Looking for Feedback on the Startup Communities Book Trailer

A cool company named Simplifilm made a trailer for my new book, Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City.

What do you think of it? Any feedback – good, bad, constructive, or destructive is appreciated. And – if you like it – share it!

If you want an intro to the gang at Simplifilm, just ask.

  • @FakeBradFeld

    I am afraid to give you feedback, but…It sounds like the copy used in the trailer was “lifted” from Obama’s convention speech. It is inspiring, but I do not believe it represents the content of the book or the message you want to put out there.

    • Why are you afraid to give me feedback?

      • @FakeBradFeld

        You know all the VCs and Angels. You can squash a startup’s chances with one word, not that you would, of course, but this is why it is easier to be a “grinfucker” with VCs than to provide criticism.

        • I don’t think you know me very well. I’m much more interested in critical feedback than you grinfucking me.

  • I like it but don’t like the paint splotches. Would love an advanced copy… 🙂

    • Why are you afraid to give me feedback?

    • Advance copy coming by email. The book should be out next week.

    • I agree, some of the splashes on the video don’t feel right.

  • Missing:

    Comic Sans
    Paragraph Blocks of Text
    Endless Bullet Points
    Over the Top Testimonials
    Boasts of Revolution / Disruption
    Claims of Making Bank
    Use of the words Baller, Hustler, Guru, etc
    Mention of SV

    Yup, looks good!

  • tyronerubin

    I really do like the visuals but my issue is the voice over. Which is a simple fix, if you ever decided to try another one. The voice, tone and delivery feels very serious. I am quite adamant at this moment that the voice over is not doing the trailer justice. The audio needs to be conversational, look at Apple trailers, one LOVES listening to them. I agree with a comment here that the copy is also not 100%, towards the end becomes very telling to the point of being a bit cheesy, at the specific part when it starts introducing you. I think if you nail the voice delivery, tone you could have an absolute feel good winner of a trailer.

  • Brad, I like it as well.. one tweak from my perspective would be hold the tree (starts with “Led by Entrepreneurs” at about 30 seconds) for at least a second or two longer. Those four points IMO really speak to what it seems the book will dive deep into

    • Wavelengths

      I totally agree with Blake’s call. I jumped to YouTube where I could rewind and pause to see that tree. The original pacing doesn’t allow the viewer to even register the last two points before jumping to the “balance” issues.

      I don’t know whether Boulder figures so prominently as a character in the book as it does in this trailer. Does a startup community have to have the components of Boulder to be successful? Guess I’ll have to read the book. (Spent some time in Boulder, so I know it’s an amazing hotbed of entrepreneurial creativity.)

  • Andy Hugg

    Hi Brad – for starters, I really love the concept. Re. the trailer, well this is very subjective, but my thoughts are:

    I like the animation – fun and informal. It’s a little ‘quick’ for me – slightly races through the animation and voice over, and the voice tone is perhaps a little stiff. The key hook also comes late in the video, i.e. that you have defined a process for helping people start their own start-up communities – at that point, I was very interested.

    • Robert Dewey

      Agree with it being a little quick & waiting too long for the “hook.” Either way, I guess the trailer did it’s job since I’m interested in the book.

  • All the talking points are there, but it is not invoking an emotional response. Not sure why. For one thing, I think the voice over talent was the wrong pick. It may not even need one with the right music. One of my favs (even though I disagree with the substance of much of the content) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6MhAwQ64c0

  • Robert Dewey

    I have never actually heard of a book trailer, that in itself is pretty interesting.

    Regarding the trailer itself — At first I wasn’t sure if this was a book specifically about the tech scene in Boulder, or how to apply the “Boulder thesis” to other cities. This was answered at the very end, but to be honest I think you should have put it before the short author bio. Tell me what the book is about, and THEN tell me about the author and why they are qualified / why I should listen to them.

  • I like the idea of a book trailer but I think this would be a lot stronger if it was structured so that it leads with the why startups are important (creating jobs, innovation, etc.), followed it up with what makes success hard, and how the Boulder thesis helps. The bit right up front about factories and cities become startup labs is extraneous. My $0.02.

  • I think the part of the trailer that resonated with me is all the different community stakeholders needed – it’s not just about the entrepreneurs themselves.

    I found the paint splotches distracting, and the video moved around so quickly that I couldn’t process everything.

    I’m skeptical of the idea of a book trailer. The trailer doesn’t seem to solve the awareness problem or convert people from awareness to a purchase. When I want to know if a book is worth reading or not, I download the Kindle sample or ask a colleague. When I want to find new books, I’m looking on Amazon, not YouTube.

  • AndrewR4488

    The graphics are great but I think it would make a more emotional appeal if it was you narrating and the tone conveyed more of an interview feel. Maybe starting with what Boulder means for the tech community today and what it evolved from, followed by a some brief insight on the Boulder Thesis. Then the part about making the world better and one sentence convincing people that it’s possible to replicate the results elsewhere.

  • Not bad but the tone is not personal enough. The the screen play looks like the camera was zoomed in too much and the graphic leave the screen to fast. If you chose a more person voice over and slow down the pace just a bid, it will do the job. BTW: the book is better than the trailer!

  • Alex

    I heard a lot about Boulder’s businesses, never been in Boulder though, I probably should come up there and see if we can gain from local experience and bring it over to Utah valley. Another question I’d have is when investors tell you that

    Their conditions are:
    1. Loan Period: 5 – 10years.
    2 Moratorium
    Period – 24 months.
    3 Rate Interest – 5% per annum.
    4 Collateral :
    Project itself be used as collateral, equitable funding value collateral &
    financial bank guarantee success.

    Does it really mean that it’s simply a loan and not venture investment or since they emphasize that project(startup company) can be used as collateral then it’s more like a venture investment? Nothing is even mentioned how much % investors wants off the company

  • Keep it coming, guys, this is interesting stuff! I’m glad to hear some reactions, and the diverse feedback is fantastic. Iterate to dominate.

  • You should use FlixMaster to embed a link within the video to buy the book directly at the end.

  • It’s different and it’s great!!

    Beats a dull business review.

  • I like the approach. Agree that the closeup is a bit much and voice over is slightly canned.

    I hated the part about “balancing the needs” of all the ecosystem participants. Your message that “it’s all about the entrepreneurs” and needs to be for, about, and led by them has always resonated. If you’re about balancing now, I’m canceling my Amazon pre-order 🙂

  • Like the video but think the voice over is a bit too corporate.

  • It’s not clear who this book is written for and what they’ll get out of it (the benefits). The narrative should engage the viewer. I recommend using questions to make them more poignantly aware of the potential pain/problems they face. Follow up with “what if” or “how would you like to” questions to present the book’s benefits.

  • As someone who has already read the book, ** the video is perfect! **. It does the job of intriguing me and it touches on the drivers for these ecosystems.

    Since you are doing a lot of speeches now about the book and its theme, only thing I thought considering is to add a screenshot that you’re available for speaking on this topic. Speaking = copies sold, so that’s all good!

  • 1. It felt like an in-house corporate commercial or some kind of supplement. Not bad, but I’m not sure that’s what you were going for.

    2. The build up is too long, the pay off too little. Had I known who Brad Feld was, I may have been more excited.

    3. While I enjoyed the premise, it seems waaaay too big for most people. Unless you’re only looking to sell books to the people already doing stuff, I think something more focused would have worked (why startups are awesome, what they can do for people, etc.)

    4. It feels like a celebration of Boulder rather than an explanation of how to emulate Boulder. Not bad, just not all that helpful.

    5. Animation, pacing and voice are great.

  • I really like it. Tells the story in an engaging stylish manner.

  • I liked it overall but my main critique is that it went by too fast. Some particular parts would have been better if they went slightly slower. Also, having you (the author) saying a statement or two might have been useful. Looking forward to the book when it comes out!!

  • John D.

    Substantive comment: if I didn’t previously know your approach or anything about you, the video would be too much theory and not enough application.

    Form comment: the tone (voiceover + music = uplifting dance scene at the end of 40 year old Virgin) of the video doesn’t match what I’ve come to understand as a practical and “no bullshit” approach.

    Good luck. Good things.

  • A few thoughts. Overall, very strong, very good, but a little bit of refinement will pull it all together. The continuous line animation has such great flow, I really love that, so if that’s your style, you’ve got that down cold.

    But I hate the paint splashes. Truly. It feels like a Nickelodeon ad. In some places (when it splashed on people) I thought it was actually gross. Maybe I play too many video games, but the splatter on crowds of people… not good.

    Suggestion: The book’s cover art has that highlighter-outside-the-lines style, stick with that! You can keep the bright, fun colors, still have that additional layer of dimension and movement, and have fun coloring outside the lines. We wouldn’t be entrepreneurs if we weren’t afraid to color outside the lines.

    The pacing is fast, and that’s mostly OK, and you have varied it in a few places to keep the audience alert, but I have one more suggestion for that:

    I think the best place you can positively impact the trailer, and thus better sell the book, is to slow down at the Boulder Thesis payoff. That seems hugely important to me. You make this strong case for the Boulder Thesis (YAY BOULDER!) but then skip over the moral of the story. Focus on those points, get people interested, pause there so we can read them, then move on to the next point.

    I hope this feedback helps. Good luck!

  • Great trailer. I don’t think add’l tweaks are necessary — i.e., much beyond this is probably overoptimizing.

  • Tommy McNeese

    Good trailer. Moved between screens at times to fast. I’m definitely not an artist so did not understand the splashes of paint, they seemed out of place.

  • Tomas

    Hey, a few things:

    at 0:12, the way he says laboratories sounds jilting
    at 0:30, I don’t have time to read all those words, it’s just too distracting
    It’s just a bit too fast paced overall for me, which hinges towards “selling a product” instead of “communicating an idea”.

    It looks really good though! congrats

  • Any conversation about your book trailer that results in a debate about the usefulness of “grinfucking” is a win! I think this one misses it simply by not defining their audience. Who’s gonna read it and what types of things does that audience listen to? Generic movie-announcer guy-types and upbeat elevator music? Not your audience. I’d have liked to see video of you and a few compelling soundbytes. Music and voiceover unfortunately make you tune out immediately. Overall impression is professional but blah. Haven’t read the book but doubt that it’s boring. Would love to see a vid for this that captures who you are a bit better.

  • I hate to comment on something that is “done” because it feels like I’m veering into the destructive category, but I don’t like this trailer at all. It feels slick and impersonal. Something more human and personal would fit the book better. I recently watched an entire two hour video of just Brad talking that was awesome. No fancy special effects. Just Brad telling stories and sharing his ideas. Turn on a camera and have Brad talk candidly for a minute about his book. It would be so much better.

  • Tim

    I like the quality and production of it, but it doesn’t tell me much more than the title and subtitle. Watch a movie trailer and you’ll have a good idea of what happens in the movie. Watch this book trailer and you’ll get…. the purpose of the book without any actual information. Personally, I want more; it’s not enough to make me want to buy the book.

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