The Pitching Skill

What’s the secret to unlimited opportunities? Why do some people get more opportunities than you? We grow up learning that you need to work hard and smart. It will result in more time, money and freedom. We can then work on whatever we want. We undermine the role of pitching our ideas and ourselves.

I started my career working on custom boot and build systems.  I got the opportunity by sending out an email to a stranger on a mailing list. I sold them the idea through my profile that I may be able to solve systems problems. I demonstrated that I can solve a C programming problem and work through the solution. The reward for solving that problem was permanent employment with salary and benefits. My next goal in two years was to join a graduate program. This time I had to write a good essay to study computer science at university. I did not practice writing good essays for two years. I wondered, why I did not practice essay writing for years? I was not taught how to pitch myself.

Pitching became second nature when I started a company. If you pitch well, you can raise money and grow your company. Pitching teaches you a lot about yourself. A person we gave an offer to asked us, "Will you be able to support remote work?". I knew we lacked experience in managing a remote team member. I also lacked the ability to convince them otherwise. Every conversation felt like I had to convince someone else that our idea was worth it. A good pitch can give you access to an otherwise impossible opportunity.

The pitch-do-check loop will help you build credibility over time.

Pitching is to convince someone (yourself included) that your future work is valuable. Don't confuse pitching for doing the actual work. Doing the work makes your old pitch authentic. Your initial pitch will not get any takers, pitch anyways. Do the pitch and the work. Check your work and refine your pitch. The pitch-do-check loop will help you build credibility over time.

Do you have a rejected idea?  A pitch for your startup, book proposal, a new idea in your team. Start with any rejected idea. Do work towards it for a week. Refine your pitch. Share the new pitch with progress. Get feedback from another person. It takes time for your work to speak for itself. Pitching is a skill that helps you jump that queue. I was an outsider to computer vision. I spent a long time pitching and building products that use computer vision. The ability to pitch mixed with a lot of luck has helped me land great opportunities.

The important thing is to take that first step. Bravely overcoming one small fear gives you the courage to take on the next. - Daisaku Ikeda

A lot of individuals are never exposed to the benefits of pitching well. They've closed themselves to a large number of opportunities.   Daisaku Ikeda writes, "The important thing is to take that first step. Bravely overcoming one small fear gives you the courage to take on the next." Each one of us can take that first step. I would love to live in a world where each individual has access to the best opportunities. Pitching their grandest ideas and doing their best work.

Gaining clarity

The past one year has been a time for deep introspection about why I am doing what I do. How can I continue doing what I want to do and what my moral compass is? Three encounters evolved me over the past one year - Buddhism, Amit Varma and my curiosity.

One non-negotiable idea as a Buddhist is that each person is capable and enlightened. “A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, can even enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.”  - Daisaku Ikeda, The New Human Revolution. I’ve chanted Nam Myoho Renge Kyo over a large part of my life.  It's been a great way for self-introspection and challenging my fears. 

My writer friend Manu Pillai introduced me to the podcast,  The Seen and the Unseen . The title of the show itself was interesting enough to give it a shot. The conversations provided practical examples of cause-effect relationships. The podcast gave examples applying economic reasoning and probabilistic thinking. It helped that the guests and the host cared enough about each other and the subject they were discussing. It also helped that these people had lived experiences about the subject at hand.

My trust in Amit Varma based on his podcast made the course, The Art of Clear Writing a must sign-up course. I started logging in at 5:30 AM PT every Saturday of August 2020. All good instructors make you uncomfortable in a good way, Amit was no exception. He forced us to build a writing habit. He once shared the following, “I liked the way it began, with quick action and a sense of this lively girl in a precarious world. But then the piece became overwrought. One sign of that happening is when you have sentences that don't add anything new to the story, which happened a bit in the second half. From painting a picture, as the first half did, the piece became a sentimental lament, and that didn't work for me.” 

Amit’s final class had a recommendation of writing 200 words every day. It took me a few weeks to get started but here I am finished with two notebooks with my daily journal entries.

Here are a few journal entries from there



I am a curious person who is trying to understand myself and the world around me. In modern society separating the two is close to impossible. We are more dependent on each other than we were at any other time in history. This curiosity combined with a process of writing and chanting daily has taken me to the next step.

We are all on a journey to gain clarity in our life. Board the train of curiosity and you will enjoy the boredom. With consistency, you also will gain some clarity. 


I wanted to thank my family, clear writing community, friends and peers who pushed me to get this off the ground. You know who you are.