12,123,200 more seconds

Nov 12 2015

Reese legend and alum, Hannah Wang, showing us what it means to be ready to pitch. (Photo taken by Mariah Barksdale.) 

12,123,200. That is how many seconds my group members and I have left before Pitch Day. We have 12,123,200 more moments to prepare, modify and sell our product, The Constituents, to a panel of potential investors. Yes, 12,123,200 seconds seems like a long time, but just like the five minutes we are allotted to actually perform this pitch, I know it will go by extremely quickly.

Putting our timeline at Reese into perspective, my team and I have been uneasy this past week. We wrote and rewrote our script and added more information from politicians and potential advertisers. We even practiced the material over and over. We revamped our entire hook and reframed how we were selling our publication. Once we decided to retarget our product toward helping the politician understand what is really going on in his or her community, we became completely refocused. By just changing our target market, we developed a new strategy to actually make The Constituents feasible, desirable and viable. For the first time all semester, it feels as though we really have something here.

In the words of the Lab’s executive director, John Clark, “it’s about to get real.” Well, with having something that actually feels “real” and tangible comes real and tangible problems: how much will it cost to actually create and distribute this publication? Who is going to be on our initial staff? How many reporters, editors, advertising agents, graphic designers and marketing managers will we need? How will we recruit them? Over this past week, we received more feedback from advocacy groups about price points. After creating an advertising rate chart, we are now starting to gain clarity on the more business-y aspects of our product and this job. However, even with more information, my team and I are still in this overwhelmed state.

This week has been arduous; with a lot of unknown elements, it is extraordinarily easy to become bogged down. There always seems to be more questions that we need answers to. Did we ask enough questions to these politicians? Did we get enough feedback from constituents? From advertisers?

The terrifying question that has been in the back of our minds is: Are we ready? We can get answers to the other logistical questions, we can prepare our slides, we can practice our pitch. But how will we actually know when we are ready to do this thing and produce an effective pitch?

In our last full week at Reese, my teammates, Caroline Lamb and Whitney Harris, and I hope to answer that question. Now, we are becoming more confident with our script. It is cheesy, but I do feel as though The Constituents is a part of me; I am ready to see it grow and flourish. And even though I am scared, I cannot wait to share all of the work and collaboration my team and I have created this past semester. Careful not to over-rehearse, we have been trying to change up and hone in on exactly what we will say that embodies everything our publication is and will be. Conveying our message in both a succinct, but very intentional, way is challenging, but I actually love it. We have been extremely specific in our content because we want this panel to feel the same sense of urgency and passion about our product that we do.

But again, it all comes back to time. We only have five minutes to sell The Constituents to a smattering of strangers. Now, it is all about the confidence of our content. We know the huge percentage of politicians and advertisers who are interested. We know that this will create change in local government and its communities. We know we have a good idea; we talked to people, we did the work. Now, my team has this opportunity to bring this common issue of non-transparency in local government into the forefront and to persuade the panel that The Constituents is the solution. It’s time to start that conversation with these investors. To say we are scared is an understatement. But we will be ready next week when the time comes.

Only 12,121,400 seconds left.


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