I’ve been looking at TechStars applications basically nonstop for the last couple of days. I thought I would put together some tips on my dream application video for teams that are still applying – since I know how much effort everyone puts into these!
1. SHORT. < 2 minutes short. Maybe go for 3 minutes, but that’s the max. A majority of the videos I’ve been watching are +5 minutes – let’s do a little math… Let’s say I get 500 applicants (expecting much much more), and 85% of them have videos. That’s 2,125 minutes or nearly 40 hours of just watching videos. That’s not including the time to read your application, think about what you’ve written, or click through and play with your site. I tend to not watch longer videos – I skip through to find the important parts and am probably missing some gem of information.
2. I want to see the team, get a feeling for the personality of the founders, and see a demo of the product. This is hard to do in 2 minutes, but you can do it. I’ve seen lots of great videos accomplish this; the time makes you focus on what matters. Take a look at TechStars Boulder 2010 company, ScriptPad’s video. While you can’t see the founders in this video, it didn’t matter because they were renting space from the Bunker at the time, so I saw them nearly every day.
3. Use humor! Well, unless you don’t have a sense of humor. Don’t be something that you’re not. But I’m looking at a lot of videos, help me enjoy yours. My favorites include founders showing their personalities.
4. If you password protect the video, please include the password in the app. Seems like common sense, but it’s amazing how many people forget, and it makes me do one extra step.
5. Don’t spend time on things like advanced animation and fancy screens. Sure, it makes it look pretty, but all that tells me is that you know how to do video. Spend time where it matters, on the team and on the product. 🙂
6. A small pet peeve of mine – please don’t demo your login screen unless its something other than username/password. I’m going to watch 500 videos and every single login process is identical (unless of course you’re doing some fancy retinal scan with your webcam, THAT would be sweet!) Save me the 10 seconds.
7. Have fun doing it!