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True Story: We Didn’t Buy The Victim Pitch

Posted by on June 26th, 2012

Most of us know not to complain about the previous employer during a job interview. Fair or not, it just doesn’t work, right? The new job never want to hire somebody with that kind of chip on a shoulder.

More so with investor pitches.

I was at one once, as an investor member of a local angel investment group, when this happened. The pitch had been intriguing, the product/market fit looked attractive, and the guy in charge seemed to know his stuff. The pitch went well. The general feeling in the room was positive. We wanted to hear more. 

But one of the post-pitch questions set him off. Why had it taken so long to get from A to B? He launched into a Job-like story of unscrupulous partners, unethical investors, and ineffective lawyers. When he was done, maybe two minutes later, the room settled into quiet.

There were no more questions. And there was no more interest.

The moral of the story is obvious: maybe you are a victim, maybe they did screw you, but if that’s the case, then get over it. Never take that up as a banner. Suffer that in silence and maybe your potential investors will discover that in due diligence. Let them find out. Don’t tell them.


Written by Tim Berry

user Tim Berry

Tim is the founder of Palo Alto Software and, the co-founder of Borland International, and the official business planning coach at He has been called the "Obi-wan Kenobe of business planning" and "The Father of Business Planning." He is a serial author of books and software on business planning.

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