10 Startup Marketing Commandments

Another article that originally appeared on the now-defunct Startupping blog:

  1. Don’t believe what you read. Don’t EVER believe what you read about yourself.
  2. “The Press” is no longer the most important source of coverage; the bloggers are today’s opinion makers, especially when it comes to coverage of technology innovations and, more importantly, the gossip that fuels the buzz of which products are hot, which are duds.
  3. Traditional PR firms only marginally “get” the blogosphere. Unless you have true Wall Street Journal worthy news, or are stupid, don’t bother paying $20,000 a month for an ineffective PR agency. You are far better off to hire a 21 year old who understands your stuff, give him/her a laptop and a six-pack of Crunk!!, and having them start chatting online about your firm/product.
  4. If an article claims your company is a loser, your product is a failure or that you eat goats for lunch, don’t kick the story forward by responding; better pour your energies into creating the best business model, the most elegant business solution, and go out and sell your company for a fortune. Unless you actually do eat goats for lunch.
  5. Describing a product as “revolutionary, but with an evolutionary bridge” only makes sense to a journalist who will never actually use your stuff; your customers will think you have been smoking crack. Go “leverage your synergies” and “shift your paradigms” somewhere else, marketingdroid.
  6. Never, ever, even if you have a term sheet from Google on the table, tell a journalist that your goal is “a billion dollars or bust” unless you want the next headline to read “Bust” when your sale/merger/IPO falls apart.
  7. Journalists are like teenagers, they have their collective crushes, then move on. Really. I’d give an example, but I’ve already forgotten about them all.
  8. The best quote in an article is from your customer telling the world why they love your product. The worst is you telling the world why they should love your company. That is unless the quote is from your mother telling the world how hard you work, that you are such a nice boy/girl and that her greatest wish is for a grandchild.
  9. If you are being interviewed by a journalist, read their recent articles. There is no better way to deflate an interviewer than to suggest they cover a topic they just wrote a story about the week before.
  10. You do keep track of what people are saying about your company, right? Subscribe to blog searches through Google or Bloglines and pay attention. Leave comments to blog posts where appropriate. It ain’t rocket surgery.


  1. alot of truth to this. we do traditional pr and utilize youngsters for social media. old publicists are obsolete when it comes to social.

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