Our Pitch Video Challenge ends October 25th but you've still got time to get your entry together and submit your video to our website. I thought I'd share some advice that could make the difference between a good pitch and a great one.
First off, while we're looking fot a great pitch video in general, keep in mind that this is a contest and we have a scoring system our judges will use to evaluate your video. Let's take a look at that system:
- Does the project have a clear target market or audience?
- Does the project address a clear need, problem, or opportunity and is the solution clearly explained? If it is a game, is the project’s concept and proposed gameplay understandable and appealing?
- Is the project’s purpose and basic functionality easily understood?
- Does the video capture the viewer’s attention?
- Does the viewer remain interested and engaged throughout the video?
- Does the team explain their planned next steps to get the project moving?
- Does the viewer finish the video wanting to know more, in a good way?
- Does the team reasonably explain their business model?
- Is it clear what core technologies the team will use and how they are relevant to the project?
- Does the team discuss and respond to their competition in the target market?
A successful pitch video will need to address all of the criteria above. If you have a rough draft of your video, consider asking a couple of friends or faculty to review it and give you a score based on the above criteria. That outside feedback could be very helpful.
I know there are a lot of criteria up there and it may seem overwhelming if you try to do all of them at once. The most important thing you should accomplish with your video is to answer these six questions:
- What's the concept?
- What's the opportunity or problem you're addressing?
- What core technologies will you use?
- What is your competition for this project?
- What is your business model?
- What are your next steps?
Get those right first. Then practice telling your story. Try doing one version where you make sure you hit all the criteria in the Concept section, then work on the Feasibility section, and by then you should also be doing pretty good on the Pitch Quality section.
Above all, show us who you are. Imagine Cup judges don't just look for great projects. They look for great teams. Show them your thinking but also show your passion for what you want to do and how you want to do it.
Need some more advice? Our Pitch Video Challenge page has a lot of links to great videos and articles, but here are three I picked out to get you started.
How to Test Your Idea
Take fifteen minutes and listen to this podcast
. The article with it covers a couple of the points but listen to the whole thing.
A lot of young developers fall in love with their ideas and never validate them before they get started. They think the code is the most important part and they figure the testing comes later, maybe at the alpha stage. But you don't need code to test your core ideas. You can do it in a conversation, or even with a mock-up made of paper sketches. The earlier you test your ideas with real people who might use your project someday, the better your ideas will become.
The Importance of Storytelling in Honing Your Pitch
This two-minute video is a great reminder that when making your pitch, you aren't just presenting data. You are telling a story that should produce an emotional response.
Can you find a way to personalize your pitch? Maybe you can relate your project to your personal life, or that of someone you know? Even if you just invent a hypothetical user -- often known as a persona -- you can frame your pitch by talking about that persona's experience before and after using your project.
How to Pitch to a Venture Capitalist
In this fifteen-minute TED Talk, David S. Rose has a lot of great experience to share about pitching your project. While you won't literally be pitching to a VC in this contest, it's great advice for your project and how you pitch.
Now It's Your Turn
Whew! Got enough to think about now? Then do this:
- Listen to that first podcast and test your ideas with possible users.
- Answer the six questions I gave you earlier.
- Watch the first video and come up with a way to add emotion and personality to your pitch.
- Watch the second video and review yoaur pitch plans.
- Record a rough draft of your pitch and test it against the judging criteria.
- Keep recording new versions of your pitch until you feel like you've got all the criteria covered.
- Upload your video by October 25th. Don't wait until the last minute in case something goes wrong!
See? That's not so bad. Now get started ― we can't wait to see what you come up with!
John Scott Tynes
Imagine Cup Competition Manager
Microsoft Academic Programs