Rank #1: Pitchwerks #131 - Vivek Kumar and John Goldschmidt | Qlicket
The last time Vivek Kumar was in the studio, this fine program was celebrating its 40th episode, and Qlicket was primarily selling into the hospitality space. A lot has happened since then, including the addition of John Goldschmidt, who brought a history of sales, business development, and customer success. The company has been tested several times, and in several ways, since Vivek’s last visit. This week, Vivek and John come in to speak with Scot MacTaggart about pivots and struggles, and the huge month-over-month gains that they’re now seeing since they’ve adapted and survived.
Rank #2: Pitchwerks #120 - Francois Levy | Levy Industrial
Francois Gau has managed major initiatives for some huge worldwide corporations including Honeywell and Kennametal, but he started out as an accountant and innovator in Toulouse in Southern France. He now owns Levy Industrial, which helps companies from $25 - $200 million per year to upgrade their processes and integrate their departments so that they can attract new clients, keep existing ones and multiply their revenues. In this extended-length episode, Francois tells Scot MacTaggart about his “sweet spot” method for quickly identifying opportunities for improvement, the value of ethnography (cultural study), and a practice he swears by called “hard listening”. These tactics have served him well over the years, and resulted in major improvements for manufacturing and industrial firms as well as their clients.
Rank #3: Pitchwerks #33 - Samantha Bute Hartzman says you ARE ready to pitch today
This week, Samantha Bute Hartzman from Invest in Her (weinvestinher.org) stops into the Epicast Studios for a fun show with good chemistry. The two talk about the pitch competition Invest in Her is known for, the problem it is intended to solve, and how people get ready. Sam and Scot talk about Sam’s top frustration - women thinking they aren’t ready to pitch their businesses - at length. It’s a fun, frank, collaborative conversation where the host and the guest pull no punches as they try to find ways to help Invest in Her and address its core mission.
Rank #4: Pitchwerks #47 - Greg Coticchia | University of Pittsburgh Blast Furnace
Few people have earned entrepreneurial merit badges that this week’s guest has collected. Greg Coticchia, the Director of the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute’s “Blast Furnace” student accelerator program, is now giving students the benefit of his experience, giving back to the community after having been in startup mode for decades. Greg has raised nearly $100 million in funding for his various startups, earned some massive exits, and had some...learning opportunities along the way. Seven years ago, he settled down for a one year contract with the University’s new Blast Furnace program, and now he’s taking applications for BF Cohort #6 and teaching MBA students about marketing. This week, he sits down in the Epicast Studios and tells Scot MacTaggart his secrets of pitching anyone - from an angel investor to a large client. Don’t miss it!
Rank #5: Pitchwerks #37 - Mike Stafiej and PICLIF have a streamlined growth plan
Mike Stafiej, the president of PICLIF, knows that a lot of disruptive young B2B companies start off with the assumption that they will continually need to check in on their clients over a period of time - a model where a lot of “account managers”, “customer success” people, and “client satisfaction” staff need to be hired. Mike set PICLIF up to be different. Together with his trusted advisors, Mike set PICLIF up to grow quickly. The company uses a B2B technology sales model to sell to funeral homes, but rather than pinning their hopes of success onto a large scale field team’s ability to upsell and after-sell, they are working a high-speed market penetration strategy instead.
Rank #6: Pitchwerks #55 -BoXZY, A Year Later
BoXZY and Olga Pogoda are back! How can this be, you ask? Well, Olga’s a crowdfunding consultant now, and BoXZY is launching a new 3D printer product, which they were willing to discuss with Scot. Kind of. Check out this extended-length episode to find out what our friends Joel Johnson and Hadley Pratt have been up to over the last year, how Olga plans to help them with their upcoming Kickstarter, and what everyone has learned along the way!
Rank #7: Pitchwerks #90 - Nick Comanici | Carney, TacticsNotHacks.com
SO VERY MUCH THIS WEEK! Nick Comanici, the Chief Marketing Officer of Carney, comes in to talk about his perspectives on what works and what doesn’t. Nick has a couple of mantras. The first one - “Do the Hard Thing” - fits perfectly here in Pitchwerkstown. The second - “Email is NOT Dead” - has statistics and results to back it up. In a wide ranging conversation, Nick and Scot cover opinions on recruiting marketers, on building an email list, brand awareness versus funnel metrics, punk rock, movies, and overnight success schemes. You’re definitely getting your money’s worth this week!
Rank #8: Pitchwerks #80 - Max Miller | Washington & Jefferson College
This week’s guest is helping to launch the Washington Area Business Incubator in Washington, Pennsylvania. Max Miller is a JD and an MBA, formerly of HJ Heinz, but now he’s a professor at Washington & Jefferson College, teaching entrepreneurship and related skills. Washington PA is a small town, W&J is a small college, and the strategy that they’ve developed along with other leaders in the area suits the people and opportunities of this small, somewhat rural area rather than imposing a one-size-fits-all approach.
Rank #9: Pitchwerks #77 - Lisa Davidson | The Outsourced Sales Manager on Time Management
Our buddy Lisa Davidson is back, talking about all the various implications of how you manage your time as you try to build your book of business - and the result is a lot of fun. Lisa tells Scot about her own time management techniques, and how to balance the demands of managers, customers, and networking -- but the two old friends have a hard time staying serious the whole time.
Rank #10: Pitchwerks # 31 - Comedy is work. Ask stand-up comedians Ed Bailey and Day Bracey
Just like comic books, podcasts sometimes have crossover events. This is one of those. Ed Bailey and Day Bracey - better known as the Drinking Partners from Pittsburgh’s favorite podcast of the same name - bring their stand-up superpowers into the studio to share what it looks like when THEY have to give a presentation for work! Whatever you’re looking for in a Pitchwerks episode - sales, marketing, entrepreneurial thinking - this one has it. Self-confidence? Check. Presentation advice? Yup. Product testing strategy? You know it. And a social media prize giveaway too!
Rank #11: Pitchwerks #46 - Jackson Wang - Queble Technologies
This week’s guest, Queble Technologies CEO Jackson Wang, owns a software firm that develops apps and websites for startups and early stage companies. Jackson offers Pitchwerks listeners bluntly honest insights and advice. At 10, his family sent him to live on his own in Shanghai, in pursuit of better education and opportunities. Now at the ripe old age of 25, he is living on the opposite side of the planet, he’s been educated in three countries, and he has learned some of entrepreneurship’s hardest lessons, and he shares them openly on today’s show.
Rank #12: Pitchwerks #59 - Susan English | Gatesman Agency
Get your notebook ready for this week’s show! Susan English is the senior vice president and director of public relations and social media at the multi-talented Gatesman agency, which has won a number of recognizable, high-profile corporate advertising and PR clients despite the fact that the firm is only ten years old. Susan is not messing around. You’re going to learn something this week, and probably get a few new ideas for whatever you’re working on. Susan and Scot cover a lot of different topics, and it turns out to be a master class in messaging!
Rank #13: Pitchwerks #84 - Walking the Floor of the Pittsburgh Business Show
This week, we take the show on the road! We’re at Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center to speak with some of the businesses represented on the floor of the Pittsburgh Business Show, where none of the booths has been prepped to be on the show. Scot speaks with seven different businesses, from food tech to coworking, to hear seven different pitches and how the booth representatives deal with probing questions under pressure. Featured companies include Darieth Chisolm’s 50 Shades of Silence, coworking provider Industrious, and our friend Priya Amin who happens to be working the Flexable booth when Scot comes calling.
Rank #14: Pitchwerks #50 - Aaron Watson | Going Deep
In a very special crossover event this week, Scot brings in Aaron Watson, a successful and well-rounded podcast host who has nearly 250 episodes on the books, and then immediately sits down with Aaron for an episode of Aaron’s own show, Going Deep. Aaron is a genuinely curious host and entrepreneur who has built a brand around quality information, direct from the source. Always working to hone his craft,, Aaron reveals the shows and hosts that he listens to himself, and talks quite a bit about how he has been able to land interviews with some of the world’s foremost experts across a number of fields. Be sure to check out Going Deep with Aaron Watson today to find out what happens when the table flips, and Aaron starts asking the questions!
Rank #15: Pitchwerks #111 - Catherine Mott | Blue Tree Allied Angels
In Western Pennsylvania, even people who don’t work in startups and entrepreneurship know this week’s guest Catherine Mott, and Blue Tree Allied Angels. We’re excited to have Catherine in the studio with Pitchwerks host Scot MacTaggart, talking about angel investment, including common mistakes that startup founders make, due diligence, matching up to the right angel group, and what Catherine looks for in a CEO.
Rank #16: Pitchwerks #108 - Mark DeSantis | RoadBotics
RoadBotics CEO, Carnegie Mellon professor, and veteran entrepreneur Mark DeSantis is our guest this week, sharing educational and inspiring insights with Scot MacTaggart in an extended edition of the Pitchwerks podcast. RoadBotics is an AI company, focusing on the “big and boring” problem of road inspection and analysis, saving municipal clients millions and millions of dollars. In just 20 months they have built a list of 80 clients and raised millions of dollars.
Rank #17: Pitchwerks #22 - John Seiffer guides businesses to repeatable, scalable success
Consultant John Seiffer of CEOBootCamp.com likes to say that he helps businesses through “puberty” - a period where they are becoming what they will ultimately become. This week, John steps behind the mic to talk about making success predictable - and while his specific area of expertise is in guiding companies, many of his observations are valuable for individuals too. When he’s not working with clients, John spends time as an engaged member of the Pittsburgh Entrepreneurs Forum (pghef.com) and its various events.
Rank #18: Pitchwerks #42 -Ellen Saksen - Go Jane Go
This week’s show has a lot to offer across a multitude of topics, but here are two really powerful ones to listen for: the largely untapped needs of specialized communities, and the ways that real struggle can give you perspective. Ellen Saksen, cofounder of Go Jane Go, is our guest this week. Her company set out to build a toolbox for rushed and lonely female business travelers. They’ve just released Amelia, their first app, into no-cost public beta and are encouraging women to try it out. As a bonus, be sure to check the Pitchcraft blog to see the beautiful slide deck Ellen presented to investors at a recent demo day event!
Rank #19: Pitchwerks #79 - Darrin Grove | Truefit
How do you propose a large, complex project with a multitude of possible outcomes? We brought in an expert to answer that very question. That expert is Darrin Grove, the founder and CEO of Truefit, a development firm that has to pitch and plan such projects every day. This week’s show started with Darrin giving Pitchwerks host Scot MacTaggart a tour of his offices and development process, and then the two went to the Epicast studios to record this very special episode, where the two discuss sales qualification, the benefits of an iterative process, and Truefit’s historic headquarters.
Rank #20: Pitchwerks #27 - TechShop's Olga Pogoda on maker spaces, motherhood and the military
If you’ve been to a TechShop, you already know that they open a lot of doors for people. The company had the same effect on Olga Pogoda as an employee. She started out working the front desk a few years ago, and has since expanded her role into building new markets and serving as the the company’s liaison to the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy and the Department of Defense. Olga and her daughter Poppy came into the Epicast Studios to talk a bit about what is working in TechShop’s pitch, what needs some additional refinement, and her personal experiences in the company she loves.