We often hear people talk about companies launching from an idea sketched on a bev napkin, and, for many, this might seem like a silly concept. A business is a complex being with lots of research and planning required right? I beg to differ.

The bev nap captures the simplicity of an idea. It is limited space, so it forces us to think in the most basic terms of our value proposition. Tim Ferriss of “4-Hour Workweek” fame posted a great picture in a blog entry recently. It was Jack Dorsey’s first sketch of what would become Twitter (see the post here).

That is a $10 billion dollar idea.

To me, the bev nap or sketch is like the elevator pitch I have noted in previous posts… We have to be able to boil ideas down to a simple pitch, capture interest quickly, and communicate its value.

In 1998, I was running a company which sold complex software solutions. We had very cool interactive presentations with animations and video and sound that were provided to the sales force… My controversial move was to tell the team they couldn’t use them and that I wanted us to pitch with a dry-erase pen. Simple pictures. One thing I know is we had a sales force that better understood our offerings and our performance improved.

Can you pitch your business on a bev nap? Or at least a dry-erase board or notebook paper…

Consider the elegance of a simple picture.



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