology, and employing creative methods to improve productivity without sacrificing quality, I offer a unique combination of expertise and efficiency.

Then, I had to state my goals. Making more money than Bill Gates didn’t seem a realistic option and my intent was to come up with a useful elevator pitch, should I ever find myself in need of one. But I didn’t have an immediate goal in mind. So I simply wrote:

I am looking to step up to the next level.

O.k. I know. Not very impactful. And the HBS geniuses caught on – this is what they had to say.

Avoid jargon, business-speak or trendy buzz words. Your audience has set through all those boring meetings, has attended those seminars, has read those books. You want to be memorable and that means using your own voice.

The analysis gave me word count, number of repeated words and elapsed time. I still had about 45 seconds to work in my own voice. It gave me average stats, so I could compare. I could email or print my pitch, or edit the pitch to tighten it up.

A pretty cool little tool for making you think about the meaning of life. Thanks Harvard.


Stop! It's Gadget Time!


We are right at the start of CES, the consumer electronics show, where all the big and small manufacturers of tech toys trot out some of the stuff they are working on in order to get the tech press all excited. Being that this is a tech blog and that I do have a keen fondness for electronic whiz-bangs, I felt I should at least make a mention that the show is going on and point out a few of the cool things that have been unveiled thus far.

First up, my personal favorite non-Apple computer manufacturer: Lenovo. They have been very busy developing a couple of new tablets, a smartphone and, get this, an Android 4.0 Smart TV. How cool is that? It’s a whopper at 55 inches. The Idea┬áTab S2 10 10-inch tablet is very light and thin at 1.1 pounds and docks with a keyboard, making it look a bit like a MacBook Air.

My favorite camera manufacturer right now, Fuji, has an exciting new addition to its Finepix X- line – the X-Pro1, which apparently is mirrorless, but sports the same cool retro looks as the X-10 and X-100.

And the affordable tablet for kids, targeted at poorer communities around the world, is finally making its tangible debut. The OLPC XO 3.0 tablet will be $100. It’s rugged and can be charged with a hand crank or a solar panel. One minute of cranking gives you ten minutes of run time. I would love that on my iPad! But you won’t be able to buy one:┬áthe XO 3.0, like the XO laptops, won’t be sold directly to consumers or parents. OLPC will sell the tablets in bulk to countries who want to ensure their children have computers, and won’t produce units until orders come in.

Along the same green power lines is a solar powered Kindle cover called SolarKindle. Seems an obvious must have for beach reading. And, it even gives you a built in book light!

Many of these products are available now (in other countries) or coming soon, so hopefully the wait won’t be too long. And there is still more CES to go, so who knows what fun stuff is yet to be revealed. I’ll be watching for the shiny.