Closed Mouths Don't Get Fed
Unpopular Opinion: We should be all a little bit more like Elizabeth Holmes.
I just watched the Elizabeth Holmes documentary, and haven’t been able to think about much else. If you haven’t yet watched “The Inventor: Out For Blood in Silicon Valley” yet, please stop what you’re doing and go watch the trailer here. It’s a fascinating, cautionary tale of a young woman who set out to revolutionize the health industry with technology, ends up conning the American public (and billions of dollars out of investors), and essentially played with human lives, all while toting the female Steve Jobs title. Intrigued? Get into it.
Despite the non-blinking and low voice disguise (and ahem, blatant lies and corruption), I found myself weirdly inspired by Holmes. Although you certainly can’t ignore privilege, I kept asking myself, what if all womxn were this ballsy to get their startup funded? Of course, I’m not suggesting once funded you con your investors or destroy human lives with shoddy execution and shady ass behavior, but as funding is one of the top barriers for entry for womxn in business, I have to think about what Holmes, a college drop out with zero practical experience in her field, did to convince these old white dudes to fork over millions of dollars.
If this makes me a sociopath, so be it, but here’s the gist of what I took away:
Get Your Pitch Down
The doc goes into this in more detail, but Holmes perfected the emotional pitch of what her product/service would do, as opposed to how it physically would work. She found the emotional strings of her “why” and expertly pulled them to get investors (and the American public) to open their wallets.
Surround Yourself With Advisors
Names are like snowballs of clout. When you’ve got one, more feel safe enough to jump on board. Holmes found experts in a wide variety of fields to back her up, not only financially, but politically. Curiously though she did not have any advisors in a directly related field that could challenge her on the validity of the technology she was proposing *lowers glasses* mmhm!
Wear The Same Outfit
Okay, this one probably doesn’t have anything to do with wooing investors, but it’s something I genuinely believe in as it’s a tactic to minimize decision fatigue thing. Although I feel personally attacked by the documentary as I love a good black turtleneck with a red lip, this psychology is probably a discussion for another time. The gist: make fewer decisions by having a go-to outfit.
What’s the moral of this bizarre sociopathic startup story? Closed mouths don’t get fed. If you have a brilliant idea you’re sitting on, refine your emotional pitch, find people who will go to bat for you, and rock an outfit you wouldn’t mind going to the board meeting in (or say, a police line up).