I'm tired of hearing people tell me their company's product is on steroids

by David Spark on March 7, 2008

I was at the Supernova mixer last night at the Wharton club (that’s Dave Mathews looking like a scared deer. See more pictures of the event from Brian Solis and some from Renee Blodgett) and we were discussing company pitches. I had just attended an Elevator Pitch Roundtable the night before, and it got me to thinking about how people wisely and not so wisely pitch their company.

Dave Matthews

Like pitching a movie you have to use products people are familiar with (“Speed 2”: It’s like “Speed,” but on water). Last night, I met Florian Brody of GenieTown and he said his company is like “eBay for services.” Boom, I immediately can picture and imagine what that is. It’s so much easier to use a service or concept everyone already knows, to fill in a lot of words of explanation. He could have said, “We’re a marketplace for services.” But that doesn’t create the image that a relation to eBay does. eBay owns the term “online auction” but its use creates a picture of actual usability.

What I’m completely tired of hearing and reading is the use of the phrase, “It’s like ________ on steroids.” This is a HORRIBLE analogy. Every time I hear that, I think, “Oh, so your product has a lot of acne and shrunken testicles.” Steroids are not super pills you pop in your mouth and you all of a sudden grow stronger. The point of them is that it allows you to shorten your rest period in between workouts so you can actually workout more AND THEN get stronger. It is the most overused, pointless analogy. Journalists use it as well as individuals pitching their company. Today, I’d like to call for a moratorium on “It’s like __________ on steroids.” Who’s with me?

Dave Mathews (pictured) did not tell me that his company was on steroids. He did though talk about a business he wanted to create that would be powered by Flintstones Chewables.

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