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Fix the Pitch

How to craft compelling, dazzling pitchbooks. Thoughts, ideas, and inspiration to help construct advanced financial analysis, build stunning data visualizations and tips for mastering client meetings.

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Adrian Crockett
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Adrian Crockett

CEO & Co-Founder of Pellucid Analytics. Former Credit Suisse group head with nearly 20 years on Wall Street. Melding design, analytics, and tech to produce amazing client-ready content in minutes.

How investment banks will benefit from the first wave of machine learning

How machine learning can cut costs for investment banks. How are you going to adopt machine learning at your organization? Machine learning may not have crossed your mind yet, but it’s definitely on the rada…

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What’s missing from pitchbook creation?

When creating pitchbooks, testing ideas and applying existing knowledge can elevate a pitchbook. So why doesn't this happen? I’ve spent almost 20 years working in the trenches of investment banks, producing a…

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Banking automation is here. Are you ready?

Goldman Sachs' Deal Link platform automates about half of the IPO deal process. Why bankers shouldn't be worried about robots. A couple of weeks ago Goldman Sachs announced Deal Link, a platform that automate…

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Is your pitchbook stack in place?

For boutique investment banks, an effective pitchbook stack is essential to making content faster, better, and easier to create. Whether you’re striking out on your own after years at a large firm, or have be…

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Why investment banks should embrace crowdsourcing

What if you could crowdsource a list of comps from all the other bankers in your firm? For the last 15 years of my time on Wall Street, I ran what many banks call either the Financial Strategies Group or the…

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The grittier the banker, the better

Investment banking is a competitive environment. And while you may be talented, do you have the "grit" necessary to get ahead of the bell curve? You may have come across Angela Duckworth’s best-selling book G…

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Step-up to better pitchbook line charts

Some data and chart combinations simply don't work and will result in a bad meeting. Why this is a better chart to use for target price data. Understanding data before plotting it is the critical first step i…

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Junior bankers can only write what they know

If we don't nurture the writing skills analysts and associates, are we creating an industry where no one knows how to craft a pitchbook? The ability to write—to clearly convey ideas, thoughts or concept…

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Junior bankers, do you know your optimal stopping point?

When creating pitchbooks for senior bankers, when is an further effort a waste of time? Recently, I wrote an article discussing the differing perspectives of junior bankers versus senior bankers when it comes…

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Strats: The future of investment banking

Why Wall Street should look to Goldman Sachs' Strats division for the future of banking. And the skills needed to be successful. Goldman Sachs is the most venerated investment bank on Wall Street. If you’ve e…

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What I learned from a year of publishing on LinkedIn

In 2016, I published 40 articles about investment banking and pitchbooks to LinkedIn Pulse. Here's what I learned. About a year ago, Pellucid’s VP of marketing asked me how I’d feel about publishing articles…

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“Similar. But different”: innovation in pitchbook visualizations

Is a benchmarking ever just a benchmarking chart? At Pellucid, we spend a lot of time thinking about pitchbook content. And we’ve noticed that similar to the adage “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” inno…

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You created a pitchbook. So what?

When creating a lengthy pitchbook for a client meeting, how asking "so what?" can ensure you are delivering insights and not just repeating data. “If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation;…

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Why your pitchbook needs a rearview mirror

Backtesting is an unsung hero of investment banking. Why this analysis should be included in your pitchbook. Rationally, clients know you can’t see into the future. And I’m sure no-one wishes that wasn’t the…

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Investment bankers and micro-content, an emerging love story

Sending a sample chart to a client in advance can save hours in pitchbook production. Ask any junior banker on what they spend the most time and producing content is likely to be near the top of the list. As…

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Are you ready to find new clients?

Finding and engaging with new clients can be the difference between hearing about that deal, and being the one to execute it. Is your tech prepared? Whether you started your own boutique bank or joined an exi…

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The two ways you need to calculate pitchbook costs

Most banks don't really know how much is spent on pitchbook production. Here's how to break down the costs. In meetings with clients, one thing we always talk about is how to evaluate the power of Pellucid.…

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Junior bankers: avoid the pitfalls of a bad histogram

A badly labeled chart can throw a wrench in a client meeting. Avoid the perils of a poorly executed histogram. Perhaps before you began your banking career you were introduced to histograms in a statistics cl…

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Should investment bankers optimize email subject line length?

The average person receives over 100 emails a day. How can you ensure yours is read? The average business person receives 125 emails a day. That’s one every three minutes. When I worked at Credit Suisse, I re…

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Has Google made knowledge workers irrelevant?

The evolution of the knowledge worker and why bankers should consider themselves "smart creatives." Investment bankers can be categorized as belonging to the “knowledge worker” employee pool. A term coined by…

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How many pitches result in a mandate?

How recording client insights, timing meetings correctly and increasing speed to meeting can boost your ratio of pitch:wins. What is your pitch:win ratio? How many of your pitches become mandates? Or, put ano…

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For memorable pitchbooks, three is the magic number

Asking clients to remember 12 things is asking them to work too hard. How to make your pitches more memorable. If you really want to feel good about yourself, the day after your next client meeting ask the cl…

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An alternative take on the share price chart

Instead of another share price chart, use a waterfall chart to break down share price movements and take your analysis one step further. One of the things we spend a lot of time thinking about at Pellucid is…

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What bankers can learn from the military

The army's "after-action reviews" help it perfect strategies and learn from mistakes. Which is exactly why you need to adopt the process. The U.S. Army’s Opposing Force (OPFOR) is always the enemy. Based in…

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No one is reading your executive summary

How tapping into the knowledge of designers can increase the visibility of your pitchbook content to make sure your key points land. If you’ve ever worked with designers you will know that, on the whole, they…

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How to read 52 books a year

Something nearly all successful business people do is read. A lot. How to make time in your schedule for continous learning. Things can move overwhelmingly fast in business. With probably over a hundred (mayb…

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Nice guys finish first

In banking, focusing on practical skill development will get you far, but it won't get you the corner office. Clients need to like you before you can execute their deals. Type A. Competitive. High achiever. A…

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Bankers are smart....aren’t they?

Why wanting to have a beer with someone is a better predictor of success than education, experience, knowledge, or intellect. Any incoming class of bankers will likely be top performers from some of the world…

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The pitchbook paradox

A banker's most valuable asset is strategic advice, yet pitchbook creation means it’s what they spend the least amount of time developing. As a banker, part of the job I always enjoyed the most was solving th…

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Deceptively simple: benchmarking charts

Benchmarking charts feature in nearly every pitchbook. Yet, each time they are created, they are a bespoke piece of content. I have good news and bad news about benchmarking charts. The good news is that the…

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Why bankers still need to play Liar’s Poker

It may have dwindled in popularity, but playing Liar's Poker allows bankers to practice and master important necessary skills. Twenty years ago, if you asked any banker, “When was the last time you played Lia…

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Why bankers think they scrub numbers. And why they actually do

Scrubbing numbers isn't just for standardizing data or learning the ropes. Scrubbing numbers is an important and expensive activity, necessary to the work of an investment banker. First, there is the fee ban…

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Are you using the right data visualization?

Pitchbook visualizations, like the data they contain, are nuanced. And what works for one banker may not work for another. Investment bank management teams widely believe that the effective use of data visual…

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For meetings, better never than late

Five minutes early is on time. On time is late. Late is unacceptable. Why you should apply the "start time rule" to meetings. Perhaps because of our relative isolation, or maybe because we were more willing t…

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Pitchbooks: Ideas are cheap, execution isn’t

Strategic ideas are a banker's best asset. But more ideas means more content has to be created. Welcome to the pitchbook paradox. Costing around $40,000 on average, pitchbooks are an expensive yet necessary p…

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Forget utility belts, just hand me a smartphone

While banking can be slow to adopt tech, investment bankers are always on the hunt for tools to give a competitive edge. Very early on I learned the benefit of having a little insider scoop about someone with…

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Combinatorial innovation isn’t just for startups, it's also for pitchbooks

Every new client problem requires combining existing pieces in new ways. Would you consider yourself a combinatorial innovator? No? Never heard the phrase before? I first came across it from Hal Varian, Go…

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Share repurchases: Don’t shoot the executioner

If the treasury team had the ability to predict future share prices, I'm pretty sure they would work somewhere else. A company’s decision to repurchase shares doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a strategic move t…

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But what goes into a pitchbook exactly?

We undertook an audit of over 2,000 pitchbooks to see what goes into them exactly. We found not all pitchbooks are the same, far from it. We know, and you probably know too, that the pitchbook creation proces…

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When your analysis doesn’t work

Sometimes the smartest thing you can say is, “The data doesn’t really say anything. We need to look elsewhere for insight.” Let’s be frank. During the past three or four months if you’ve caught any of the pre…

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Why I won’t accept your LinkedIn invitation to connect

How junior bankers should expand their network and the tactic they should avoid. You’re new to the industry, you’re enthusiastic about building relationships and connections, and LinkedIn is like a massive ne…

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Should investment banking adopt an apprenticeship model?

Instead of throwing money and promotions at new recruits, should banks employ a model of learning? In banking recruitment, the phrase “junior banker problem” probably inspires at least one of the following th…

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Explaining mean reversion to clients using a data visualization and a dog

How to explain what you mean when you say, "It look's cheap." Walking my Australian Cattle Dog in Prospect Park over the weekend, two things came to mind. The first was, that despite it being April, we were i…

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How much does a pitchbook cost?

An average pitchbook costs about $40,000 to produce. Check out the Pitchbook Calculator to see how much yours cost. Lawyers, management consultants, doctors, advertising executives—all careers with a cl…

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Why a square filled doughnut is actually a waffle

Despite being a commonly used pitchbok visualization, pie charts are frequently misued. Here's why. At least once a week someone at Pellucid Analytics has a rant about a bad visualization. And while we admit…

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The eight pillars of Pellucid

To solve the pitchbook problem, it's a questions of which skills, not which backgrounds: The eight core skills of Pellucid Analytics. I can recall a conversation I had around the time I started Pellucid Analy…

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Is your risk management strategy imaginary?

A lot of time is spent on risk modeling, but more time needs to be spent on the underlying correlation assumptions. If you’re a homeowner, and you want to be well-diversified against the risk of nowhere to li…

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How to get clients to say “yes”

The more often a client says yes, the more often a pitch leads to a mandate. And data visualizations can be used to get you there. We’re all vulnerable to the persuasion and influence of others. From teenage…

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Why new approaches to education shouldn’t stay in the classroom

How the adoption of MOOCs could revolutionalize the analyst onboarding process A friend of mine, a professor at an Ivy League school, asked me how my wife and I were preparing to cover the college education c…

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Data needs visualization AND transformation

It's not enough to just use a visualization, you have to transform the data into something meaningful first. A side-effect of big data is that in an effort to extract insights from it there has been an increa…

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Future banking teams: Leveraging humans and computers

At investment banks, a new approach to KPOs will automate lower-level work, reduce costs, and provide more value. You probably don’t know Alok Aggarwal. But there is a fair chance you’re familiar with the con…

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Big data: You're gonna need a better chart

Not every banker can, nor should, be a data scientist, but they should be a data samurai. The importance of a good visualization. Every day 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created. Ninety percent of the worl…

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Curation: It doesn’t only belong in a museum

If you can curate information to the needs and interests of clients, you can cut down on pitchbook churn. Ask junior investment bankers on what they spend most of their time, and pitchbooks will usually be th…

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Why STEAM power is the future

The combination of creative AND technical ability is America’s secret sauce to continued prosperity and engine of future economic development Innovation is touted as the panacea to volatile economic environme…

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Compound charts: The visualization you’ve been waiting for

The popularity of infographics shows how different chart elements can be combined to tell a comprehensive story. Data is everywhere, reporting on everything. Its abundance means more situations can be modele…

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The one simple rule for a great pitchbook

As a banker, the best piece of career advice I ever received had nothing to do with scrubbing numbers, building models, or conducting an analysis. The best piece of career advice I ever received had nothing t…

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I can kanban, can you?

How adopting the kanban methodology, investment bankers can better manage and update client resources and strategies while on the move. At Pellucid Analytics I get to work with many non-bankers. My team has a…

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It’s election time. Will there be a spike in special dividends?

Presidential election season is in full swing. What could this mean for special dividend declarations? The re-emergence of Sarah Palin and her run-on sentences means presidential election season is in full sw…

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What “less is more” means for junior bankers

How to balance a rich, layered story with the power of a single takeaway message by using the "less is more" approach. “Less is more.” A well-known phrase with dual meaning. It was made popular by architect L…

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What investment bankers can learn from chess

Supercomputers changed the way chess is played. What does this mean for investment bankers? You think this is going to be about how chess can teach critical thinking, don’t you? Nope. And nope, this isn’t a…

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A share price chart is a waste of time

CFOs know their company share price. In fact, they know more about their company than any banker. So why tell them something they already know? That is if it tells you something you already know. Before I g…

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The great junior banker disconnect

If junior bankers invest energy into making pitchbooks better, will it be recognized? How can the pitchbook creation process be fixed? A banker’s life can be compartmentalized into two buckets: pitching and e…

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2016: The year of better pitchbooks

Resources to build better pitchbooks. From smart methods of data analysis and building impressive charts, to how to curate and craft the perfect message. Ah, New Year, the time for self-improvement and learni…

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Two steps to become pitch perfect

You get to a client meeting and your 60 minutes is reduced to 30. How to use storyboarding and presentation practice to be prepared. The American Film Institute lists Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dw…

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How to find the best answers to client questions

When, "Is there anything else I can help you with?" leads to oddball questions from clients. “Is there anything else I can help you with?” How many of you conclude client meetings with this question? If you d…

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Will the cost benefit of floating-rate funding continue if the Fed acts?

What would a tightening of credit mean for interest rate swap payouts? Bloomberg Business reports that futures traders think there is a 70% chance the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates this week.…

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Two ways to get better spaghetti charts

Are there ways to make spaghetti charts clearer and more intuitive to read? Two design enhancements to improve your pitchbooks charts. The spaghetti chart. Probably one of the most common visualizations in a…

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Not even Goldman Sachs can clone bankers

As banks introduce solutions to attract and retain employees, what are the technology strategy considerations? Goldman Sachs recently announced new initiatives for its analyst program. Notably quicker promoti…

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The democratization of data and investment bankers

The ubiquity of data means clients aren't impressed by a share price chart. Three ways to channel your inner data scientist. "I used to be like a magician. Pulling out smart things from analysis like rabbits…

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Why I had to leave Wall Street to fix it

One thing I know for certain to be true about today's investment bank: The pitchbook process is broken and it's time to fix it. “That’s not how we do things around here.” It was my ninth day at an investment…

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