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29 Oct 2015

Meet the Judges – Mark Eaves

Tell us about yourself

I’ve worked across the entertainment & communications industry for lots of years, so there are three things I hopefully know well: audiences, brands and storytelling. All of these are crucial elements of a successful start-up.

And four years ago I pursued my own entrepreneurial venture, setting up Gravity Road with my business partner Mark Boyd. We know what Day 1, sat in an empty office with only your ambition looks like.

What will you be looking for in winning pitch?

Insight. Forget the latest tech trends and buzz. What is it about this idea that shows a deep and smart understanding of the audience? Often, start-ups get carried along on a “me-too” wave of energy, which can be fine. But not when it’s at the expense of finding a new insight.

And closely associated with this: don’t confuse technology with human behaviour. There was a great post recently by John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer of Pixar (read it here). It’s a wonderful analysis of the impact of technology on storytelling – the changes it brought, but also the constants that remain. I urge every Pitching company to read it, as there are useful parallels: how will your idea disrupt, but more importantly, what are the constants of human behaviour that you will harness?

Finally, does this group of people have the energy, sense of humour and force of will to create the momentum needed to succeed?

Give us three interesting links for any start-up

I’ll prescribe some audio inspiration: The Recode podcast delivers a consistently brilliant analysis of the tech scene. And good old Auntie’s The Bottom Line is a brilliant archive of business scenarios. Finally, here’s a sparky and discussion about the profound impact of Uber from The Awl.

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