The current entrepreneurial paradox in Hungary is the following: we have a bunch of people, who don't like getting integrated into slow, overregulated, bureaucratic processes. These people get bored easily, and their mind will wander around after five minutes in a monotonic environment. These people include us, the team of Cogito as well. We are the curious, truth-seekers, the optimizers, the dreamers, the young and the restless. We just can't sit around and do things the same way as they were done before. So a set of people with the above attributes is given, and these people at some point in their life will start their venture, their businesses. In Hungary however, other people realized these people are a business opportunity too. So they came up with courses, workshops, coaching and all sorts of things. To teach the rules of business, to people who hate following rules and are generally bad at following them.
I don't want to get mistaken, rules 90% of the time are there for a reason, they help you understand the web of society and its intricate rules and norms, so you can behave like a decent human being in society, which is just fine. Now some people have no problem with the 10% that's left but for us entrepreneurs that 10% feels like everything that is bad in this world. The overregulation, the "just because" rules, to non-sense bureaucratic procedures, that's what I mean by that 10%. These legal frameworks aren't the same however as the ones in business. Business, and most importantly success in business, is an everchanging, shapeless god, that most people try to pursue their whole life. The problem arises when a set of people use their "authority" such as being a marketing expert and claim they hold the keys to success. The problem is, that their experiences in their business, will be very different than the ones you'll need in your business. Again, don't take it the wrong way, there are things that are applicable, but these experts overstep those boundaries way too often.
One good example of this is preparing your pitch deck, and then the act of pitching. After a while, everybody in this country just seems like a pitching coach, expert, guru, and evangelist. Everyone seems to know the key ingredients to a powerful pitch. Even though they themselves most of the time never delivered any pitch. They'll tell you that you need these 12 slides, some others will tell you you only need 6, or 10. You'll be informed that your pitch cannot be more than 3 minutes, that including your market size is necessary, than someone else will tell you it's not necessary, and the process goes on and on forever. I don't mean to have a chip on my shoulder for this, but I think we've done enough pitching for a lifetime, and the amount of bad, horrible even fatal advice is above 90% of everything that was said. Because soon you'll realize that the audience isn't even listening, even you delivered a killer pitch. We've been pitching with 11 other startups at a large event once, during the 36 minutes in total for the pitches, the word: "blockchain" was never mentioned. Once we got awarded a high profile politician approached us and asked us one thing for clarification: "How does our platform include blockchain exactly?"
I didn't know whether to laugh or just leave the scene of the crime. We in this country hold ourselves to the things we feel so comfortable with (the art of pitching) because we're so afraid and inexperienced in everything else in business (international scaling, branding, marketing). This is why pitching and its culture is overtaught in this environment, this is all we currently have. I'd personally advise every single newcomer to the startup business, not to waste too much time with pitching, because it's easy to get comfortable with it, but you'll waste time, that you'd need to put into finding your business identity and so much more things, that are a lot more important, than having 6 or 12 slides in your pitch deck. For god's sake, you want to be the breaker of chains, someone who rewrites the rules, who turns the tables, not the one following orders from corporate experts. So dare to say no thank you, dare to step out of line once again, and trust me, you might have some people talking behind your startup, but you'll have a much easier time as a business. You have to make the distinction at some point because startups will pitch forever, while businesses will make the profits. Which one do you want? See you next time!
The team of Cogito is developing an all-collaborative community-based note sharing platform, where university students together can create reliable databases for their exams. By everyone sharing their amount of knowledge, the requirements can be cleared up and the frustration of getting the best, up-to-date materials is diminished. Follow our blog every week, and don't forget to like our Facebook page too.