I get deal pitches daily. I want all of you to understand the code words that IMHO are sure fire signs that the entrepreneur has no idea what they are doing and is destined to fail. This is from an email today, redacted of course to protect the guilty. My interpretation of the letter is in bold.
My name is John Doe, CEO and Founder of John Doe Unlimited Innovations and Technology, LLC. JDUIT is an innovation conglomerate, designed for many different industries and is dedicated to improve the quality of life for individuals throughout the world, one step at a time.
The first thing I do at this point is look at the senders email address. Is it an email with the company name in the URL ? If it isnt.. ding, ding, ding. They sender has come up with a name, but doesn’t have the focus or confidence to put up a website. This person was using a gmail account. Next my #FailDar was ringing louder than Larry Kudlow talking nonsense on CNBC about green shoots when I read the “designed for different industries and is dedicated to improve the quality of life of individuals throughout the world, one step at a time” Im sorry, but could anyone possibly invent and write anything that is more full of shit than this person ? That has to go down in business letter history as one of the all time worse lines. If you want to get someone interested in your company, DO NOT tell them you are going to save the world. You are not. No one will believe you will. Save that nonsense for your grandma when you are trying to make her proud of you.
First, I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to overlook a great opportunity we have for the near future. As you may know, with the steady progression of time, there are rapid advancements in technology and trends through innovation. We have devised a revolutionary and lucrative idea that will produce much success to all parties involved. We have created a plan with four separate projects that together ensure short- and long-term success. We have adopted a cutting-edge engineer consulting alliance to bridge our vision and planning with technical expertise. In addition, Famous Person is our President and Co-Founder.
Quite a few words to say absolutely nothing. But here is the more important point. Ready ? If you have someone who is famous, which suggests they are wealthy, or who actually is known to be wealthy, involved in your company and you are pimping that person in order to increase my interest, I will tell you what goes through my head: If this is such a great fricking idea, why aren’t they funding the entire thing. If you were able to buy dollars for 50 cents, would you go out and get outside investors, or would you keep this sure thing to yourself and your famous friend ? You would keep it. The fact that your famous friend doesn’t think enough of the idea to keep it all to you and him/her tells me I should be very, very careful.
We have designed a perfect plan that fits the standards of the 21st century; advanced and revolutionary ideas, solutions, and projects though innovation. We have acquired an excellent project support team, complete with scientists and engineers as well as an extensive list of connections. We are seeking to add our only missing piece, an investor(s), to become a partial owner. We are seeking investment for the first of our four project. Through thorough research, our scientists are confident in their ability to create and perfect a novel, consumer-friendly “Kick Ass System” based on proven Kick Ass physics. We ask that you consider this opportunity, as we are confident you will find it to be revolutionary and profitable.
Once again, did this person actually say anything ? No. Reminds me of a line from a DMX song… “talk all day and say nothing”. At this point I am reading this email and actually smiling, thinking it must be a joke. That someone sent me this because it won a literary prize for the worst introduction letter of all time.
Attached is a copy of our executive summary. If you could be so kind as to take a moment of you time to overlook it, I am positive you will be as enthusiastic as I am for an opportunity like this. I look forward to speaking with you soon and the possibility of a working relationship. Once again, thank you for your time and consideration. Have a wonderful day. God bless.
The above is acceptable. At least they are polite.
Im not going to show the entire executive summary. I dont want to give away the company, but I will share some lowlights
In our plan, we bridge together technical expertise and vision to jump-start the next generation of living. The JDUIT Plan will be the key part of a stable, invigorated economy by providing secure jobs and generating great wealth
Anyone for jumpstarting the next generation of living. ? Does the person who wrote it, seriously believe it ?
II. The Mission
JDUIT intends to ignite the next generation of living, providing groundbreaking solutions to current economic issues, while continuing to encourage people to grow with everexpanding innovations. It is a lifestyle. We will not only make life easier, but dramatically improve the quality of living by helping people rethink their lifestyle choices. We do not merely seek to expand our business volume, but we are dedicated to the use of our unique, advanced technologies to contribute to the safety, benefits, and welfare of people worldwide. Our success is directly linked to the prosperity of our customers, management, employees, investors, partners, advisors, and shareholders; the
entire JDUIT family
Now if this isn’t a mission statement that makes you want to get out your checkbook, I don’t know what is.
Thats about as much as I can post without giving the company identity away. I’m not saying this company can not be successful. I don’t think they can, but I have been wrong before. But one thing I know for certain, their pitch to me is one of the worst , if not the very worst I have ever received and I can not take it or the company seriously.
If you are an entrepreneur who is looking for capital and is sending letters or emails of introduction, leave out the Bullshit. Say who you are. What you have. What makes it different than the competition. What you want to accomplish. How you plan on getting there and how I can help. Everything else will usually hurt more than it will help
70 thoughts on “Success & Motivation: What Entrepreneurs Should NOT Do”
Dear Mr. Cubin:
Except for your comments on the opening of your blog I would have written, “I have an idea that will make us both rich”, but you may consider that a bit too much so let me say most of my life I have been a person who see problems and solutions but lack the technical knowhow or ambition to follow up.
About me: I will soon be 80-year-old, live (almost) on Social Security. Most of my life has been spent in the newspaper business from starting in the late 1930s delivering the Borger News Herald in Borger, Texas. In college my photographic ability allowed me to do a lot of freelance photography and eventually land a job as a reporter (not journalist — one who intreperets the news while a reporter reports the news as it occured without intreperation) in Dodge City, Kansas, after playing soldier two years. From there my career provided me the opportunity to own several small weekly newspapers and start a shopper (free publication of ads only in Northwest Oklahoma City–which an executive at seminar on advertising said the main competition to the Daily Oklahoman was the North-Star Advertiser, my publication. I saw a need a filled it) For reasons no necessary to this epistle (allowing other to make decisions for me) I went back to work for others until being retired (not by my choice).
IF you are still with me, my time is now spent playing duplicate bridge, two days a week and going to a fitness center (paid for my Aetna Medicare Advantage HMO). This leaves me much time to surf the Internet with the possibility of finding information to help me develop a concept to help cut the need for massive petrolium products for automobiles and reduce polution. (Yes, I know there are electric cars and hybrids, but they are limited in speed and distancw between charging and expensive). Two websites provided me with a metal picture of hours and hours of continous driving and highway speeds up to 65 or 70 mph by replacing the current GASOLINE POWERED MOTOR in older cars with electric motor power. What I need is someone with the business skills to take my idea, study what I believe to be a workable solution, and put it in two or three vehicles which would (with permission) drive laps for 8-10-12 hours around the Texas Motor Speedway track (with stops to change drivers) to prove the concept works.
All I ask is a token sum to allow me to at least be debt free in my declining years and have a reasonable royalty income which would be left to a mission church which my wife and I attend Sundays. If you are any of your friends who may have a few dollars to invest and know a excellent automotive mechanic whose specialty would be drive train, an electrical engineer with vast knowledge of electric motors and a CEO (being a small start up business there would be no need yet for a CFO) plus funding, let me know to whom I should get in contact. I have not pattened this concept or regisered for it is my believe and always has been that my luck has been to deal with only honest people (even if in two deals that did not happen because my inaction stopped it, however one man who cheated me was indicted by the U.S. Government within a month after I supplied the FBI with more than 100 pages detailng the deal, phone conservations etc. He died during plea bargaining and my money was never recovered).
Comment by philophool -
I guess I knew everything you were saying, but I had “followed the herds” as some would say. Maybe my MBA got in the way 🙂 So I revisited my Executive summary and with this new mindset (based on old) I asked myself, “If I were investing, how would I read this?” and I had to redo the entire thing.
I put a very concise and to the point explanation of what we are doing, right on top, before you get to anything else in the document. Then I prepared a Q&A style document with tough defining questions that a smart investor would ask me about the company and the service it is providing. And I worked on answers.
It was tough, but I have to say, I am more confident about the project and definitely more knowledgeable to be able to outline the advantages. Thank you for that eye opening and to the point few paragraphs, it helped me a lot.
Comment by kesabsy -
From Carolyn Moos 6’5” USA BB, B.A. Stanford, M.A. USC ACE Certified Personal Trainer, yoga instructor nutrition consultant.
RE: Emerging technologies as platform to hold people accountable to their lifestyle choices on a DAILY basis!!!
Prevention is THE WAY of the future- forget our treatment based health-care system- that OBVIOUSLY has not worked well for us on a whole. COSTLY lifestyle related diseases are hurting individuals, companies and our entire health-care budget. This needs to change NOW. Exercise, Nutrition, sleeping patterns and overall lifestyle choices affect your health now and in the future. Also Nutrigenomics (linking family history to the increased importance of focusing on nutrition, wellness to have your most ideal control of genetic expression is a must for all from elite athletes to type II diabetics. Want more VISIT: http://www.fitt4life.org
Talk soon ~ Carolyn Moos your online fitness and nutrition expert.
Comment by nylorac53 -
Thank you for your time as well.. time for writing this whole article and sharing w/ everyone.. Thanks!
Entrepreneurs World Cup
Comment by aimraje -
I just want some of your money to go on a 4 week vacation. I don’t give a rats ass if you give a shit about me or would like to see me poke my eye out with a buick. Should take about 4 grand. Let me know.
Comment by mediamalpractice -
My name is Phil Pelt.
I have a new web site where you can broadcast “live” audio over the Internet: http://www.talkjockeys.com. The product I have developed is the streaming audio software. This is something I think you might have some knowledge about.
The difference I believe my service has from the competition is the very low cost to provide the live streaming service. Current providers charge about $5.00/GB data transfer, my cost is about $0.22/GB data transfer.
I would first like to promote the web site and get a few 100 people broadcasting. There will be a charge to each broadcaster $2.00/GB data transfer, which is about 100 concurrent listeners per hour. My cost would be $0.22 netting $1.78. Once stable and with accumulated revenue I would invest in my own network and servers eliminating the cost to external parties. The real goal would be to contract with the Professional/College sports networks and radio stations.
You can help me with your knowledge, business experience and contacts. In order for me to do what I want to do, I would need a small amount of capital and would be willing to partner with someone that had the ability to help me make this work.
I would like to talk or meet with you if you see any potential.
Thank you for your time.
Comment by philpelt -
Pretty good —
You must get some really amazing ones
I got one once for a company who wanted to create an OS and office app to go head to head vs. Microsoft but to do it with not just software but hardware too AND wanted the hardware to be all green machines AND wanted to simultaneously launch in Asia, Latin Am and Africa- about 50% of the business plan was to save the world by giving away these free green machines in the third world
Amazingly, they got funding – they lasted about 6 months before it was gone
Comment by brucefenton -
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Hey Mark- Straightforward, how the hell does someone get their idea to you? I have an idea combining Ecom with entertainment and social functionalities powered by UGC. I have been bootstrapping so far, but reday for the next steps of funding, scaling, team, execution, advice…etc. Just so you know, I am not your typical startup guy, No NBA, Not under 35 and I Don’t carry a messenger bag. I have real business experience (signed checks from my own account), have failed a few times but I have always gotten up stronger. I think I am up to something interesting and would love a chance to share the idea for whatever the response may be.
Comment by pars14 -
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A friend of mine was doing his MBA program and he had to review 1st year pitches. Most were mediocre at best, 4 out of 40 were actually half decent, but for sheer awfulness this one took the cake.
This idea is a fresh, innovative approach to the selling process
within a relationship based, B2B, complex selling environment. It would
be presented in the context of selling Technology Products/Services.
The discussion would break down simple barriers to existing norms and
habits that exist by comparing the sales process to the implmentation
of an IT project and presenting the ideas to technologists and
technology company owners/VP’s & Sales force in a way that they can
understand and comprehend. It serves as an “A-Ha” or “Light Bulb”
moment. Creating a selling organization is the biggest hurdle to many
technology companies whether start-up or established. The presentation
of the ideas and concepts in a context they can understand is an
innovative step forward to enable the success of these companies. I
have informally done this whiteboard discussion with a few technology
company leaders and it has been received very well. It also has been
received well by Prof’s in Graduate School at -school redacted-. The
discussion can fit into the time frame for the presentation is a
natural for the visual aspects of a “whiteboard discussion”. This
opportunity would be a validation step for me in creating my own
company hence the Entrepreneur-to-be designation. Thank you for your consideration…//
A year on and I still have no idea what was being pitched, if anything at all.
Comment by alecpappas -
What I love is the lack of proper English usage. This person keeps asking you to “overlook” their proposal, but to overlook means to miss, not notice, forget about, or ignore something. He/she is actually asking you to pay zero attention to what he has to offer.
Comment by gallaure -
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Mark – here in Silicon Valley, wealthy investors rarely take the whole round themselves. VCs yes, angels no.
Comment by tikitonga -
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My Wife and I would like you to look at our business proposal. It is available for all to see on WordPress – search for ‘the Mutt Puddle’. Also, it has been posted on Dave Leet’s Blog on LinkedIn. You can check out Dave’s LinkedIn profile under ‘David Leet’.
Our business ‘the Mutt Puddle’ is located in McKinney, TX. It has been open for about 2 1/2 years. We are looking for funding to expand and develop franchise. We hope to hear back from you with your comments. Please stop by our shop anytime to see what we are so excited about.
Dave and Debra Leet
Comment by daveleet -
Why anyone thinks that sending a business proposal to someone you don’t know and expecting a reply at all is beyond me. I’ve never heard of a VC ever responding to such a proposal. It is all based upon who you know, and what kind of introduction you can get.
Comment by sdwarwick -
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I can’t say I qualify as one of the suck-ups who populate this page who think Mark Cuban always walks on water. But I do appreciate the tremendous amount of time he put into this piece, and the wisdom it reflects.
It’s an important lesson in business writing in general for all young people. Many kids now think “the more words the better”, or “the more wordy I am the smarter people will think I am.”
Mark nails it with this one.
Comment by richgimmel -
Really? Because someone sends an email from a Gmail account does not mean they don’t “have the focus or confidence to put up a website.” It means they want their email delivered consistently and without headache. This is an arbitrary hoop that has nothing to do with how people do business. A lot of brilliant professionals use Gmail and don’t want to have to worry about this server or that dns entry to forward email properly to make sure they get a reply. KTHXBYE!
Comment by theedwardmiller -
Here ya go, Mark… check out http://www.ambishade.com
That site contains everything you need to know, about my current project, without using too many words…lots of pics too.
Check it out and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Comment by ambishade -
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I completely agree. The funny thing is I am an Entrepreneur and never make these mistakes yet I still struggle to find funding. I’ve created great products and excellent business models but seem locked out of the funding community. So what’s the answer to that?
Comment by 2commas -
Its easy to make fun of this guy. This type of writing drives me nuts as well. However, in my opinion, you should just tell it like it is — you are making fun of this guy instead of giving advice.
This guy was SO far away from closing the deal that his example is not a good teaching vehicle. Show the example of the guy that got one or two things wrong and blew it. That would be useful. But this?
Comment by scott365 -
Ha, ha…. “Enterprise”? “Solutions”? Sounds like consultant speak to me.
Comment by WikiCity -
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I am new at all this twittering & blogging stuff but based on the education all my young employees (many of which are IU grads) are sharing with me I have come to realize the potential these tools have to help to further build our service offerings. I am not a “pitch man” and consistanly field calls from private investment groups looking for a way into our indusrty. We are NOT in need of a cash infusion (we are a healthy young company) but I do have many ideas/concepts that I could use some feedback on from someone with your knowledge & background. I would love to share with you in detail who we are, what we do & where we are looking to go but not via a blog. I know you get a million inquiries for financial assistance & advice on a daily basis but I can assure you that if given the opportunity to talk there could potentially be a very unique entrepreneural opportunity created. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I look forward to any collaborative opportunity that may exist.
Comment by greeben -
Read this over on FB and got inspired. It seems I missed out on the open source stimulus funding experiment, but it looks like it’s working for you and the fistfull of entrepreneurs you’re dealing with. It also seems like you’re continuing the effort based on the last related post (unless you got bored with it by now). Maybe you could revisit it and provide an update for us…
Meanwhile, how do I submit an idea to you? I can provide an abstract here, and am willing to fill in the blanks should this pique your interest. If you feel the urge to lambast me, feel free to do so. Please understand I won’t be offended. I’ll simply keep at it until I prevail, with or without your support.
Also, please note that I do not currently have a business email. I use hotmail. It’s practical and doesn’t have the limitations a private IP would create. That does not indicate whether I have confidence or believe in my idea – I do.
OK…so here’s the abstract. I apologize if it doesn’t follow the “rules”, therefore in all fairness it does not qualify for your open source gig. However, I’d hate to have to pass on the chance to share it with you. If I hear from you, great! If I don’t I’ll be disappointed and will goto the next level. I just want to open a door.
I am a simple, straightforward guy from the Midwest. I also have a fertile, creative mind with a host of ideas. Ultimately I’d like to bring these ideas to market…I call it “Ideas to Enterprise” ( i2e ). Nestled in this bunch of ideas is a golden nugget – the one idea that will make them all possible – this is the focus of my effort, and of this abstract.
I’m coming to you because you are a “new media” hound and understand the value of entertainment in our economy. Professional athletics is one venue, cable and online streaming production is another. Some think the entertainment sectors are overvalued for the customers they serve – especially the compensation of the “talent” involved, but they are paid and the revenue proves what the market will bear. Ask yourself, how many business deals are conceived on the golf course, over dinner at a restaurant, in the sky box at a Mav’s game (do you have sky boxes)? You know the answer – you’ve been there! Entertainment venues are at the heart of commerce in one way, shape or form. Is it not reasonable to assume that success in entertainment occurs when there is a product void, mediocrity in current offerings or restlessness in the audience and a fresh, new idea emerges to pique the public interest? Merchandising is sure to follow, thereby sustaining economic stimulus.
My idea is to partner with several credible resources to create and produce a host of cable television and/or new media production shows that revolve around lifestyle and educational programming – the audience will live it, learn it and be entertained. The “shows” are formatted in a familiar way, so the audience will be comfortable and engaged right from the initial pilot episode. The formulae are tried and true. What differentiates these shows from any currently in production is the central subject matter and themes. There are none like these. This opportunity is not just about the beginnings – from where it starts – as much as it is about what it becomes once it has arrived – what does it morph into? This group of production shows has the power and the potential to influence network programming choices just as shows like “Trading Spaces”, “Extreme Makeover” (Ty Pennington from Trading Spaces), “American Idol”, “Survivor”, and “Dancing with the Stars” have changed the shows America watches…and have also influenced related merchandising and multi-media product expansion. And they are not by any means “copy cat”, “me too” productions. But, as with any product, idea or enterprise, there is a finite window of opportunity. Those who recognize the worth and take action ahead of the pack (the innovators) will own the market. Those who follow and choose to imitate (the adapters) may get their foot in the door, and if by some odd chance the innovators let down their guard, the adapters could erode and claim market share – even dominance. Our awareness will not allow this. Market signals say the time is right – and is right now! Simply, “he who hesitates is lost” or, in poker terms, “think long / think wrong”.
Ultimately, the success of this venture rests not only with the quality of the content, its relevance to the audience or the sponsorships that will drive revenues. Success depends upon the organization’s ability to roll-out and launch in rapid-fire succession a whole venue of shows, each unique enough to stand alone and compete against the other shows of this genre, sold separately to competing networks in head-to-head competition, fully sponsored prior to production, or packaged collectively and brought together in a new network venture (the “morph”). The organization must be poised to respond to the commitment of the stakeholders, the reception of the audience and the momentum of the launch, which must be strong and swift, ready to roll with the next-gen before the dust can settle on the original “production”.
WHAT DO I NEED FROM YOU?
So, what do I need from you? First interest, then commitment, then capital. I have scalable production resources and “show runners” lined up. I have schemed how to manage this and what kind of “talent” is necessary and available to pull it together and make it work…and not just “work” but set the standard for this type of programming. I know the road to merchandising and revenue beyond the show. I am looking for a reliable partner first and foremost, who is willing to give just as much as they’re willing to take. It could be you.
SUCCESS BEGATS SUCCESS…
The success of this partnership is only the beginning of ( i2e ). With my earnings from this initial venture, I will fund “ideas to enterprise”. Media, retail and environmental ideas abound, and much more, each venture unique. The launch of a half dozen enterprises – some private, some franchised, some eventually public – is the beginning of the dream, the formation of the vision. The vision is to create business opportunity, “secure” jobs, livelihoods and a quality of life, and promote prosperity for those who participate and benefit from their involvement; the mission to be defined. But I’m way ahead of myself…first the show.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?
What haven’t I told you? Well, there’s a lot of details that aren’t out in the open. They’re dynamic and continue to evolve with market research, as interest is expressed and resources are aligned. Oh yea, there’s the secret ingredient – not so secret and absolutely quite simple. You’ll go, “What a freakin’ great idea!” But, if you’re not impressed enough to participate, your loss, or at least nothing can be gained unless something has been ventured. I’d like to share the depth and breadth of this opportunity with you – can’t imagine a better partner for the flagship product. But if necessary, I’ll find one. Be my benefactor. Add to your wealth. Promote your legacy. Help me to translate my dream into reality.
Thanks for taking the time to read. I’d love to hear from you.
Comment by gregdrozd -
I get better email pitches from Nigerian bankers than that email you got from JDUIT.
Comment by ambishade -
I’m going to boil down a great deal of what Marc said into: “Don’t flaggelate yourself to buzz-words.”
How does that sound?
Comment by mbilinsky -
How could u get through that letter without pulling out your eyeballs?
Comment by kidfried -
Gmail can even alias your existing web addresses with a five-minute setup procedure (not rocket science). I use it for the in/out of my day-job, business and social site email, all funneling to one gmail account.
So yeah, I’d argue that makes Mark’s case for it even more valid- clearly it’s a pretty good sign that you haven’t invested in the time (or money) behind your idea.
Comment by chrisyoura -
Mark this is great, I’m surprised frankly that you take the time to read email pitches, especially ones like this!
Question for you though. Is using a Gmail account really that much of a red flag? I agree that coming from an @offical.com email address is more professional, however I’ve got several businesses I’m involved in and tend to funnel them into my personal Gmail account, not that I don’t have websites setup etc. but Gmail makes it so easy to manage all of the email I get because I can get it on any computer anywhere on the planet including my Crackberry.
That instant disqualifier seems a little old school (no offense intended).
Comment by uwskiguy -
Along the line that Mark describes, I think it’s important for businesses (software, web, design, etc) to be equally aware of taking on clients who can not accurately describe their business model or have one that seeks to provide “solutions” (my least favorite word, ever).
They are either going to be looking to you for guidance they aren’t paying for, or will slowly suck the life out of you when they twist and turn in the wind of indecision.
Rule of thumb: Do not let them in the door if you can’t describe it to someone else in under 30 seconds. It’s not worth it.
Comment by chrisyoura -
When you start screwing up your record you do not have much chance in this society. Every decent job is now asking for a criminal records check?
Why do I think it will be a different outcome when I drink that stuff?
Addictions are tough and beating them is the challenge.
I walk into Alberta Dropin and see all the poor folks and I am praying I do not get in that scenario. Now they are scanning prints just to get in the doors.
I am kind of on a poor me song that I want to end.
Comment by wildwhitewoody -
You’re great for contributing your time and effort to the masses, even if you do chalk it up to “just ranting”. If you’re open to suggestions, I’d like to see some advice on what to do if you have a great idea (in my specific case, a website) but just can’t the word out (you’ve done the textbook crap; SEO, viral mailings, et al). But the business isn’t coming.
Comment by captshady -
The biggest question I have is, how did this person get your email address? I think it would be a blast to pitch you. Shoot me a DM, @MikeLangford, and I’ll send you a one page pitch for @Tweetworks.
Comment by Mike Langford -
For the comment left at 11:40am, we follow him because he is funny and always has something interesting to say at the same time. I dont post anything to expect crap from anyone so get your facts right before you come out with figures and percents. I comment because the person who wrote the letter to him was a moron in my opinion.
I repost on my other accounts so other people can see how rude it is to ask a person they do not know for money. And again because the blog is funny. I dont even know who Mark is, I just read up on him a few days ago because I started watching Brian Cubans Revolutionary rant and wanted to know more about Brian. So again, get your facts together. I saw Marks post, read it and commented, nothing more.
Like hell if I would ever want to get back into the work force again, been there done that retired and wont go back. I think you only wish you could be as good as Mark and there for made a stupid ass post. And now that I have spoken, good day to you sir.
Comment by blueprey21 -
I was going to “overlook” this plan, but I see that Philip Sorensen already did.
Comment by mitdgreenb -
Hilarity! You must get a LOT of these…
Another excellent post, thanks.
Great point on the “famous person” not going all-in, hadn’t thought of that.
Other points of annoyance:
– anytime someone says “21st century” in a pitch
– so much focus on the “generating great wealth”, “revolutionary AND lucrative!” [my emphasis added], etc.
– misspellings and poor grammar on things like this (e.g., resumes, cover letters, etc.) #FAIL
– leave god out of it. They may as well have written Hare Krishna at the closing.
This had all the character and discontinuity of a Nigerian email scam. Now if only it had been addressed to you in ALL CAPS!
Comment by rickcochrane -
So glad you mentioned the gmail. I don’t take anyone serious that does business with a gmail addy, and refuse to send any piece of intellectual property to a gmail address. You get what you pay for.
Comment by exit1200 -
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I am just shocked that you opened the attached Executive Summary. Glad you did though. Made for an excellent post.
Comment by anvilmike -
Overlooked was classic!
Overlook (pass on) a great opportunity we have for the near future.
It should be look over!
Comment by nicholaspr -
This reads like a bushleague “fishing” email from Nigeria, written by someone who learned English as a second or even third language.
“…taking time out of your busy schedule to ?OVERLOOK? a great opportunity…with the steady progression of time…that will produce much success to all parties involved…”
Wow, good post Mark, I’m blown away!
Comment by mcarney7 -
Unfortunately, 99% of you need not flatter yourselves and simply repost something where you offer no original input on the topic yourselves. Nobody is going to ask YOU for investment capital, so come up with an original topic and stop reposting it to impress Mark. It’s not as if you’re going to get bonus points or that he’s going to check and see who reposts the majority of his posts on Twitter. If you want to be one of the fraction of 1% like Mark Cuban, stop doing what the rest of the 99+% of his followers are doing.
Comment by justinbartz -
Aside from the massive amounts of BS in that pitch, isn’t it way too long and verbose?
If I’m pitching via email, I’m sending a quick paragraph about me, the idea/vision/company and a few point form stats and that’s it. More info can come later.
Comment by blainekorte -
so true, if you don’t know how to synthesize your business in an email and your plans you surely don’t know how to run your business
Comment by ionut -
Pingback: How NOT to Pitch an Investor | Chris Sloan's Blog
A previous commenter mentioned this but the use of “overlook” in the letter is almost Freudian. “Overlook” and “Look over” or “review” are not the same thing.
Comment by WP -
I thoroughly enjoy reading your blogs and I’ll tell you what, I’ve learned more from your blog than I have I learned in 90% of my College Courses, seriously. The one thing you teach is how to survive, great advice.
Comment by performancepartsj -
If you want to pitch Mark Cuban, you should at least have a good command of the English language. I don’t have the $$$ that Cuban has, but seeing this pitch I would get turned off by the horrible language used throughout. How would these people market themselves to grow their company if they can’t even communicate properly?
Comment by cprincipe -
Mark, Ok here is my pitch. Got nailed for mail fraud/ tax evasion over 2 years ago. Am waiting to be sentenced, (back story is not exactly like story looks). Was a successful broker for 10 years all the while knowing how we lied to everyone (worked at Merrill) and wanted to have my own hedge fund, only knowing that I would at least “TRY” to make them money. Think about it, “I ONLY GET PAID IF MY CLIENT MAKES MONEY…” Who cares what you invest in, (oil, stocks, real estate, sports teams stocks, startups, etc..) Anyway, I know how to monetize all internet content, “and we think alike.” Will kill Google, and people will pay to subscribe. Could go on with “how will save the world etc., but have some sort of gift with clients, and internet even though “I do not write code.” Just a “concept” guy. Will be going to prison shortly, but is just a part of my education. Wish I could change some things, and “yes” I have some regrets, but I do know how to make money with internet content, I called Merrill 73 days in a row before they gave me an interview, and when he finally said yes, I didn’t even own a suit, and made some story about the Air Force losing my suits when they moved me across the country. Pretty sure he was 40, and I was 24, he was smart enough to know who I was then. But gave me the job, and now I know those kids. I am not looking for your money, but know a way no one talks about to “monetize” internet content, and would “for some reason, without really knowing you,” would love to see you kick Google’s ass! Let me know what you think?
Comment by apple10lucia -
Mark Cuban is a genius. How can I contact him? People help me out here, please..Thanks
Comment by thedream09 -
Hey Massive Mark, I am a 17-year-old Jewish male living in Portland, Oregon. I am going to start a camera rental service and need 5000 to start it up. We’ll be able to have our prices at half of our competitors because we will not have an office, no employees so no overhead cost at all.
Primarily the business will start off of craigslist and we will then make a website and phone line, as I am pretty good at coding. I’ve made over 3000 dollars profit in the last 6 months buying and selling things on craigslist so I’m confident I will be successful.
What do you say, Massive Mark? My name is Garth, by the way.
Comment by kevinwhitsitt -
Pingback: Success & Motivation: What Entrepreneurs Should NOT Do « blog maverick « Netcrema - creme de la social news via digg + delicious + stumpleupon + reddit
Why do so many entrepreneurs want seed capital? Seriously! What’s wrong with bootstrapping? If you can bootstrap, you’re much more likely to get Angel/VC funding. Plus, if you haven’t bootstrapped, Angels/VCs want a large percentage of your company…. it’s a bad deal.
Here’s my advice: Nut up and bootstrap your company. Then ask for Angel/VC capital to accelerate growth.
Comment by JP -
Thanks for the advice Mark. I’m not trying to save the world, but if an entrepreneur needs a template for their Business Plan or Financial Model, they can get one at venturepresentation.com
Comment by venturepresentation -
This is a GREAT post Mark. Love it. Tweeted it out for my little following. If someone wants to get my attention, they need to take the time to learn who I am and send me a personalized email/letter.
Comment by hermedia -
Mark, I just want to thank you for being genuine above all else. You never sacrifice your pride for the sake of BS. I know you have your ‘FU$’ but your opinion still really counts. The biggest problem I see in entrepreneurship today is people being fake. You’re genuine to the core, and the more you speak counter current-corporate-culture, the more respect you’ll get, even if it is unspoken in current biz culture. Keep it up.
Comment by dannydriffs -
Hi Mark –
No entrepreneur should care about how to avoid being one of the worst, unless all but the worst of them win investment from you. Here’s a better blog post: “What Entreprenuers should ALMOST do” about a letter or meeting with someone that was great in so many ways… but didn’t quite cut it.
What went wrong for *that* guy? I want to read that.
Comment by ethanherdrick -
This is a biz plan I would gladly “overlook.”
Comment by philipsorensen -
Their executive statement borrowed a couple lines from Sharp’s business philosophy, with a few word substitutions:
Comment by growhappy -
He letter reminded me of some of the junk mail adds I get daily that end up saying,” If you want to know how, just pay 29.99 to continue. This is only a web access account and can not be printed.
It he/she wants money that bad for this nonsense then they should do the online infamercial blogg and only a few people will want to pay that just to read the rest which will more than likely say the same exact thing, NOTHING.
Your advice is great Mr. Cuban, thanks for the read
Comment by blueprey21 -
Refreshing! You are the “Simon Cowell” of business, Mark. Keep telling it like it is.
Comment by chrisiswright -
Well put….crazy but so true!
Comment by frontlineceo -
Comments are closed.