I’ve been working on several different varieties of “pitch” in parallel. In one domain, I’m advising some start-ups. In another I am helping to ask the government for research funding.
The differences between these two varieties of pitch is fascinating. Both are, in essence, a process of going up to somebody and saying “give us money.” But after that, things diverge radically.
The people who fund start-ups are mainly interested in one thing — getting lots of money back in return. The people who fund academic research don’t expect to get any money out of it. But they want the future economy to grow.
So on the one hand, you’ve got people who are cannily working in their own personal self-interest. On the other hand you’ve got people who are interested in a very large scale and future looking form of tribal self-interest.
In the larger picture, both forms of support are essential. The academic funding of today produces innovations that will allow tech start-ups to succeed ten or twenty years from now.