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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Problems are easy. Solutions aren’t

Patrick RyanPatrick Ryan

In product development, there is an adage “find a problem and solve it”. If you can do this, you have a viable product on your hands and can carve out a path toward building a happy user base.

Finding a problem you can solve is easier said than done.

First, you need to understand the problem really, really, well; you need to become the expert on that particular problem.

For example, the declining bee population is a huge problem, but not one I understand. I may understand components of it (insecticides are killing off bees, so a bee-friendly insecticide is needed), but that’s pretty much the limit of what I know as I don’t have an agricultural or apiarist background. On the surface, it sounds like a simple problem, stop using insecticides, but in reality, most problems are much more complex than they sound or otherwise they would be solved much sooner and easier.

Second, you need to know when the problem is solved. Sticking with bees, is it when insecticides are changed? When the bee decline stops? When there are more bees than people? What if a change in insecticides causes a whole new problem and suddenly we’re overrun with ladybugs?

Knowing when the problem is solved is tightly coupled with understanding the problem, but requires a new perspective. To know if a problem has been solved you need to put yourself in the shoes of the user and ask, “Is the problem solved?” “Did it create a new problem?” “If a piece is unsolved, is that ok?” Some bad solutions do a great job at hiding the fact that they don’t actually solve a problem, and even worse, generate new ones.

Over the past few years, we’ve looked at the pitchbook problem from all of these angles and more, developing a content platform to dramatically increase the speed of pitchbook creation. It centers around a simple mechanism that allows users to specify a visualization, apply data, and receive back a pitchbook-ready piece of content.

Have we automated the entire pitchbook process? No. Because elements such as determining the metrics, deciding the flow, and writing the commentary are not a problem bankers need solved. That’s the stuff that sets pitches apart and wins clients. That’s where bankers get to demonstrate their brilliance and insights. Instead, we focused on the laborious elements that are rinse and repeat with each pitchbook—the number scrubbing, the financial analysis, and the data visualization creation—to reduce pitchbook burden while elevating insights.

How did we know we’d solved the problem? When a client of ours could produce a 59-page pitchbook with 68 charts of various complexities (something that would cost thousands of dollars and days of labor) in ten minutes at less than a dollar per chart using Pellucid.

Let me know if you want to see how Pellucid can solve your pitchbook problems. Email me at

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Patrick Ryan

Patrick Ryan

Chief Product Officer at Pellucid Analytics. Explanatory designer and builder of financial products and tools. Builds own skis. Filling the gap between ideas and execution.