Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"The new standard for product demos is that we cry"

That's what one leading VC said to me during a company pitch at Accel Partners. Of course, he didn't mean that he'd literally descend into a Steve Jobs-style blubbing session if the product was good, but he had a serious point: gone are the days where poorly written slides, or a roughly put together product, were good enough for a top-tier VC. If you're pitching at a high level then you need to show you can compete, and in today's market that means being and looking sharp.

Apple, of course, set a very high-standard for devices and software and it's had a trickle down effect. Now that everyone expects their hand-held device to look gorgeous and work without friction they expect applications and web sites to do the same.

In fact, any application or web site that doesn't look like it's had the benefit of an experienced UX designer work on it is cannon fodder.

Of course, VCs still look for the quality of the team, its pedigree, deep or interesting technology, but the bottom line is that the overall standard for software and user interface in particular has gone up. And it's not just lipstick on a pig either, software has to be easy to navigate and above all productive for the end user.

Cheap apps and free web services mean that switching is easy and to compete your product or service needs to make your end users cry with joy.

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