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Verge’s Matt Hunckler on how to properly pitch your intriguing innovations without wiping out


It’s one of those words we often use, especially business and tech wonks hoping to sound more business and tech wonk-y. But we might be overusing it, says a certified business and tech whiz who’s coming to New Zealand early next month.

Matt Hunckler, founder and CEO of Verge, says that while we tend to overuse the word “innovation,” the reality is there seems to be more of it than ever thanks to a workforce that, in the US alone, could be 40 percent independent workers by 2020. “A freelancer by definition is entrepreneurial,” he explains. “But there’s so many people doing it now, there’s much more competition to innovate.”

Hunckler says this means entrepreneurs need not only to have a great idea, but need to know how to pitch their idea to potential investors. And, thanks to platforms like Kickstarter, “everybody is an investor.”

Yet that also means the pitch is more important than ever, he says. It’s the “secret sauce” to help make an idea commerciable, he explains. “A good pitch is a conversation. It’s not just a sales pitch.”

Yet too many people often adopt the “pinball” approach to pitching, Hunckler says, taking the tactics of Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel or Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and believing they will work for every situation. A more effective method, he says, might be using the THREAD method, which stands for target, hook, relate, escalate, ask and deliver.  “Execution is what really sets you apart. It’s really important to have a framework for pitching.”

Pitching and innovation will be two of the things Hunckler will be discussing at the Project16 conference in Auckland on Thursday, September 1 at the Auckland University of Technology. Focusing on the intersection of business, technology and design, the conference is being sponsored by organisations such as the US Embassy, Samsung and 2 Degrees.

The US-based Hunckler, who will be visiting New Zealand for the first time, explains the conference is particularly important now because of the advent of more raw resources, such as the internet and the Cloud, that make it less expensive than ever before to innovate. “The cost has never been lower. It’s a really exciting time.”

And that, he says, also means change is happening on a greater scale than perhaps ever before.

“The change is getting faster and faster and faster,” he says. “The only constant is change.”

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