Pitch (Deck) Like a Pro

We sat down with Steve Poland, Managing Director at Z80 Labs in Buffalo, New York, to talk pitch deck importance. After living in ten cities over the course of ten years, Steve returned to his hometown of Buffalo to build up the tech scene.


Here’s what Steve had to say about pitch decks for startups:

  1. His favorite deck of all time is Airbnb’s from 2008
  2. Clear, clean, and easy to understand are key
  3. Business plans are outdated; pitch decks can now serve as a concise template for your business
  4. Pitch decks showcase a business’s expertise and generate a conversation
  5. Even if you’re not pitching to investors, you should still embrace the pitch deck: At some point you’ll be pitching co-founders, employees, partners, customers, press, and more. A pitch deck forces you to refine all aspects of the business.


After informing us of his previously-owned 1,200 usernames on Twitter, including @NFL, @NHL, @NASCAR, and more (yes, you read that right), we wanted more life tips from Steve. Don’t worry–we’ll share them with you:


Here’s what Steve’s reading:

Startup Playbook’ by Y Combinator

‘Art of the Start 2.0’ by Guy Kawasaki

Rework‘ by Jason Fried

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products’ by Nir Eyal


Here’s what Steve’s watching:

How to Start a Startup’ a Stanford lecture series by Y Combinator, taught by billionaires in their 20s & 30s


Want more of Steve? Check out our Instagram (@forty3north) for an exclusive interview and follow Steve on Twitter (@popo)