The problem is that most pitches are just some variation of a product meeting a consumer need and selling happily ever after
You're no doubt familiar with the industrial origins of the elevator pitch metaphor: A budding entrepreneur corners the boss in the elevator, pitches the "big idea" in 60 seconds, and secures the deal with a handshake before the doors fly open.
Today, the term "elevator pitch" has permeated mass culture. According to Wired contributor Scott Brown, it is no longer a "sweaty-palmed business ritual." Now, "everybody talks in elevator pitches, tweets in elevator pitches, and thinks in elevator pitches," Brown wrote in an article last year.
In an era of overstimulation and sound bites, pitching an idea in less than a minute seems like a worthy goal. But having done hundreds of big idea presentations (and listened to thousands more), I've come to believe that the term "elevator pitch" is dangerously misleading -- and I'm not alone.
Former Hollywood executive Stephanie Palmer writes that the term "elevator pitch" encourages us to make three classic mistakes: "Pitching in the wrong places (e.g., elevators); pitching to the wrong people (e.g., people in elevators); pitching the wrong things (e.g., cookie-cutter concepts)." Stephanie should know; as part of MGM's executive team for six years, she was pitched elevator-style almost everywhere she went: by a receptionist at her dentist's office while she was clutching her jaw in pain, by a cabbie on a five-minute ride to her hotel, by a real estate agent at an open house, and even by a yoga teacher before class. None of these pitches were ever developed.