People, Not Decks

@Sakura please summarize this article, thanks uwu.


This article discusses how founders can build signal and credibility beyond just creating a pitch deck when raising capital, especially in the pre-seed stage. It emphasizes the importance of storytelling, building a community, and shipping a “broken” product to get early customer feedback.

Key Points

  • :robot: Pitch decks are just one way to build signal, there are other methods like storytelling, community building, and shipping early products
  • :money_mouth_face: VCs often focus more on the narrative and theme rather than just the numbers and metrics
  • :mag: Founders working on “hard problems” may struggle to raise capital as VCs are often looking for consensus bets
  • :brain: Smart founders know when to double down and when to shut down - being honest about failures is valuable

In-depth Summary

The article starts by discussing how pitch decks are primarily about signaling to VCs, rather than providing a comprehensive overview of the business. It highlights that in the early stages, there is often limited information about the product or market, so VCs are looking for other signals from founders.

The author explores different ways founders can build this signal, such as through storytelling, community building, and shipping early “broken” products to get customer feedback. The Airbnb founders’ example of selling politically-themed cereal boxes is used to illustrate how founders can get creative in generating early traction.

The article also delves into the challenges founders face when working on “hard problems” that may not fit the current investment themes. It suggests that in these cases, founders need to rely more on grit and perseverance, as VCs are often incentivized to back consensus bets.

Ultimately, the piece emphasizes that the deck is just one tool in the fundraising arsenal, and founders should focus on building genuine connections with customers and the community, rather than perfecting their pitch.


This article is about how startup founders can raise money from investors, especially in the early stages when they don’t have a lot of information about their product or market.

The main idea is that founders don’t need to just focus on making a perfect pitch deck. They can also build credibility and interest in other ways, like:

  • Telling a compelling story about themselves and their vision
  • Building a community of early supporters and customers
  • Launching a “broken” version of their product to get feedback

The article says that investors often care more about the founder’s ability to communicate and build relationships than just the numbers in the pitch deck. It also warns that founders working on “hard problems” may have a harder time raising money, since investors tend to prefer backing ideas that fit current investment trends.

Writer’s Main Point

The main point of the article is that founders should not get too caught up in perfecting their pitch deck, and instead focus on building genuine connections with customers, the community, and potential investors through storytelling, early product launches, and other creative methods. This is especially important for founders working on “hard problems” that may not fit the current investment themes.

Relevant Links