What a 16 yr old girl wanting to raise chickens can teach us all

November 4, 2009

I just came back from the 16th annual pheasant hunt in SD I go to every year with a group of former Oracle friends. One is a Managing Partner at a Venture Capital firm, one is actually back at Oracle after they acquired Siebel Systems and the rest are either running or in management positions with early, expansion and growth stage software companies.

Gary one of my friends who is a founder and CEO of an expansion stage software company was telling me the story about his 16 year old daughter who decided she wanted to raise chickens like one of her girlfriends. He was skeptical like a lot of dads would be about how serious she would be about taking care of the chickens after time passed so he told her she needed to go away and put together a justification for this endeavor. Explain why she should be allowed to do this and to demonstrate her commitment.

Undaunted she went away and came back with a presentation that Gary sent me. I was blown away by the job she did. It made me wonder why so many early, expansion and growth stage software companies have trouble presenting their solutions to their target markets. Even after raising growth capital from venture capital firms management teams continue to struggle with competitive messaging and getting their story across.

This young lady reminded me on several things all companies need to do to experience success.

1.) She understood her audience or target market. She knew the persona of the buyer
her dad.

2.) She kept her message simple.

3.) She focused on the facts and proof points. In other words the content and messaging was
relevant to the buyer

Three simple things that all software companies struggle with when trying to get their story across to their buyers and users.

Most of us don’t take the time to understand the persona’s of the buyers and users (Which often are different) of our product and service.

For whatever reason most of us struggle with trying to keep a message simple. We over complicate it and always want to tell everybody everything about our product and service versus the few things that are important. Maybe it is because we are so proud of what we have done or so many of us are engineers.

Last but not least a lot of what we present is frankly just not relevant to our buyers and users.

So if you are having trouble getting your message or story across to the marketplace maybe you should take another look at the presentation this 16 year old girl put together on “Chickens for You and Me”. You will find the link below.


I certainly will.

All the best!


Venture Partner

<strong>George Roberts</strong> is a Venture Partner at OpenView. He enjoys partnering with companies and helping them achieve their goals through strategy, focus and operational execution. From 1990 to 2003, George spent 13 years at Oracle Corporation, most recently having served as Executive Vice President of North American Sales. While at Oracle, George was responsible for over $1 billion in revenue and more than 2,000 employees, reporting directly to the company’s CEO and Chairman, Larry Ellison.