You know how companies often try to describe themselves in terms of other startups? As in.. “I heard about this great new company – it’s like MySpace + YouTube.”
Startup junkies please note. This is not a good way to describe your company. You are saying “I am derivative” instead of “I am innovative.”
Just today I was introduced to a company by someone (not the entrepreneur, so she’s off the hook for now) who said it was like “YouTube + Second Life + Del.icio.us + Joost + MySpace + MapQuest” (a few terms were changed to protect the not so innocent). Now you tell me – what the hell is that? Bookmarkable broadcast-ready geo-tagged videos containing 3D representations of peoples friends cats? – huh?!?
Instead of thinking in math, maybe they should think in colors. Red + Blue + Green + Purpose + Orange = a mess.
How about telling me what problem your product solves or what you make that everybody is going to want to use? Better yet, how about just giving me a URL and saying “check this out.” I’d much rather hear about it or see it than try to figure out all of the operands in this silly sort of math.