Vine & Startups: Pitch in Six Seconds of Less

Got just 6 seconds? Then please hit “retweet” on this embedded tweet. Watch our 6 second pitch as you tweet.

RT’ing helps us win a professional 60 second explanation video plus exposure on Mashable.

See other #6secondpitch videos here. You can RT them too if you like.

The rest of this post is our experience in distilling your story down to 6 seconds and my experiences with Vine.

Can You Pitch Your Startup in 6 Seconds?

Imagine that feeling. That’s how I felt on Wednesday when I saw this tweet:

How can you pitch an idea in 6 seconds? It felt like madness. I’d not really explored Vine.

Jeffrey Hayzlett has his pitches down to 118 seconds.

6 seconds makes him look a little dated!

I was actually feeling positive. I was thinking why not.

In the last week I followed the advice from this awesome post on KissMetrics

  • Write your script first (total sense, my last video I’d done the reverse – visual first)
  • 150 words max
  • Start with a problem, then pivot to your solution
  • End with a call to action

I’d got our explanation video down to 145 words and 60 seconds.

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Thanks to Audioboo I made and shared several iterations of a 60 second script [ 3 ] [ 2 ] [ 1 ].

The RTs and responses inspired me to want to make the matching video. Here it is.


Shyam and I made this using Screenflow. Shyam has made this slick screen flow a while back, so we wanted to build on that knowledge.

It can take many iterations and the passage of time to get there. My first Powtoon video was not that exciting. I suffered from taking on board too much advice on that project. You can fail at videos just like anything, but trying again is where you really learn. Somehow having the Kissmetrics post as a guide really helped. I had rules to follow and Shyam is great at keeping me practical.

The process of distilling your story is hard. Giving up aspects and features for the sake of clarity and brevity is heartache. Oddly, each of the 4 iterations of the sound track and the 6 iterations of video editing became incrementally easier. Seeking brevity can be addictive.

With a 60 second video and 145 words in hand, I felt like we were in good shape. Like being at the base camp of Everest. 6 seconds was within our grasp. We only had to shed 90% of our content. It’s funny, but once you get into brevity mode it gets easier.

The first thing I did was calculate how many words would it take. 15! Wow.

So I wrote:

Listly: People Powered Lists

We Make Lists Social & Spreadable

Listly Is YouTube for Lists

Lets face it 15 word can’t take long. And I recorded it just to see who it sounded. Wow. Not too bad.

So then I installed Vine, first on my phone, then on my iPad. Yikes. Vine makes the script seem like the easy part.

Next I watched a few Vine samples. I wasn’t too impressed. Using Vine is a big challenge if you have precision in mind. Vine is so unforgiving. The stop start mechanism is awesome, but try doing that and speaking at the same time. It all goes horribly wrong.

What images would I use. What would I shoot? I needed props. How would I coordinate all this. I imagined painting pictures as backdrops. This was all getting too complex. Making a six second video sounds like it should be quick. Wrong!

I decided I’d make a 6 second clip in Screenflow and I’d show some list posts headlines to communicate the notion of lists.

I drop in the Listly logo. I’d made it all in an hour. Recording that was hard enough. It feel like you need lots of people on hand to make a good vine. There was just me, an iMac, and iPad and a microphone. I added a soundtrack (Credit: Movement Proposition – Kevin Macleod)

I noticed all the other Vines were music less because they were recording with their finger.

I published my 1st Vine. A lot harder than it sounds. Vine is good for video only, but sound plus video is very hard. That’s why so many of the videos look so odd. People focus on sound or audio. You can’t easily do both.

I shared with @Casudi, @Steph_Monteuil and Shyam. A v2 vine was looming.

I had some small revisions (show less posts, add in a review and show an actual Listly list). I re-recorded the soundtrack. Saying each word so it can be heard is no mean feat.  I re-record my Vine.  Another hour.

I publish. Job done.

Here’s the Screenflow of the video I used to record for Vine. Someone needs to make an app to make creating Vine’s workable. There’s an opportunity. When I first heard of Vine I thought it was madness, but 6 second is quite a lot. And the looping is quite nice.


All I need you to do is retweet this tweet, in case you missed the chance above. Next stop Mashable, New York and a professional explanation video.



NIck Kellet (130 Posts)

Nick’s ventures range from a visual segmentation tool sold to SAP, to an award winning board game. Today, Nick is co-founder of Listly, raising the profile of lists to be on par with Slideshare & YouTube.