The 8 Word Elevator Pitch

The Rule of 8

I was listening to a VC podcast the other day, and the host said something that really stuck with me. He said that if he can't pitch a startup back to the entrepreneur after an hour meeting in 8 words or less, he almost never invests.

8 words?!

That sounded crazy short, so I decided to do some research on how other successful startups talk about their services.

But instead of just looking at what they're doing now, I went back to when they were just starting out to see how they presented themselves back before they were famous.

Here are 3 landing pages I dug up from when these startups were just getting off the ground:


1. Uber

It makes sense. They started off by offering a luxury service that anyone could afford.

Today, their focus is on recruiting drivers to their platform so they've pivoted to "Get in the driver's seat and get paid."


2. AirBnB

Airbnb is such a weird concept, but I think that's what makes it so brilliant. They've managed to turn something that could have been seen as a cheap way to travel into an adventurous and exciting experience.

These days, they're more focused on attracting new hosts than new customers. Their new tagline, "Airbnb it," is an attempt to turn their services into a verb. Similar to "Google it."It's more of a slogan than a way to describe their services, but nonetheless, the evolution here is interesting.


3. Lyft

Not gonna lie, I was a little confused by Lyft's old tagline. "Your friends pick you up?" Why would I need an app for that when I can just text my friends?

The new tagline is much simpler and more direct: "Ready, set, ride in just a few taps."

No confusing language, no gimmicks. Just a straightforward and easy to understand promise that customers can get a ride quickly and easily.



Don't sweat it if your pitch isn't perfect at first. In fact, it's better to just get it out there and start iterating on it over time. As Paul Graham says, "If you're not embarrassed by your v1, you've shipped too late."

Take Lyft, for example. Their old tagline was vague and didn't really tell potential customers what Lyft was all about. Their new tagline is much more clear and concise. It tells customers exactly what they can expect from Lyft: a quick and easy way to get a ride.

When brainstorming, keep it simple. Most good pitches follow this formula: Benefit + Differentiator = Pitch.

Benefit: What desired outcome does your product or service solve for? 

Differentiator: What makes your product or service unique?

Use this framework to craft a clear, concise, and compelling way to describe your business in seconds.

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