#Asia 5 vague yet highly inspiring strategies you can use for your next startup celebrity speech


Because sometimes even the greatest thought leader needs some help too.

startup celebrity

First of all, congratulations on becoming a startup celebrity. I understand that life now means being half-married to the camera right now, and that the media just can’t stop writing about every contrived, half-baked opinion. The company has some funding under the belt and is responsible for funding a dozen other ‘next Facebooks’. All seems well to the adoring public.

It also means multiple presentations, so veterans can feel free to skip this article as they are already riding an imaginary unicorn towards success. (Thanks for the click though!)

But for those newbies and veterans who have hit a creativity roadblock in need of relearning some tips, here are the five vague yet highly inspiring strategies I propose:

Tell people to follow something.

As much as people like to say they’re disruptors of their own field, they still are bound to follow something. With this newfound responsibility as a startup celebrity, it’s crucial to direct the attention of the plebs to what or who they should follow – be it their heart, gut, spleen, dreams, or their great ancestors’ wishes.

Doing this means redirecting the role model responsibility to someone else, because c’mon, as a startup celebrity — and not Miss Universe — gone is the need to be subjected by the false perceptions society has placed upon a magical tiara and a pretty dress.

Whoever or whatever the choice, the drooling audience will be happy to be redirected and guided in their life quest to find more meaning. Expect to hand out autographs, take some selfies, and barely remember any of the quotes cited when the media publishes an article about it.

(Yes, the quote, “don’t strive for success, find failure and punch it in the mouth” was accurate.)

Remind the audience to “look within themselves” for answers.

Again, the goal here is to inspire people — and what better way to inspire them than by starting a little reflection exercise within the speech. It doesn’t really matter what they find, be it a traumatising past or a random memory of a love lost. But certainly — and make sure to emphasise this — they will be able to find the answers in this long-forgotten history.

As to what they’re searching for, that’s up to them to decide, it’s the celebrity’s job in just making them reflect.

If at some point the audience starts asking too many questions in this reflection exercise, just repeat this statement slowly and solemnly,

“Look harder. Deeper.”

If they’re feeling a little bit cynical start saying, “I believe that you can find it. Perhaps not now, but soon.”

An aftereffect of a successful reflection exercise? Fans will start proclaiming they were blessed by the next ‘startup guru’ and how she helped them find their true calling.

Curse, just curse.

Used as either a last resort or as the featured attribute of the presentation, cursing is guaranteed to wake up a sleepy audience — especially if the previous speaker is a tad bit dull. Great for media headlines, cursing in a speech is usually used when to give a middle finger to the haters, negativity, tradition, and dying, old businesses.

(We would highly suggest literally flipping off the audience at some point).

Why stifle potential with the censored version of “Just Do It!” when, “Just F**king Do It!” is so much better. Cursing after all, portrays a rebellious disruptive startup celebrity that doesn’t give a f**k about society’s oppressive and conservative norms — that’s the goal here.

Even if something means exactly the same, cursing will definitely illustrate a free-spirited thinker, and self-censorship is a serious offence to creative wit. This IDGAF attitude will surely win the affections of many like-minded entrepreneurs who still have to develop the courage to speak as eloquently.

Talk as long as you can about “the Journey.”

Yep, the ‘startup journey’. Everyone in the audience is dying to hear what made the startup successful right? But of course, it is self-flagellation to go around declaring success was the result of luck (and the reality that a friend of a friend knew someone who wanted to invest, so that’s how things went).

No, it’s important to prolong this as long as possible. Talk about “late nights with the team” and “bonding over a shared dream.”

Start slowly shaking one’s head in nostalgia and pretend to remember that one time the team “accidentally” spent half of the funding money on booze and woke up with a severe hangover the next day. Smile and laugh at the memory of being so reckless and yet somehow managing to lie in a bed of dough today. Bonus points if the camera gets that.

Also Read: 7 of the most played out terms in startup jargon

Talk about the time that the entire team was almost laid-off due to bankruptcy but make sure to “admire their commitment to the company” for sticking around and working for free.

Talk about the all-nighters and no-shower weeks; the more disgusting the scene, the more folks will admire the company’s resiliency and grit.

The audience will never truly know how the actual path to successful, and nobody has any idea anyways (well, except for Zuckerberg, he probably has a good idea). But hey, let’s talk about what probably caused it right?

Close enough.

Invite people to fail.

Let’s be honest: as much as the startup scene loves declaring their attachment to failure, no successful startup has ever truly failed, because if they did, we wouldn’t be idolising them in the first place. In reality, we idolise them for their successes, but we romanticise their failures to justify our failures or even soften our disappointments with ourselves.

But hey! No one seems to acknowledge this depressing reality, so let’s continue the trend and invite audience members to fail more.

Invite them to fail in their relationships, fail at work, be a complete and total failure. Remind them that it’s ok how 90 per cent of startups just disappear and never come back, because that’s how life is.

Don’t forget to give them the emotional punchline, “Without these failures, I could have never achieved such success.”

Trust us, it will drive their respect for you to insane heights. Telling the audience to ultimately learn from their mistakes is optional, as it an inconvenient truth that majority of folks will live in denial. Hoo-ray!

And with that, the speech done! One hour of presenting finally over and there are certainly a few folks basking in the glory of inspiration — pssshhhh, a few? More like the majority.

After the presentation is a rousing success, make sure to impart them on the next batch of upcoming startup celebrities.

Pay it forward.

Photo Credit: Giphy

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