Gone in 60 seconds

They say you need to boil your big idea down into a 60-second, elevator pitch. The idea being, when you find yourself in an elevator with someone who might be able to help you get your deal moving, you can communicate what you’re doing and open a door to continue the conversation.

Todd and I chewed on this a bit back in April, settling on the following:

TGP is a community of gearheads helping each other build better lives.

Simple enough, but get this—I completely spaced this when I was talking about what we were up to at Overland Expo last month. I KNEW I was fumbling in those moments, I panicked, and I fumbled.

Having my elevator pitch on point would have eliminated the stress of not clearly explaining something I care about to people who wanted to know about it—and the general sense of overwhelm from the commercial madness that has become the center of the overlanding universe would have only helped our cause.

Nobody wants “better lives”.

While I still think our super simple pitch, above, is solid, I realize there’s a need to tweak it depending on whom I’m sharing it with. While it’s probably true we all want better lives, “better lives” means different things to different gearheads—and it’s not necessarily what everyone is explicitly after.

There’s a common marketing meme that says nobody wants to buy a drill—they just need a hole in something. While features like power, battery life, and stuff are important, they’re all considered through the lens of the hole(s) needed. Good marketers understand this intuitively.

If I’m talking to someone interested in personal improvement, then yeah, gearheads helping each other build better lives will immediately resonate. But if I’m talking to someone who wants a more forum-like social media experience, or just wants to escape Facebook, I should probably reframe things.

We’re not after strikeouts.
We want home runs.

I keep coming back to one conversation at OXW in particular. It was late in the day, we’re all feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders, and we’re standing in line for tacos behind a couple built-up Tacomas.

“So what are you working on these days?”

Queue the elevator taco pitch.

I knew “building better lives” wasn’t the right card to play, but didn’t have anything else up my sleeve. So I fell into my usual trap of over-explaining things. If I could go back in time and do it over, I should have gone with something like one of these…

TGP is a community for gearheads like us who are tired of commercial bullshit and noise.

It’s a secret club where people come first and where what we do matters.

TGP is a lifeboat for gearheads like us looking to escape Facebook.

It’s like a forum for the total gearhead—cars, career, life, 42.

Or maybe all of them!

What would you say you do here?

I need to get these dialed in and practice them until they’re automatic. There is no excuse for not being able to clearly describe what you’re doing. If you can’t even explain what you’re doing, how is anyone else supposed to understand it?

TGP is a lot of things. It will be a lot more in the coming years. For now, though, I feel like it’s important to point out it will all grow out of a private forum for gearheads like us, where we can talk about the really interesting stuff that really matters, feel good about the time we spend there, and live the good life.

Isn’t that what we all wanted from forums in the first place?

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    Don’t tell me your dreams. Just make me so interested in what you’re doing that I will have my own dreams about it.

    • Kinda like how you did when you told me about Discourse.

      PS: Still kinda freaking out that I was served a watch ad in the middle of the desert between Phoenix and Tucson that day. ;p

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