Answering “What do you do?” I Bidvine

I have never really had a quick answer to this question — at least not for the last 15 years or so.

The other day I was again asked the ageless question, “what do you do?” Of course I paused. What’s the quick replying-to-the-owner-of-the-diner answer that explains how you run product in the Canadian-based, remote development shop office of your London, UK-based startup that recently launched to connect local service professionals with people looking to get things done? “I have an internet company” just sounds pretty dumb — believe me — since I’ve tried it several times. Understanding of the world of bits has moved beyond this level and you cannot parallel “I have a trucking company” and “I have an internet company”. We know the Internet is vast and infinitely interesting, and people want to know more — which is great.

Its obvious that since I started working in the world of bits, whether doing sales, product management, corporate venture capital, ad tech or starting two businesses, the world has become far more digitally savvy and connected, but also more removed from understanding the intricacies of the technology and services they are delivering. Who knows how your mobile phone actually works?It shouldn’t be that way. The best way to explain technology of the software or hardware variety — to answer “what do you do?” — is to focus on emotions and outcomes. Sure, what does it do, but also, why do I care? What does it do for me? This ‘what’ and ‘why’, or ‘inform and excite’ as I coached it to sales staff in a previous life, provides core information and explanation, but also the sharable moment of why they should care, and how it makes someone’s life better. If your market is truly broad then you have a number of big challenges, but for those few moments at least, there is a good chance that the person you are speaking to gets rolled up into your target market and can relate.

If you want some help answering this question…just make a video. We did.

Now when people ask what I do, my answer: “I Bidvine