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VentureBlog: Standardizing The Comparison Slide. David Hornik's post from Monday made me grin. If you've ever been on the creating or receiving side of any sort of fund-raising presentation, from seed round concept presentation through IPO road show do... [Read More]

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Frank A

Over the years I've presented and received many of these slides. I've learned two things:

1) Ignore these slides. Ask the presenter to "net-out" why they are different and why it matters. If they can't explain it to you in simple terms, then they won't be able to explain it to a customer either.

2) The most important purchasing criteria are often not on the slide -- because they're not features of the product. I've worked in the telco equipment space for years and, in general, the most important criteria is a badge that says "Alcatel," "Nortel," (still true even with their recent struggles), etc. The exception is when you are the only game in town for the product. If that's the case, however, it should be pretty easy to explain a company's differentiation.

Sean

In many situations, I've never understood why customers or investors think the company would have the best insight on how they rank against their competitors when their competitors are doing their best to hide information from them. It might be different if the competition is so well known that their functionality is taken for granted (i.e. my new whiz-bang word processor vs. Microsoft Word) but in that case, 1) it better be an awesome differentiator, 2) you probably don't need a complex matrix anyway.

michael sippey
miko

I agree, but the only way to standardize the comparisons is to use a neutral third party organization with some editorial system for such comparisons. Disclaimer: I work for the Middleware company and we are a neutral third party organization =)

Anyhow, easy way to cut through the BS is to ask for reference customers and ask point blank why they chose that vendor.

kirk otis

I understand the problem, lots of the charts take time for the audience to understand "language" before they can understand the information, but you miss a bigger issue.

The items, the features being communicated. The metrics are more important than the art used to communicate. For example one company will say ASIC for speed and the other company will say software for flexibility... and both will give themselves four nice, round, bright red Harvey Balls...

Manu Sharma

The bigger issue here is that Powerpoint is a dangerous tool to assess [or demonstrate] complex issues like probable damage to a spacecraft in an accident or the likely returns of a proposed investment.

http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/powerpoint

http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/discourse

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Dear David

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I salute to u and your colleagues for this education.

Regards

Abdul Q. Kundi

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