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Revolve Nation Meetup May 9, 2012

Ideas vs. Products, Equity as Compensation, and Interns

The Revolve Nation Boston Entrepreneurs Meetup is the largest community of entrepreneurs and small business owners in the city of Boston, offering networking, discussion groups, seminars, business plan hot-seats, and more. We meet every two weeks on Wednesday nights to network, socialize, learn, and promote a thriving community of entrepreneurs.

1. How do you differentiate pitching an Idea from pitching a Product?

We talked about how to pitch an idea vs. product to either investors or potential customers. For each audience, the approach is completely different. Whether you have a product or an idea, investors care most about team and the business model. However mind-blowing your idea, or however impressive you product is, investors won’t care unless you can show them how it makes money.

Customers, on the other hand, want to know how a product or idea will help them in some way. They aren’t usually impressed with the complexity of an idea, or even the features of a product that might have required skill and finesse to engineer. They usually just want to know, very immediately, how the idea or product improves their life now.

2. How do you hire (and inspire!) Employees for equity, not cash?

Next we talked about how to get somebody to join your project when all you have to pay them with is some stake in your company. Here, the bottom line is convincing the person to join based on your passion and corporate culture. Remember, this person will work with you for essentially no money for 2-5 years. Make sure they share the passion and your devotion to the people working on it.

There are fairly tale endings here, too. Look at Instagram. The employees and founder owned 100 percent of that company, and just shared a billion-dollar payday.

3. How can I utilize and get the most out of interns?

Finally, we spoke briefly about how to effectively use interns.

First, try to get in touch with the career services offices at universities. They have access to eager students, and they know which ones are interested in your business. Making sure your interns care is key because their interest in your industry will make them more productive and reward them with richer experiences and better resume bullet points.

And in closing, be ethical and operate within the law. Pay them the minimum wage if you can, and know when you must pay it. Be frank in job descriptions about day-to-day tasks, because nothing is worse than getting up an intern’s hopes and then sending them for coffee every day. Plus, always remember that they’re counting on this to build their resumes. So make it worthwhile! In the end, it should be a win-win.

If you want to hear more or throw in your two cents, join us at Meetup!

You can contact the author here, and follow @revolvethis and @gerritbetz on Twitter.