If you are facing an investor presentation for your new venture, consider this. Are you voting on rabbits - or feeding dogs?
Well, in many situations, the venture founder spends a lot of time trying to convince the investor of "why" his idea/product/service will succeed in the market. As the conversation - or presentation - goes on and on, it sounds like the old rabbit vote. That is, if we have a rabbit in a cage, no matter how hard someone tries to convince the audience that it is a girl bunny - and no matter if the audience votes 6 to 0 that it is, that will not make it one. If the founder convinces the audience that the idea is going to be great when it is tried in the marketplace, no matter what the audience decides, it won't change the outcome.
On the other hand, if the idea is a new dog food, putting a bowl on the floor in front of a small sampling of dogs will answer the question pretty convincingly, one way or the other.
I am struck by the all too common occurrence in venture planning of founders who spend lots of time and money theorizing and data-divining without getting to the dog food step. And then, at the juncture that will bridge the greatest risk, and increase the value of their enterprise, they ask investors to pay for the dog food test, but assume in their value calculation that it is successful.
It's a tough chasm to leap across.
At the end of the day, there are many ideas that can be subject to good old fashioned segmentation testing, proposed most famously by David Ogilvy during the late middle ages - well, OK, during the 1950s and 1960s. It worked then, and it will work now. It reduces risk, raises value of companies, and makes everyone happier.