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For the longest time, I have been working on keeping a list of pitch decks that successfully raised venture funding. I use it when I am working on my own decks or I work with clients who we fundraise for as investment managers through K Value. Most of these decks are shared mostly on blogs, TechCrunch, other news site and sometimes on Slideshare.
Good things are meant to be shared.
When I look back I might be mad that I gave this attention
Yeah, but it’s weighin’ heavy on my conscience
Yeah, and fuck, you left The Boy no options – Back To Back, Drake
I have been sharing the lists with people who will be able to benefit from it. Some approach me at entrepreneurial events and networking parties – it normally starts with conversations about how they are prepping for a new round of fundraising – and I will tell them that they should look at ‘such and such’ deck as their business model is similar to it. Over time, I started sharing my private list of decks I found online with everyone who asks for it as well.
Recently, it dawned on me that it will be better if I just create a long list and share it everyone. The intention was to be helpful, to be a resource that anyone from anywhere in the world can utilise to make better decks.
It’s simple, if they make better decks and present their startups better, they stand a better chance to get funded.
Especially during a venture climate where it’s getting harder to get funding, I believe that it’s important founders to have all the tools at their disposal.
Hence, I create the longest list online. I wanted to make it a resource that every person out there will be able to use as a guide. I believe that good things need to be shared.
The pie is big enough, for everyone, you and I, and everyone else in between.
It blew up with zero marketing.
I submitted the list to Product Hunt and it blew up. Everyone around the world celebrated it and it became the highest voted product on Product Hunt for July 16th, 2017.
It also trended across social media platforms. I was happy that people found it helpful.
But then, this happened.
Alexander Jarvis of 50 Folds, mailed me. He claimed that I ‘stole’ his content. In fact, this is what he said.
I have known of Alexander’s blog for a while now and my first reaction was that I will add his blog in my credit (although all I did was to look for pitch decks in Slide Share and never copied what he did on his blog).
The slides that he claimed that I ripped off was also linked back to his Slide Share account as I don’t find any value recreating what’s already available online. Truth is, I was giving traffic back to him since I posted it online.
So, I replied out of respect (and to collaborate).
I was trying to explain to him that my intention was never to rip anyone off. In addtion, I also thought that it will be cool to collaborate with him as I am already getting my own decks that are not available publicly.
Alexander replied with a threat.
I added the credit at the bottom of the page so that people will go to his site as well (as he had other decks that I didn’t).
After two days, I received this email from him.
I don’t respond well to threats.
I was angry at first, but I calmed myself down.
I decided to avoid burning another relationship that could be beneficial for both because of my emotions. I thought about what’s the psyche of someone who will reply this way. Three things became clear to me:
- This might be the pent up tension that he is projecting to me as he is tired of people ripping off his content (which made him not think through before he replied).
- He is someone who lacks the understanding between someone who is ripping one’s content and someone who just made a better version with better UX of one’s old blog post. This happens everyday in tech e.g. Instagram ‘ripping’ off Snapchat with Instagram stories. The market decides who wins – not the makers. That’s the rule in tech. I would have guessed that he would have known this.
- I should not take this to heart and should try to make it a good situation as I know by reading his articles and his site, we can be good friends.
So, again I emailed respectfully offering more assurance on my point of view.
Shit got ugly.
He went on Facebook and put this out.
I still didn’t take it personally. What did I do? I tried adding him as a friend, so that I can explain to him and maybe solve this knowing that I have done nothing wrong.
The first person that commented that I am a conman, reached out to me. I explained to him exactly what happened, he said he understands and wished me luck in solving this.
I waited three days for a reply from Alexander – but nothing happened.
Now, it’s the douche’s turn to act.
I believe that the internet is fundamentally good and 99.9999% is not out there to rip someone else.
I believe that the market decides who is the best. If someone makes a better version of what you created – you have no choice but to understand you have lost. At that point, you can leave it at that or upgrade your own product (in this case, blog) to beat the competitor again.
I believe that this is not how you treat someone else in the same scene when he has repeatedly try to be nice. Being nice doesn’t mean that you can push the person until he turns to a monster (most world’s best boxers were bullied).
You keep eggin’ me on
And we gonna have to crack a shell just to prove to you,
you ain’t hard boiled – Draft Day, Drake
Mr Jarvis, I am the Sathyvelu Kunashegaran you mentioned and the fight is on.
This is not just a story to explain what happened. I don’t want this to end at a point that no one benefits. So, this is my response to the whole situation:
I have researched 50Fold’s top content (10 in total) and I am going to make a better version of it – more thought out, better UX and presentation, more researched, tested with more people – over the next 2 months. Just like how I credited him in my pitch deck collection, I will do the same.
Now, am I stealing his content? Nope.
I am just getting inspired by it and making my own version of it. Well, anger is a good fuelling mechanism to perform above normal.
This way I get to show to Alexander that the market decides who’s the winner and my readers will get more quality content that I have promised them from day 1.
So, Alexander Jarvis, What’s your move?