The WOW moment

Lessons learned from incubation volume one, the wow moment.

This week I was asked to name a special quality about one of our start-ups. They are all special, but it got me thinking about one specific quality I’ve noticed over the last two years that really makes a start-up stand out. Makes our job easy. Makes their progress meaningful. The universal wow moment. the wow singularity. When all sides of the table go wow. At each stage in the process, from internal diligence to board sign off to initial biz dev meetings, to phases one, two and three.

The wow gets you over the line. Gets you past that initial cynicism. The scoping you out. That ‘not-another-pitch’ vibe. I’ve watched it a few times and it’s genuinely wonderful. The complete lack of tension. A simple ok this works for me, for us, for my objectives, for our objectives, for the objectives of the people we’re serving.

And when you get over the line with that wow, you are given that first, and sometimes only chance. One shot to get it right. But a serious one. One where the person or team is really engaged and willing to listen and think through the possibilities, the practicalities and whatever else matters.

What makes a wow moment? Not what you think. Not a re-writing of the world as we know it. Not the most bells and whizz presentation imaginable. Not fallible numbers that promise more than you’ve ever made. Not a new thing that will have to compete ineffectively with the established thing – why?

For me it’s been a simple, ok I get this, it works. That’s what I’ve observed. So can you deliver a wow moment to all sides of the table. One that fits requirements, timing, convergence of tech possibilities, problems, solutions and the different value exchanges in the area you’re diving into?

If you can find that wow moment which is simple, elegant and makes sense instantly, you’re in with a chance. I think. At least that first chance.

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