Presenting at TechStars Demo Day Boulder 2012
Last week was amazing. We completed the TechStars Boulder 2012 program, which culminated in Demo Day on Thursday. At Demo Day, each of the companies that's part of the TechStars class presents their pitch in front of several hundred investors and hundreds of community supporters.
We spent weeks working on our pitch; leading up to Demo Day, we honestly hated the process. We are in a crowded space and differentiating for the sake of differentiation just didn't sit well with us. We instinctively felt that we were different and our customers' sentiments echoed that we were on to something, but getting that to surface was excruciating painful and all of our attempts fell flat.
Every time we presented, we were met with the same question: how are we different from our biggest competitors? We knew we needed help, so we relied on TechStars awesome mentor network. We were lucky enough to spend some time with Jason Mendelson at High Plains Raceway, of all places, and picked his brain on how we could clearly articulate the vision we had for DigitalOcean. From that meeting, we knew that where we were failing was in how we were positioning ourselves.
With a renewed focus, we spent the next two weeks rewriting our entire pitch. By the end we ended up with around 10 different demo day pitches. While other companies were busy refining their pitch, we were rewriting ours from scratch.
Luckily it paid off! We went into Demo Day with a pitch that we just finished writing the Friday before. Ben nailed the pitch delivery and the audience loved our story. Nicole prompted us to be prepared to answer those same hard questions that we've heard the entire way through TechStars. But an amazing thing happened: by answering the biggest question that we had during the entire program, we effectively not only told the vision of DigitalOcean, but simultaneously answered the question that was on everyone's mind. The result was that every investor conversation that followed: not a single person asked us how we were going to differentiate from our competitors. Our pitch had already answered that.
Sometimes the things that we resist the most provide the largest value. What we thought was a useless exercise ended up clarifying our company vision and getting us even more excited about what we were creating.