Entrepreneurship: Demoing Your Idea


Then when I went to the LeapPad and this
idea that I created for teaching kids to read, the description I gave there
was I went out and met with pundits. I met with the head of Toys R Us,
was able to get a meeting. And said, here, we’re gonna create
this tool to help kids learn to read. And I described it, and
they said, it’ll never sell. So, you put that on a shelf,
parents will never understand it. Then I went to some other people,
technologists, I’ll leave names off, cuz they’re a bit of well-known names, and
they said to me, Jim, really cool demos. Really cool idea you have,
but make it work on a screen. Forget the paper. Kids don’t want paper. They want screens. And, bear in mind, this was in 98. And even then, they said,
you don’t want paper, it won’t sell. Well, we launched it and we sold $1
billion worth in five years, why? Because, first of all, getting it
launched was an issue in developing a demo that I could show to people
to engage them emotionally. And, big theme for me. Because when you’re trying to take
a new idea and a new vision and show people what it can be, you can
talk the technology until they’re blue. You can explain what it’ll do. You can hit the pain points of
the markets it’s going to change. But until you can put that in a demo, and you gotta figure out to do this
with little money, and rapidly. And give this to somebody so
there’s a visceral, emotional reaction. Because, as I would expect is taught here,
ultimately, investors invest in the person. And they invest in a rationalized version
of what they believe that comes from their emotions after they make a decision. And the key there is to find a way
to present somebody something so that they can connect with the value
this is gonna bring personally. When that happens the entire process of
both raising money and also the process of figuring out if you got it right or
not, really, really is amplified. Or, I guess you’ll have success there.

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