Bloggers & playing the influence game

So, the WSJ article on blogger’s buzz has real timeliness for me; I’ve been brooding about how some folks I know–someone I will call Mickey (in honor of the Mouse), in particular, has done an amazing job building buzz for his as yet-unreleased start-up through an adroit mix of blogging and social networking.
Based on eyeballing Mickey’s skillful moves, here’s how an aspiring start-up founder, especially one eager to have a bigco pre-emptively acquire his company soon after launch–might play it today:
1) Move to/live in a technology center like Silicon Valley
2) Start a blog and write about other startups, technology buzz, tech news, and VC $$
3) Dabble in advising VCs and helping other start-ups get funded
4) NDA your friends and share your product concepts; tell everyone you are web 2.0 and/or disruptive
5) Build your blog influence as much as possible, through every means
6) Show up everywhere, at all sorts of conferences, parties, and events
7) Get your A-list pals to blog about you before, during, and after alpha release
8) Hire some of them as advisors; get free advice from the rest
9) Keep it moving by repeating #2-8 over and over (think of it as a spin release cycle)
10) Enjoy the huge buzz all those blog posts will generate and the free marketing and buzz you’ve so neatly engineered
How many new tech businesses have we seen spun in this way?
I can think of three companies–maybe four–who fit this bill without even giving it much thought.
New tech businesses that cause the same small Web 2.0 pack of boy bloggers to avidly pile onto the new, new thing and dissect it to death.
It’s hype, folks, pure and simple.
And if you play it, it plays you.

Latest Comments

  1. Melanie says:

    Yeah. Techcrunch is kinda annoying and Edgeio is bullsh*t. What ammounts to a webcrawler looking for the “listings” tag is interesting at most. But disruptive? Come on.
    And there’s not even a high barrier to entry. Tecnorati can do the same thing in an afternoon.
    Arrington is a tiresome Web 2.0 pimp.
    Craigslist works because it’s in the community-building business. If you can’t combine community with classifieds, you lose. That’s why the real threat to Craigslist will come from players like Baristanet, Backfence, Buffalorising and iBrattleboro. What happens when these small hyperlocal communities who are all gaining local audience begin to scale the ability to let their communities sell things to each other with classifieds or classified-like products? And their members won’t need to have their own blogs to use it. That’s disruptive. The “listings” tag and a classified aggregator built around it is lame, almost as lame as all the hype around it.

  2. susan mernit says:

    Melanie–Thing is, you can say the same thing about at least 3 other bloggers who’ve launched companies at the same time they’ve upped the wattage on what they write. I don’t want to single out one person or company–which is unfair, IMHO–but point out that many of the influencers are getting sucked into hypeas the stakes go up for valuations and investment in new startups, particularly tech plays.

  3. susan mernit says:

    One more thing–I agree that the three local sites you mention are GREAT–BUT remember, they’re media,not tech..not hot for VCs.

  4. michael arrington says:

    Wow, Melanie, those are some pretty mean things you wrote about me. Do you think its fair to do so anonymously?

  5. bleh says:

    “Wow, Melanie, those are some pretty mean things you wrote about me. Do you think its fair to do so anonymously?”
    It actually is. If he/she posted non anonymously, that comment would be given more credibility than it deserves being merely a comment on a blog.
    So its a fair trade off….gain anonymity at the expense of the credibility of your comments ;)

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