"With our app you can instantly and effortlessly communicate with anyone around you without knowing their name, phone number, or social media info."
At a recent Startup Grind event in San Francisco that was the pitch I was given for the communications app "Spray" (http://getspray.com). My first thought was: "Why would I want to do that?" This isn't the ideal response for a founder who is trying to pitch their idea. While it could be my problem for not understanding the purpose of the app, the goal of a pitch is for the other person to "catch it", and be able to toss ideas around looking for ways to help improve the concept. However, because I'm left trying to understand why it matters, my mind isn't yet free to explore the idea further.
When I asked more questions about how the app was created, the genesis story went like this:
My husband and I were recently married, and being from another country, we didn't know anyone, but we wanted to celebrate. Since we had no contacts in Vegas (where we were married), we thought: "Wouldn't it be cool if we could message people around us and let them know we are recently married, and ask if anyone wanted to celebrate with us?"
Now I get it. The app isn't about being able to instantly and effortlessly communicate with anyone around you. That's too generic. The essence of the app is allowing people to communicate in specific situations when you aren't concerned who receives the message. Typically we communicate one-to-one, but this app is about one-to-many communication. In her example, it was the out-of-town-couple that was recently married and wanted to celebrate with people in town. In another example it might be someone in a library who needs a charger for an iPhone.
When you pitch an idea to someone who has never heard your story, there is a brief moment where the listener is trying to get oriented around understanding the concept. By telling an actual story about a person that had a need, then showing how the app solved the problem, it allows the listener to understand what you are trying to convey. That seems like a small tweak, and it is, but there is a big difference to the other party when they want to understand your idea before deciding if they can add value to the conversation.
Once I understand the essence of your idea, then we can back up to a higher level and possibly find other use cases that fit the same model. Your goal is to make it very easy to convey the idea to someone who has never even thought about it before. Or as my daughter says: "Dad... are you catching what I'm throwing?"