[FoRK] Help for Startups ... ?

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Wed Mar 3 10:16:28 PST 2010

Ken asks:

> will this be helpful, do you think?

Short version:  yes.

Long version:  PR is vitally important to startups and is the area that most of them get entirely wrong.  It's important even to your more enterprise-y things, which tend more to focus on pipeline-building and partnering efforts, but absolutely essential to the consumer folks.  You can often spot the folks from the "wrong" school of thought because their website will have separate "solutions" and "products" areas.  Even some consumer products, rather inexplicably, have this;  most recently I noticed that Sling Media has this broken concept.  My advice to them:  fire your head of marketing, hire an evangelist and retain a world-class outside PR firm where the principal is the guy on your account, right there on the road with you at all times, and he knows absolutely *everybody.*

When it comes to getting a startup up the curve, it's all about buzz and mindshare --- even on the funding front --- and this sort of exposure and activity is perhaps the single highest impact-to-dollar investment the company can make --- for product companies, even more than engineering, perhaps sadly.  (You've got to have a baseline competence, there;  but beyond getting to beta, this sort of activity is going to have a much more profound impact on valuation and opportunity than anything else.)

It would be no exaggeration to say that almost all of Activerse's success, such as it was, was the result of getting this part of it right.  (For us, it was Esther Dyson and, particularly, Jerry Michalski --- though David Coursey also played a role, and our PR firm of course made the whole thing happen.)


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