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The Pitchwerks Podcast

If you want to know how the best sales & marketing people think, if you're looking for another perspective on a problem, or if you're dreaming of a new career or a startup: Get on it now! Spend your time wisely - on personal & professional development. Learn everything from startup sales and initial marketing to account management and advertising. Subscribe to The Pitchwerks Podcast. Scot MacTaggart has been a sales rep, a marketer, a manager, a consultant, an executive and an advisor for over 20 years.  He created The Pitchwerks Podcast to help you to reach your business goals by learning from the experiences of others. Each week, Scot and his extensive network of contacts provide unique insights and examples that can help anyone - from the newbie to the veteran. Learn to present your ideas, explain your value and build your business.  Subscribe to The Pitchwerks Podcast!
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Now displaying: 2017
Nov 15, 2017

Nearly all climate scientists agree that climate change is real and driven by human activity.  Even if you don’t believe that, you have to admit that reducing pollution and preserving natural resources are good goals anyway.  Here in the US though, the climate change and pollution questions have gone political, and this has stalled some of our efforts to improve on the situation.

 

That’s where Stacie Paxton Cobos, the Senior Vice President of The Climate Reality Project (www.climaterealityproject.org) comes in.  Stacie and the Climate Reality Leadership Corps came to Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center, and they were kind enough to accommodate us in talking about how the organization teaches activists to de-politicize the issue and convince their fellow Americans to demand progress.

 

This episode, Stacie talks with Scot MacTaggart about the various ways that the mission can be framed, the persuasive methods employed around science and policy, and the ways in which audiences evaluate those efforts.

Nov 8, 2017

If you remember Pitchwerks #33, when Samantha Bute Hartzman told us about the Invest In Her women’s pitch competition, you know that it’s a popular event - and growing.  This week, we take a unique approach to covering the finals, speaking to each contestant right as they come down off the stage.  Stomachs jumping, hearts racing, tongues tied, they are rushed from the stage back to the Pitchwerks Podcast media booth for a surprise interview.  Like the finalists they are, they actually do a really great job.  This year’s finalists:

 

  • Theresa Baughman, FizzPop - Winner, Products
  • Laura Totin Codori, Worm Return
  • Diane Danforth, Americat Company
  • Debbie Jacknin, Songbird Artistry
  • Mary Jane McCullough, Global Wordsmiths - Winner, Audience Choice
  • Erica Peterson, Moms Can Code - Winner, Services
  • Katt Schuler, Rolling Pepperoni
  • Debralyn Woodberry-Shaw, ELIE Circle
Nov 1, 2017

Matt Vendeville has a big, ambitious startup idea...but he’s 24 years old, and he lives in Pittsburgh, which is suffering a serious shortage in angel investment right now.  Rather than complaining about this fact though, Matt built that shortage into his planning.  He started a socially conscious company called Circa City Apparel with the intent of using that company’s profits to fund a larger, more complex endeavor later down the road.  

 

This week, Matt comes into the Epicast studios for a “Werkshop” with Scot MacTaggart, in the hopes that he and Scot can develop strategies that will grow Circa City as fast as possible, and get his stealth startup off the ground.

Oct 25, 2017

BoXZY and Olga Pogoda are back!  How can this be, you ask?  Well, Olga’s a crowdfunding consultant now, and BoXZY is launching a new 3D printer product, which they were willing to discuss with Scot.  Kind of.  Check out this extended-length episode to find out what our friends Joel Johnson and Hadley Pratt have been up to over the last year, how Olga plans to help them with their upcoming Kickstarter, and what everyone has learned along the way!

Oct 18, 2017

Over the last three years, Christine Iksic has been doing two jobs.  One as “The GPS Lady” for Precision Laser & Instrument, selling the Trimble GPS to businesses that need high-accuracy location tech.  The other job got her a spot on this week’s show though: she is the co-founder of the Three Rivers Outdoor Company, which just launched an Indiegogo campaign at its retail pop-up, “Gearfest”,  on October 14th  

 

This is a great episode, because Christine used all that mapping knowledge she’d built up in the GPS business to validate her market research and to identify the best locations for a retail location.  Christine represents the best of both worlds - a great energy and passion for what she’s doing, and a smart, analytical approach to strategy.  

Oct 11, 2017

Earlier this year, Scot got a call.  It was Kenny Chen, Program Director for Ascender, past guest (Pitchwerks #45), Thrival mastermind, and all-around great guy.   Kenny wanted Scot to moderate a panel called “It’s Not Just About the Tech” at Thrival Innovation, featuring some seriously amazing guests:

  • 500 Startups Partner Sheel Mohnot
  • Harry’s Grooming & Thrive Capital Talent & Operations Consultant Laura Willming
  • Kelevra Ideas Partner Bill Fletcher
  • Pinterest Director of Vertical Strategy Brian Monahan

 

Then, Kenny did something for YOU:  He grabbed the audio from the stage team and let Pitchwerks producer Buzzy Torek clean it up so we could share it here.  There are a couple of rough patches where you’ll hear room noise, or interference hit the wireless mics and we got a buzzing sound, but those are short.  It’s a really informative discussion though, jammed with insight.  We hope you get as much out of it as we did.

Oct 4, 2017

We’ve seen the parallels between presentation and stage performance before - so this week, we brought in an expert on acting and improv.  This episode features Scott Nunnally, a thoroughly experienced teacher of acting and improvisation, as well as the host of the new YouTube movie review series “Something’s Spoiled”.  

Mr. Nunnally explains how to work as part of a team, on stage or in the boardroom, and discuss a range of useful topics, including what makes a good teammate, audience reactions, and how relaxation affects performance.  

Oct 4, 2017

We’ve seen the parallels between presentation and stage performance before - so this week, we brought in an expert on acting and improv.  This episode features Scott Nunnally, a thoroughly experienced teacher of acting and improvisation, as well as the host of the new YouTube movie review series “Something’s Spoiled”.  

Mr. Nunnally explains how to work as part of a team, on stage or in the boardroom, and discuss a range of useful topics, including what makes a good teammate, audience reactions, and how relaxation affects performance.  

Sep 27, 2017

You knew we’d get here eventually - dressing for success!  But, as all things, we prefer to put our own unique spin on the topic.  This week, fashion designer Kiya Tomlin stops by the Epicast Studios to talk to Scot MacTaggart about her Uptown line (uptownsweats.com), which clothing rules are changing, and which ones shouldn’t.  

 

Someday, Kiya hopes to make Uptown a household name, indispensable to modern women, and available in department stores.  In the second half of the show, she and Scot discuss how those goals might be broken into smaller ones - and develop two or three ideas as takeaways.  

Sep 21, 2017

In a very special crossover event this week, Scot brings in Aaron Watson, a successful and well-rounded podcast host who has nearly 250 episodes on the books, and then immediately sits down with Aaron for an episode of Aaron’s own show, Going Deep.  

 

Aaron is a genuinely curious host and entrepreneur who has built a brand around quality information, direct from the source.  Always working to hone his craft,, Aaron reveals the shows and hosts that he listens to himself, and talks quite a bit about how he has been able to land interviews with some of the world’s foremost experts across a number of fields.  

 

Be sure to check out Going Deep with Aaron Watson today to find out what happens when the table flips, and Aaron starts asking the questions!

Sep 13, 2017

Fearless founder Erica Peterson visits the Epicast Studios to talk about her personal perspective on starting new projects.  Erica is known for Science Tots, a non-profit STEM program for younger kids, and Moms Can Code, a membership organization that connects women that want to explore how software gets written.

 

This week, Erica tells Scot about how she chooses projects, the value of jumping right into them, and the differences between for-profit and non-profit organizations.  Later, the pair delve into a more universal conversation about what dads need to know about the Moms Can Code experience.  

Sep 6, 2017

Crowdfunding.  Everyone is talking about it - from students in entrepreneurial programs to established businesspeople - but most people don’t know anyone who’s actually been through it.

 

Enter Matt Verlinich of Verlinich Labs. As a single member LLC, Matt ran a very successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, selling a tray for making crystal-clear ice cubes at home. The effort paid off. The product made its way into 56 different countries. Matt tells Scot about the all ups and the downs - with a focus on the things you wouldn’t have guessed.

Aug 30, 2017

Few people have earned entrepreneurial merit badges that this week’s guest has collected.  Greg Coticchia, the Director of the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute’s “Blast Furnace” student accelerator program, is now giving students the benefit of his experience, giving back to the community after having been in startup mode for decades.  

 

Greg has raised nearly $100 million in funding for his various startups, earned some massive exits, and had some...learning opportunities along the way.  Seven years ago, he settled down for a one year contract with the University’s new Blast Furnace program, and now he’s taking applications for BF Cohort #6 and teaching MBA students about marketing.  

 

This week, he sits down in the Epicast Studios and tells Scot MacTaggart his secrets of pitching anyone - from an angel investor to a large client.  Don’t miss it!

Aug 23, 2017

This week’s guest, Queble Technologies CEO Jackson Wang, owns a software firm that develops apps and websites for startups and early stage companies.  

 

Jackson offers Pitchwerks listeners bluntly honest insights and advice.  At 10, his family sent him to live on his own in Shanghai, in pursuit of better education and opportunities.  Now at the ripe old age of 25, he is living on the opposite side of the planet, he’s been educated in three countries, and he has learned some of entrepreneurship’s hardest lessons, and he shares them openly on today’s show.

Aug 16, 2017

The Thrival innovation and music festival is coming up at the end of September!  Now seems like the perfect time to talk to Kenny Chen, the socially-minded program director of Ascender, the economic laboratory that brings the event together each year.  

 

Kenny and Scot start out discussing Kenny’s adventurous transition from school into the workforce, covering “rejection therapy”, dance parties, Hong Kong and Pittsburgh.  Before long, they’re on to what Thrival truly represents, how it connects to Ascender, and ultimately they work together to craft a concise definition of Ascender’s mission, in a fun and friendly pitch dissection segment to close out the show.  

Aug 9, 2017

On this episode of the Pitchwerks Podcast, we’re digging into a web series called Spare Change (sparechange.tv), which started off simply with the band Table Ten, but it has been growing into a show and a business.  Start with a band, then add in a non-profit cause, and local businesses, and watch them come together to create entertainment that profits all three groups.  

This week, Table Ten’s Josh Corcoran and production prodigy Taylor Mantick come into the Epicast Studios to visit Scot MacTaggart and talk about the business model that has taken shape, the rules the band has set for themselves, and what the future might hold for the band that became a business by giving money away.

Aug 2, 2017

Have you got something complicated to sell?  Amanda Lowe can relate.  She and her partner Adam Nelson are the geniuses behind Flywheel, an “organizational design studio” that helps business owners and executives to build a useful and rewarding structure for employees...but it sometimes, people just don’t get it.

Amanda did her undergrad at UC Berkeley and has her Ph.D from Duquesne University, where she spent time as an adjunct professor.  She’s smart, she’s accomplished - and Flywheel is a unique startup.  This week’s episode works just as a cool story.  If you care to dig deeper though, you will find some very useful ideas for selling complex products and services.  

Jul 26, 2017

This week’s show has a lot to offer across a multitude of topics, but here are two really powerful ones to listen for: the largely untapped needs of specialized communities, and the ways that real struggle can give you perspective.

 

Ellen Saksen, cofounder of Go Jane Go, is our guest this week.  Her company set out to build a toolbox for rushed and lonely female business travelers.  They’ve just released Amelia, their first app, into no-cost public beta and are encouraging women to try it out.

 

As a bonus, be sure to check the Pitchcraft blog to see the beautiful slide deck Ellen presented to investors at a recent demo day event!

Jul 19, 2017

Connie Cavrich, Regional Philanthropy Officer for the American Red Cross, sits down in the Epicast Studios with Scot this week to talk about corporate fundraising and volunteer recruitment.  Connie works on a different kind of sales than most of us engage in, but offers useful insights about connecting with your client.

 

This week’s show is also valuable in that it helps to explain the mission and programs of the American Red Cross.  We are living in a time when many of our neighbors just assume that the Red Cross is government funded (it isn’t) or assume that the Red Cross is only mobilized for major events like hurricanes (they deploy literally every day).  

 

We hope that you’ll enjoy this week’s show and learn from Connie’s insights, but we also hope you’ll consider engaging with your local Red Cross office as well.

Jul 12, 2017

It takes a minute for people to understand exactly what Qlicket does.  They understand all of the words individually - wi-fi, survey, service recovery - but something happens when those words get strung together the way Qlicket does it.  Maybe it’s because they DO understand the individual terms, and expect the story to go a different way than it ends up.


Vivek Kumar is the CEO of Qlicket, a guest wi-fi system that asks you to rate your experience in the establishment before joining the network.  Adding this simple step to the standard process gives business owners the chance to fix things that are bugging you - before you leave unhappy.  Vivek comes into the Epicast Network studios to talk to Scot MacTaggart about the product’s success in hotels, its history, and its plans for expansion.

Jul 5, 2017

Pitchwerks host Scot MacTaggart has an emotional relationship with the English language, and this week’s guest Alan Houser comes into the Epicast Network studios to balance things out with a more analytical approach.  Alan is a technical writing consultant.  His firm, Group Wellesley, helps companies to create, edit, translate and just generally manage the very important documents that businesses depend on.  

 

Alan has a successful consulting practice, and is a past president of the Society for Technical Communication, and the two men spend some time discussing the sales and marketing efforts that success was built on.  

 

Sure, we know you’re not a technical writer, but this week’s show is about more than that.  MacTaggart and Houser discuss the very nature of business communication, and their analysis turns up interesting insights throughout the show.

Jun 28, 2017

If you’ve ever doubted yourself at work, be sure to listen to this week’s show.  Mike Neilson’s fields of expertise before setting out on his own were business software and marketing.  Two years ago, he launched a product called Switcheroo (switcheroo.com), and it required very different expertise - electrical engineering, intellectual property, industrial design, manufacturing, distribution and retailing.  

 

Mike’s story is a great one, perfect for The Pitchwerks Podcast.  It’s about making a plan and sticking to it - adapting when necessary - until all the tasks on the list have been checked off, and you’re finally satisfied.  

Jun 21, 2017

Mike Stafiej, the president of PICLIF, knows that a lot of disruptive young B2B companies start off with the assumption that they will continually need to check in on their clients over a period of time - a model where a lot of “account managers”, “customer success” people, and “client satisfaction” staff need to be hired.

 

Mike set PICLIF up to be different.  Together with his trusted advisors, Mike set PICLIF up to grow quickly.  The company uses a B2B technology sales model to sell to funeral homes, but rather than pinning their hopes of success onto a large scale field team’s ability to upsell and after-sell, they are working a high-speed market penetration strategy instead.

Jun 14, 2017

GIS Associates is a government-relations firm, and vice president Peter Madaus has been there for 18 years.  If you don’t know what that means, or what he does, you’re not alone.  Apparently a lot of people have this problem, so it’s good we’re doing a show about it.  

 

Like a lot of lobbyists and government consultants, Peter doesn’t enjoy prospecting and selling.  He’s totally comfortable working with representatives and senators, but when it comes to approaching prospects and seeking out new work, he’s just like the rest of us.  Peter and Scot talk about using a “referral first” strategy for initial conversations, and also spend time discussing how entrepreneurs might use government relations services.  

Jun 7, 2017

This week, Scot goes to San Francisco to chat with Jason Putorti, a well-known and respected interface designer & civic technology innovator.  Several of his past projects have been aimed at solving issues in civic engagement, but his latest one is creating a nationwide buzz.  

 

Resistbot (text RESIST to 50409) connects you to your elected officials as soon as the mood strikes.  It’s different from Jason’s past civic tech projects, in that there’s no app or specialized interface - Resistbot works on whatever SMS chat app you already have on your phone.  For bonus points, it works on Facebook Messenger and Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices too.  

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