Please Don’t Say AI in Your Pitch Deck
Often times when I host my Perfect your Pitch workshop at UK universities, I am met with disbelief when I tell students and founders this caveat. AI and other acronyms like it are thrown around too commonly now. I understand that they’re sleek and brings a technical provenance to the product — but it can backfire terribly.
Buzzwords like AI, machine learning, NLP, blockchain, etc. can create bounce back in a pitch without you even realizing it. It is important you understand the intricacies of your product before using them in a pitch, because of these three reasons:
It can show lack of knowledge.
Firstly, don’t use terminology in your deck if you do not know what it means inside and out (EVER). Many incorporate terms like AI, immersive realities, or blockchain into their deck or pitch without knowing the full extent of what they mean.
Do you due diligence on your technology. Everyone in your team should understand the basics of the tech. I am a technophile; however, I am not a coder or engineer. But, I — and many in the VC, accelerator, and entrepreneurship space — know enough about the principles of these buzzwords to see if you are correct.
When I see an early stage business pitch a ML startup, I ask “Are you using a data set actually large enough for machines to actually learn and recognize what you are looking for? Or, are you using your technology to become a ML powerhouse down the road?”
Assume you have a technoliterate audience you are pitching to. You can paint the vision and future of your technology, but make sure you are clear about its current status.
It can feel disrespectful to those in the field.
Secondly, don’t undercut the industry and those who are working incredibly hard on these technologies.
Many startups work long and hard to implement, test, and scale these technologies in the field.
If you actually implement artificial intelligence in your product or service, then yes, do highlight that, 100%!
But, words have power. When people sprinkle them on top like it is nothing, you are doing a disservice to those who are using AI. Please don’t fall into the trap of those who are using it as a catch all.
It can be a crutch for founders.
And lastly, some individuals feel like they need to throw in more technical jargon in their pitch to overcompensate for lack of confidence. (I think everyone has been guilty of this at some point, myself included.)
Have faith in your technology, even if it low code, and the validation you have proven with it. Remember that you are the core of your business and the crux of its success, not the latest buzzword on Twitter.