Banking

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. I’ve 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.

So what?

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

They don’t 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.

Bubble

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 tell me something interesting

Now here’s 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.

Don’t 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 Xero’s 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. We’re hooked. So when he talks about the money raised and what he intends to do with it, it’s a message worth hearing.

3 thoughts on “Start-ups: Just tell us the interesting stories

  1. I have found that most, but not all, PRs are a complete waste of space and are on par of importnace in society with telephone sanitizers.

    • There’s that. Most of the time you just know something is wrong when a PR on the other side of the world is chasing coverage in New Zealand about a business that doesn’t even trade here.

    • So, quite important then? To be honest, I haven’t owned a telephone for upwards of at least 5 years, but I do enjoy the benefits of a clean iPhone. The disposable wipes are rather good, however, not particularly kind to the environment. I have a spray and lens cleaner cloth in my bag instead.

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