Friday, 12 February 2010

Worst pitch meetings ever

OK, just a quick post after laughingly talking through The Past with an old mate... I've been to some terrible pitch meetings, through no fault of my own usually (but not always). Here's the worst.

This meeting was for interweb cartoons, raising money for a new business angle making cartoons online. And it was way back in 1999, the height of the first internet bubble. Some background: we'd done what seemed like hundreds of these meetings and were very bored with them, as everyone talked a good game but no money or commitment ever came out of the hours of presenting (and Powerpoint, and spreadsheets and forecasts and business plans etc etc)

All these people wanted were stupid huge growth forecasts but always, ALWAYS in different areas we simply had no way of getting into. And almsot everyone we pitched to was a twunt - in Shoreditch, in lofts, stupid haircuts and silly shoes.

So this meeting was the third of the day, at some Swedish 'incubator' company who started off new businesses. We'd had a few pints and decided to play a game to relieve the boredom, of trying to insert phrases into our various (well polished) speeches. I had to say 'owning the growth staircase'. My mate had to say 'sit dot com'. Our business blokey had to say 'brussel sprout'. And the senior guy who was helping us do all this had to say something even odder, like 'Heberekie's Puppoon' (a Japanese game on the PC Engine, Obscure Word Fans)

Needless to say we were quite drunk. The winner got his drinks bought all night afterwards.

We went into this triple height warehouse thing, and met three very nice Scandinavian men and sat in a semi-glazed cube in the centre of an open plan office. On two of the walls, the ceiling and the floor, there was bright green astroturf. We sat around the amusingly sixties-retro table and one of the nice men said, in his lilting Swedish accent, "you can see we're an incubator?". We went 'huh?'. He said "look, our walls are covered in grass, they're green, we're incubating you, yes?".

This was apparently a joke.

We went "huh?" again.

My mate simply yelled "BRUSSEL SPROUT".

They looked confused.

A couple of our team started to argue it wasn't fair just to shout out the words, they had to be integrated.

The Swedes looked on.

I said to stop talking now, we need to get onto the business of owning the growth staircase in internet animation. Or cyboons, as we'd called them, CYBer cartOONS.

They liked CYBOONS. But all these idiots did, so that wasn't a surprise.

They then said the internet wasn't what they were focused on right now.

We said 'huh?' again. My senior guy said "why are we here then?"

And then the smallest little Swede said they wanted to know our mobile phone strategy.

We said nothing.

Remember, it's 1999. Phones had little monochrome screens. That one out of the Matrix was just out, which had that nasty WAP internet slow access stuff, but it was pathetic and useless. Even now, cartoons on mobiles aren't exactly mainstream, but back then it was plain odd to think about it.

I started to waffle about, well, technology has to develop a little, that once colour screens came in we'd look at it, and-

Then I simply gave up. Our senior guy said we didn't have a mobile strategy really, we wanted money to make cartoons for the internet, and if they weren't interested we could go to our next meeting at Hebereckie's Puppoon dot com.

And off we went to the pub. I seem to remember buying the booze all night.

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