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The Power of PR

September 24, 2008

vcmike

A conversation I hear frequently is whether a startup really should care at all about PR.

There are lots of good reasons why they shouldn’t.

However, there is at least one very good reason why they SHOULD, and that is hiring. Without fail, some good revs of the buzz engine fills the candidate pipeline better than the highest paid recruiter.

A couple very recent cases in point. I have a portfolio company, Hangout.net, which up until recently was in stealth.  We’ve been looking to fill senior engineering, marketing and busdev roles. The candidate pipeline was OK, but not great.  The searches were taking a long time. Two weeks ago Hangout had a terrific launch at TechCrunch 50, was named a finalist, was on the CBS Evening News, and got lots of props in the blogosphere. Since then the inbound candidate flow has been gushing.

Meanwhile I have another very young portfolio company, LOLApps, which we just backed and is still in stealth mode.  Without getting into details, I’ll quote their website:

“Trying to recruit while you’re in “stealth mode” is like punching yourself in the balls”

‘Nuff said. Though if you are a rockstar busdev guy in the Bay Area and know a thing or two about the social networks, give us a call!

3 Comments

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  1. September 24, 2008

    Sorry, I feel like I’m commenting too much here. I argue it’s not so much the power of PR, but the power of cultivating a reputation. When you do that, it opens you up and makes you attractive to all sorts of opportunities and stakeholders, not just job candidates, but, i.e.,

    – CUSTOMERS & USERS
    – partners
    – additional investors
    – more favorable valuations

    I could go on, but you get the idea. Reputation is tied to karma, and it’s always important to invest in it.

  2. September 26, 2008

    Max, with all respect I disagree. Of course, the power of reputation and good karma is valuable, indeed more valuable than PR.

    However, when you are a tiny startup looking to burst onto the scene, and are trying to make a couple key hires in the immediate term, having a few good accolades from the right sources to throw up on your website really and truly makes a difference in terms at least of getting a candidate’s initial attention. Very tactical, yes, but impactful nonetheless.

    And, no, you are not commenting too much. Thanks for the engagement!

  3. September 30, 2008

    We think it makes senses for there to be links to a company’s jobs (almost) every time an article or post gets written about them.

    The only way we’ve figured out to make it happen is by combining some creative ad units with a tool to get dollars behind the jobs in a way that’s low-risk for employers but has a high potential value for publishers. We’re pretty close to testing http://jobsyndicate.com.

    We do try to spend a lot of time talking to startups, and they all say the same thing: press is gold on the recruiting front. Sorry Max, but it works – getting on the collective tech radar makes a (the?) difference.

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