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, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

Yesterday I laid out Brad Feld’s/Chris Wand’s 13 questions for entrepreneurs and said they would lay the groundwork for a ripping good pitch. Trouble is, once you do that work, all you really get is a ripping big pile of paper.

How do you put all that crap together? For help I turned to the most unlikely of places: Web Design. Over at 37 Signals Ryan Singer has a paper called An Introduction to Using Patterns in Web Design and using a mix of Betty Edwards and Christopher Alexander he’s put built a framework for imposing order on that great stack of stuff.

Like web design, you have a huge number of alternative ways to pitch yourself or your company. And like many web designers, its easy to fall on old habits. The risk is you end up with a pitch that looks like everyone else’s (just like those blogs everyone’s building off of templates).

To break the problem (and here’s where Betty Edwards meets Christopher Alexander) you need to fracture the problem into pieces so unfamiliar your old habits can’t take over. And to be cool like Christopher Alexander you need to build each chunk so perfectly that they flow together (as all natural patterns do).

So much for trendy architecture, what about that pile of crap?

Start by making a list of all the specific bits that eventually must fit together. Some bits to include: company info, current info, other users info, current business plan, date you started, potential clients – mine that pile for useful bits.

Once the bits are listed, put them into chunks based on whether they impact each other or not. Group up the pieces that are related and then prioritize them by functional importance – what matters most to the people you will be pitching.

Now design each chunk independently. Careful attention here will ensure (according to Christopher Alexandre) that the whole will fuse together.

That’s all fine and good, but in the end it’s rather metaphysical. So far we’ve seen an overview of the selling ideas, a set of questions that need answers and fairly cerebral construction of what order the piece might take – but what I need is something a lot more tangible. I still need a 60-second pitch. I’ll do it tomorrow.

Commentary

[…] Have you heard of Christopher Alexander? I’ve written about him before (1, 2, 3). […]