Something I Learned From a Billionaire

Today, I’m going to share with you something I learned while working with a billionaire.

(his name and business is freely revealed in Chapter 1 of my book, Pitch Anything)

Many years ago this billionaire told me (more like yelled at me) “Oren, your head is full of some outdated ideas.”

– telemarketing is dead, stop suggesting we do this to create revenue
– don’t write emails with “to whom it may concern” — it’s embarrassing
– and don’t text your damn girlfriend while I’m talking to you!!

Solid advice for a novice.

Because some ideas just get old and fade away.

For example, this month Funai Electric of Japan will stop making and selling VHS cassette tape players. They were the last company to commercially produce VCRs.

(For those of you who don’t know what a VCR is, it’s that large clock blinking underneath your grandmother’s TV.)

Again, some things that used to work just fine have become outdated and defunct.

Another example, the phrase “Always be Closing” is still around … but it shouldn’t be.

Because those executives (and entrepreneurs) who are “always closing” are perceived as needy.

I suggest you replace always be closing with:

Never be Needy.

Neediness, chasing .. always be closing … these are not attractive traits and behaviors.

People who are needy tend to be sensitive, defensive and want emotional validation. They can be exhausting to deal with. Those who are needy often appear anxious and fearful of making a mistake, they are ever vigilant of what others do and say. They search for clues from others on how to act, what to wear, what to say and what to do.

They frequently misinterpret what they see or hear.

I really like this idea of “never be needy.” It has served me well over the years, helping me close more than 50 venture capital and private equity deals.

If you’re working on a deal, presentation or pitch — and want to make sure you are presenting from strength, without neediness — you can learn more about the methods I use here.

At this point, you would be right to ask: some ideas have expired and become irrelevant (always be closing) … are there ideas that will never fade away or weaken with time?


In one of my conference rooms, I have a 20-foot wide photo of a Nuclear Control Center. For those of you who have visited our headquarters in Southern California, you’ll agree, it’s pretty cool and slightly apocalyptic.

Superimposed on it is the statement:



This is a Truism. It will never become obsolete. It will never ring false.

In my business, where my job is to raise money for this tech company or that medical device company (or sell it to private equity) we use truisms to keep ourselves on track when a large deal runs into problems or we can’t seem to get things working right.

Here are some truths we rely on:

The middle of the road is the most dangerous place to walk.

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Money can’t buy happiness.

You’ve got to play the hand you’re dealt.

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.

These ideas provide me moral compass, or a “true north” that I can follow when there seem to be no good options or a clear path to make money.

What everlasting truths do you rely on and believe in?

Also, check out Pitch Mastery when you have a moment — we have added lots of new content recently.

– Oren

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