I was having breakfast this morning with Salil Deshpande from Bay Partners. Salil and I were talking about assessing company progress and how best to measure that progress. Salil invests in super early-stage deals and has his companies report to him on their progress on a frequent basis. He said that he had one CEO who would report on his progress in such florid language that eventually Salil had to forbid his use of adjectives in his progress reports. Salil said that he didn't want to hear that things were going great. He wanted to hear precisely how things were going.
I nearly jumped out of my seat. Salil had articulated one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to company pitches (and board meetings for that matter). I hate adjectives. I don't want to hear that one of the company founders is a "fantastic sales exec." I want to hear that she was Presidents Club the last twelve years running. I don't want to hear that the product is "revolutionary and paradigm-shifting." I want to hear about the specific features of the product that are differentiated and how. I don't want to hear that the company has "massive market traction." I want to see a graph of progressive quarterly sales and a giant sales pipeline.
Adjectives are not convincing. Facts are convincing. I may not agree with the conclusions a company draws from those facts. But I will at least be in a position to appropriately assess those conclusions. Whereas adjectives are all about conclusions without the underlying facts. As an entrepreneur, you are far better off having me determine that your market is "massive," your founders are "brilliant," and your product is "elegant," than to tell me that your company has "an elegant solution serving a massive market designed by brilliant founders." So reread your pitch and remove all of the adjectives. It will go massively, monumentally, gargantuanly. colossally better that way.