My Content First Policy

man in suit jacket standing beside projector screen

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our presentation. It gives me a great honour to introduce to you today the product that is about to change your lives. This product, ladies and gentlemen, has the potential to make your life 1000x better, while also being awesome!”

There I was, sitting watching various groups give a sales pitch to judges who, if the right circumstances arose, were willing to invest serious money in these various ventures. I was taking part in a Start-up Weekend, where budding entrepreneurs strive to set up a business or service in the space of a weekend.

Our group had settled on a monthly subscription service for regional dishes throughout Japan, with the caveat being you didn’t know what was coming each month, a simple service in concept, but difficult to implement if I’m being honest.

As the only group with non-native Japanese speakers, we had the added challenge of selling the product in our second language. We had predicted this predicament, so we made sure to leave ample time to get practice in for our pitch. We were effectively forced to focus on the important parts, and that’s what we did. We only stumbled a little bit when we were asked tricky questions that were mainly about the implementation.

Most other groups, on the other hand, spent more time perfecting their products, and less time worrying about how they were going to express them. During their pitches, there was a lot of beating around the bush and not actually talking about the product and its features. I remember thinking that they should just get to the point. Their pitches came off as them being very nervous, and not showing confidence in their products, even though some of them were quite good indeed.

In the end it turned out our group had come in second, something I put a lot down to putting in the time to practice our presentation.

I learned that sometimes not being able to talk as fluently as you like can be an advantage, as it puts you in a position where you are not the smartest person in the room. It's also another reason why I tend to be quiet when I have nothing to add to the conversation, a content first policy.

You would think that being fluent in a language would always put you at an advantage over those who are not, however I have found that this is not always the case.



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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan

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