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Start-ups: Just tell us the interesting stories
Posted on 15-Feb-2016 08:43 by Bill Bennett. | Tags Filed under: News.

Start-ups: Just tell us the interesting stories

Judging by incoming mail, press releases and social media, technology start-ups think we care about their money-raising.

They often spend precious resources telling us how much they have raised or expect to raise.

Start-ups also want to tell us they or were mentioned in an important publication or were invited to take part in an event. Iíve seen press releases boasting about some allegedly famous venture capitalist, who no-one in New Zealand has heard of, making a passing comment about a start-up.

None of this is news. Almost no-one cares. Thatís not media rudeness or arrogance. Thatís what access to web stats tells us. We know readers donít click on those stories. They are not interested.

They donít care much when the start-up is in their own town and involves people they may know. They care less if the boast comes from a start-up based halfway across the world.

And yet still the deluge of press release material and assorted marketing hype continues to flow.

The world of venture capital and start-up finance exist in a bubble. One that rarely connects to the real world.

Things that matter inside the bubble have little resonance outside.

No doubt the latest funding round is of utmost importance to everyone involved in the start-up.

But until there is something tangible to show, the press releases are just so much noise and wasted public relations effort.

They can even harm the business, because journalists will see them as attention-seeking time-wasters and ignore the start-up when there is something worthwhile to say.

For the rest of us, start-ups only become interesting when a product or service ships. The product has to useful or fun. It has to have a real market. It has to be better, cheaper or otherwise different from what has gone before.

Now hereís the curious thing. Most of the time the product or service being developed is interesting. The idea that kicked-off the start-up may also be interesting. Far more interesting than much of the banal waffle the public relations types push our way.

If you want to create a buzz about a new product, service or other business, tell us why it is better than what went before. Explain how improves lives, saves time, entertains us or boosts productivity.

Donít bore us with dry financial details, save that stuff for your investors. Instead get us excited about the proposition.

There is a time and place to talk about money. Rod Drury has made some important points in the past about Xeroís war chest and spending strategy. That information is only interesting because we already care about Xero.

Drury and his team told us all the key who, why, what stories years ago. Weíre hooked. So when he talks about the money raised and what he intends to do with it, itís a message worth hearing.

Filed under: Money, Work Tagged: public relations, publicity, start-ups

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