Final Project Topic Pitch

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In the next class (Week 4) you will be making a 1-4 minute pitch where you will present your current idea for a final project to your classmates. Your goal in this presentation is to convince your classmates to join you and work with you on your final project.

To select a topic either revisit your list from the first homework assignment or create a new one. Brainstorm project ideas, select one that is particularly appealing, and create a pitch for the idea. It is often easier to do this with a group of people, so you may want to recruit a few of your friends or classmates for an informal brainstorming session. However, if you work with your classmates on this, you are still each responsible for making your own pitch for your own idea (if you're all interested in the same topic, then pick variants for each person to present on).

In the next class you will be presenting your pitch to your fellow students in an effort to recruit them to join your final project. This pitch should be an "elevator pitch" for your idea. For those of you not familiar with the idea, an elevator pitch imagines the following scenario:

You are at a conference/job fair/hotel and run into the perfect person to support your work/fund your project (say Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet) as you're walking into the elevator with them. You are both going to the 5th floor, so you have 1-4 minutes to talk to them to get them interested in you and your idea. If you're not prepared, you'll stand there tongue-tied and blurt out something that is incoherent, they'll smile politely, and then walk out of the elevator without thinking twice about you, on to more important things. So, therefore, what is the one minute summary of your idea that captures its essence and conveys why it is interesting and important? If you create such a one minute summary well, then they'll be interested enough to keep talking to you after you get out of the elevator together, and will give you their contact information to follow up with you on the idea.

Thus, think about why your idea is interesting, why would your classmates want to join you in working on your idea, and what opportunities exist for exploring and pursuing your idea. Remember, you are not going to convince anybody to join you unless you are passionate about your idea, and it shows in your presentation. For a model of how to proceed, use the Y Combinator form for inspiration:

Not all of the questions will be relevant, but use the ones that are.

Your project pitch will be graded using the following criteria:

  • Effectiveness of Communication (i.e., are you convincing?).
  • Quality of Idea.
  • Passion for the Idea (i.e., how well it shows).

Optional "readings" to help with forming the pitch:

Due Date/Time: 
You should be prepared to present your Final Project Topic Pitch at the beginning of class on Friday, 2/11/2011.
How to Submit: 
3 minute (and no longer!) presentation during class on Friday, 2/4/2011. Any extra materials you want to submit (PPT slides, assignment writeup, etc.) can be submitted here:
This assignment is worth 25 points.