Marketers have long known that people are drawn to exclusivity. Some people pay small fortunes to attend exclusive, private colleges while others wait in line for hours for the opportunity to buy exorbitantly priced drinks in an exclusive nightclub.
As noted in Kiss Of Death, exclusivity can kill a small company. Unfortunately, many Big Dumb Companies (BDCs) believe that the only way they can effectively compete is to skew the market in their favor by precluding you from freely working with anyone you choose. Exclusivity excludes the BDC from competing in the free market while excluding the startup from taking full advantage of future customer, partner and market opportunities. Such deals are not exclusive, they are excludesive.
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Bilbo’s offer letter from Thorin in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit exemplifies the proper attitude that you must have when joining an adVenture.
“Thorin and Company to Burglar Bilbo, Greetings!
For your hospitality our sincerest thanks, and for your offer of professional assistance our grateful acceptance. Terms: cash on delivery, up to and not exceeding one fourteenth of total profits (if any); all traveling expenses guaranteed in any event; funeral expenses to be defrayed by us or our representatives, if occasion arises and the matter is not otherwise arranged for.”
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According to Wikipedia, Backmasking is, “a recording technique in which a sound or message is recorded backwards onto a track that is meant to be played forward.”
In some instances, seemingly random sounds take on questionable meaning when played backwards. In Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, Robert Plant seems to say, “Oh here’s to sweet Satan. He’ll give those with him 666.” When the Beatles’ Revoultion 9 is played in reverse, there is a brief passage that sounds something like, “Turn me on dead man,” which heightened the “Paul is dead” rumors of the early 1970s. However, backmasking is often a deliberate process, in which artists send messages to their diehard fans who relish discovering and decoding the hidden communications.
It is usually arduous to discover and decipher audio backmasked messages. However, the process of decoding the hidden messages in your partner agreements is much simpler. You can perform such agreement forensics by looking for the clues outlined below. One such clue proved to be worth $20 million to one of my adVentures.
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“When I looked up from the menu, I was staring into the eyes of a man who had been dead for three years.”
– Opening sentence from “Time of Terror” by Louis L’Amour
“When Speeke came at last to water, he was two days beyond death.”
– Opening sentence from “That Man From the Bitter Sands” by Louis L’Amour
Successful pulp fiction writers like Louis L’Amour had to grab their readers with their first sentence. They did not have the luxury of hoping readers would warm up to their stories after a few pages. Most pulp fiction fans flipped through the magazines before buying them and purchased the stories that grabbed them by their shirt collars and compelled them to read more.
Your startup’s press releases must be as compelling as pulp fiction. If the reader is not engaged at the outset, it is unlikely they will take the time to read the remainder of your release.
Continue reading “Pulp Facts – Entrepreneurial Press Releases Should Generate Revenue”
You have been planning to ask your long-time girlfriend to marry you for months and the big day has finally arrived. In order to reduce your risk of failure, you ask your roommate, who has proposed to several women previously, to pop the question on your behalf.
Sound crazy? This is the approach many startups take when they communicate their story to the market. Rather than directly explaining their value proposition with all the passion and heartfelt stridency that only an entrepreneur can deliver, they outsource this communication to a Public Relations (PR) firm. PR agencies are expensive versions of Cyrano de Bergerac. Their best attempts to woo the media will never equal your ability to sing your own praises.
Startup PR does not stand for “Public Relations.” Rather, it translates into “Passionate Relationships” and passion cannot be outsourced.
Continue reading “PR Passion – Why Startups Should Never Outsource Public Relations”