I believe in unicorns...

31 March 2022
unicorn meme

Meme stolen from Vusi Thembekwayo 

The news earlier today that Vinny Lingham was backing an interesting new startup triggered an entire thought process rabbit hole. Let me take you down through it.

  1. Tech Central says the startup, called Waitroom is designed as a video meeting platform – with strict time limits to ensure hosts and guests get to the point quickly. In fact, the maximum session time allowed is 30 minutes (the shortest is just 30 seconds).
  2. This reminded me that I had been discussing with a colleague last week that the free version of Zoom has a 40 minute time limit on meetings. I've found this is a blessing, because it forces meetings to come to the point as quickly as possible.
  3. Many years ago, another venture capitalist, Guy Kawasaki, wrote a fabulous piece called The 10/20/30 rule of PowerPoint . Executive summary: Any pitch should have no more than 10 PowerPoint slides. Any PowerPoint presentation should take no more than 20 minutes. No PowerPoint slide should have text at a font size smaller than 30pt.
  4. As a manager, I believed strongly in the idea of stand up meetings to get things done. Using YFM as an example, the sales manager would come to me with an idea for a client campaign that would involve an event, an outside broadcast, activations… oh, and all of this happening in Zanzibar… oh, and all of this happening next week. I would call in the managers of programming, marketing, technical, legal, and finance and say: "Sales wants to do this. Can we make it happen? What are the obstacles we might need to overcome?" We would make a decision within 10 minutes.

(This is how I got the late Chilly M abseiling onto a disco ball on the outside of the Hyde Park shopping centre, but I digress. If you're interested, I've linked the video below.)

Back to Waitroom: I think the core idea of 30 minute meetings is not particularly interesting, given that everyone gets something similar with Zoom already.

What does excite me is the other core concept Lingham spoke about, which is that Waitroom was inspired by the Shark Tank format.

If you're a vetted celeb approved by Waitroom, you can do a "show". Your fanbase gets access to you, but they're in a queue, and get to speak to you for a short space of time, whereafter they get bumped, and the next person joins. Keeping the celeb list vetted will prevent turning the platform into a free-for-all. (Yes, I know there are censorship issues that go with that — just sit down.)

I expect there will be significant interest initially based on the type of celeb that gets roped in, and the early days are likely to attract prominent celebs.

Sustaining it though is something else. Case in point, Ted Talks once featured real thought leaders, but today has degenerated into everyone and their dog talking about identity politics and Russia's war on Ukraine.

Oh, and if you're immediately shooting down the Waitroom concept in your head, well, what have you come up with?

YFM Mini Documentary 2008

Creative Commons Licence