I took this photo from my apartment window in Williamsburg. I live in one of the newer buildings with windows that have child safety locks that stop them from opening much more than a few inches. I tried to take the photo from indoors, but the dirty window obscured the brilliant sunset, so I squeezed my arm out the window to get a better shot. This reflection is what it yielded.
The simple answer is this: We are wired that way. A story, if broken down into the simplest form, is a connection of cause and effect. And that is exactly how we think. We think in narratives all day long, no matter if it is about buying groceries, whether we think about work or our spouse at home. We make up (short) stories in our heads for every action and conversation. In fact, Jeremy Hsu found [that] “personal stories and gossip make up 65% of our conversations.
And yet every VC will insist the product should market itself, and that any marketing that isn’t SEO or directly measurable is a waste.
Meanwhile the press ends up writing the story for you, and it ends up being about how much the CEO is worth, or a dumb thing someone accidentally said at a conference, or how you’re a has been or how angry your users are.
Stories matter. Control the story from the beginning. Tell the story from the beginning. Product is not – and never will be – everything.
100%. This is why investing in marketing & comms from the beginning – which is different than PR, in this instance – is important. Once you let someone else dictate the story, you’re giving up a bit of control. And when you do push towards a press strategy, one tip I give to all of my clients I work with is to write the sorry first, the story that you would want a reporter to write. Helps you identify & immediately articulate the most important points you want others to say.
This has been my guiding tenet for all major decisions in my life. I plan on relying on it more than ever in the coming month. Once you make your intentions known, it’s amazing how quickly things begin to fall in place.
I’m in San Francisco for the week after having spent the weekend with Tim O’Reilly and folks at Foocamp. And I’m speaking at a Rock Health conference here on Friday, so I decided to save the environment and just stay and work here for the week. So I just checked in with my team and asked them…
My brilliant friend Jay continues to actually disrupt healthcare, again & again. Also, he has fantastic hair.