Today it was announced that the inventor of Mad Libs, Leonard B. Stern, has died. I hope you remember Mad Libs, the bound tablets that feature stories with key words strategically removed, left to be filled by silly adjectives, nouns, verbs and adverbs by willing kids and adults alike. If you are around my age (don’t ask) you may remember gleefully filling these in with dirty words when your parents weren’t around and laughing with your friends until you fell off the bed. Hopefully you don’t remember that because it happened last weekend.
Anyway, according to his obituary, Leonard Stern invented Mad Libs when he was writing a script for the Honeymooners and was casting around for an adjective to complete a sentence. His colleague offered up “naked” and “clumsy,” making Stern laugh and setting off a cascade of events that may lead to Congressman Weiner’s undoing. So far, Mad Libs has sold over 150 million copies of it’s various versions and it’s still going strong more than 50 years after its invention. Now that’s a business.
Stern’s obituary really jumped out at me because literally two days ago I was joking with my business partner Dave that we should create Mad Libs–the venture capital edition. Such a version could look like a business plan executive summary in honor of some of the more ridiculous plans we see. If you have read my blog post called, “You Call That Crazy,” which is one of my favorites, you know what I’m talking about. To be honest, I can’t imagine a Mad Libs entry being any more hilarious than some of the real life executive summaries we receive, but I love a challenge.
So, because some great force in the universe clearly meant for me to see this obituary this week when I was already joking about Mad Libs, an homage to Mr Stern and his great creation follows. Enjoy. And if you are one of my healthcare venture capital colleagues, try this at your next partners’ meeting!
Dear Ms. Suennen,
I am writing to you today about my new company, __(sound)__. The company was founded in __(year)__ and I am confident it is the best investment opportunity you will ever see. I have no doubt it will be even bigger and more successful than ___(a company name)___ in no time.
As everyone knows, every day more than ___(number)___ ___(type/category of people)___ are plagued by uncontrollable __(body part)__ spasms. Sometimes these spasms are so ___(adjective)___ that their victims are rendered unable to ___(verb)___. Naturally, this can lead to excessive ___(verb ending in “ing”)___. Needless to say, this can cause both pain and embarrassment.
I have invented a new product called the ___(adjective)___ ___(animal)___ that immediately cures these spasms, makes people look at least ___(number from 1-10)___ years younger and enables them to play the __(musical instrument)__ even though they could not do so before treatment.
I have virtually no competition in this market. My closest competitor has tried to cure the spasms by applying hot ___(type of liquid)___ to the affected area, but this is only effective with that small subset of people who have ___(adjective)___ ___(body part-plural)__. The only other available treatment is for ___(a celebrity)___ to vigorously rub the affected area with a ___(noun)___, but everyone knows that is too time-consuming and expensive, not to mention hard to scale. I am able to provide my solution far more cost-effectively because the product is made in ___(country)___ by ___(animals)___ who are willing to be paid in ___(plural noun)___.
The FDA has informed me that it will only take ___(number)___ years to get the product approved so I can launch it in no time! However, I already know the treatment works because in the clinical tests I have done so far, every patient has said, “___(exclamation)___!” immediately after treatment.
You may be wondering about my CEO credentials. You should know that I am ideally suited to run this company because of my ___(number)___ year background as a ___(profession)___. While this is my first foray as an entrepreneur, I know I will be successful because everyone tells me I am ___(adjective)___.
I am confident that this company will have more than ___(large number)___ dollars in revenue within 5 years, and that is the conservative estimate. Because no company has ever had the kind of impact on medicine as mine will, it will certainly be worth over $___(number from 1-100)___ billion within ___(number)___ ___(units of time)___.
In order to bring my product to market I will only need $___(number)___ dollars in investment capital. In addition to money, I am seeking a venture investor who is willing to bring their ___(a talent)___ skills to the table.
I look forward to your feedback on my ___(adjective)___ business plan.
Sincerely, John Q. Entrepreneur