Different Communication Medium

Weekly I/O#50

How to make sure someone knows what they are doing? Ask them to change the medium of communication. Can they pitch in a different language, explain in higher and lower levels, or present without slides? Can they pretend they were real users telling a friend about this over dinner?

Podcast: Kunal Shah: Core Human Motivations [The Knowledge Project Ep. #141]

How to detect a startup's success? For Kunal, a lens that adds value to his filtering system is asking the founder to explain things with a different communication medium. For example, many founders usually come to him with a well-prepared presentation. He will ask those founders, "Hey, I don't understand English very well. Can you explain this to me in Hindi? What does it do?" Founders who understand the essence of what they are doing can switch without a problem. However, many people only prepare their presentations without fundamentally understanding them and, therefore, struggle with different mediums.

The other way to do it without asking them to switch languages is to change the material or level of conversation. Can they pitch without slides? Can they go a bit deeper or higher without losing the context?

Kunal also asked founders to pretend they were actual users of the product that were telling a friend over dinner to try this. This shifts their frame of reference, and they then cannot use any jargon because we don't speak to friends in jargon. If the founders cannot distill their idea into a transmissible conversation at dinner, their idea will not spread.

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