Manoj Nakra
2 min readSep 20, 2020


The missing core of startup pitches

Pitches inordinately focus on product features, technology, and competitors.

What is missing is the founders unique ‘understanding’ of consumer choice behavior and ‘how the startup is (or intends to) influence it.

After all, significant innovation happens when customers don’t know what they want, and a startup helps them discover it.

A rarely quoted presentation of Jeff Bezos is spot on


“…Can’t run a business if you are not going to listen to your customers… invention goes far beyond listening to your customers. (Frequently)… customers do not … know what they want. It is your job to invent on their behalf… not based on ‘explicit’ information the customer provides but ‘implicit’ observation of their behavior.”


A startup is a work-in-process business. It is incomplete. Startups, by their nature, innovate, discover new ways of doing things.

The customer choice/use-based discovery/invention DNA of the startup team is a leading influence of startup success. Products need to be optimized based on what works in use.

This startup mindset — working from customer needs-in-use — is different from believing that, “We are good at X. We will figure out what to do with X?”

Why is this important? Because it influences

· how the team works

· is organized

· knows that brand image follows reality and not the other way around



Manoj Nakra

Manoj is a co-founder of SCIP. Manoj is a Mech. Eng. (IIT Delhi), MBA (IIM Bangalore), and DBA (Case Western) (