Jeffrey Bussgang’s “Mastering the VC Game” offers a plethora of advice when it comes to interacting with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. But first, in order to master the game, one must examine the psyche of an entrepreneur, as it is profoundly different from that of the average businessperson.
We develop and execute PR strategy for serial entrepreneurs, so delving into the psyche of an entrepreneur was a journey I was ready and willing to take. Most importantly, Bussgang points out the “entrepreneurial itch” to change and improve the world. More specifically, Bussgang calls out the following classic characteristics of entrepreneurs:
1. Visionary optimism
Entrepreneurs tend to believe that their visions can and will make the world a better place. If entrepreneurs do not exhibit this type of optimism and do not believe in their visions or ideas, who will? This optimism leads to the next characteristic: confidence.
2. Confidence in oneself that inspires confidence from others
Entrepreneurs must not only be self-confident; they also need to evoke confidence in others. In many cases, entrepreneurs need to make others feel confident in an idea or product that may have little to no basis, because it does not yet exist and there is no proof that when it does exist it will succeed. This contagious confidence leads to the next characteristic: passion.
3. Strong passion
Due to the fact that entrepreneurs are often selling visions or products that are not yet tested or created, they must remain passionate about what they are doing. No matter the odds or the obstacles, entrepreneurs exhibit steadfast passion. That passion leads us to the next characteristic: a desire to better the world.
4. Desire so strong to change the game, that it changes the world
Many entrepreneurs are in the game to disrupt their industries and shake up the status quo. And often, in doing so, entrepreneurs want to better the way things operate in the world and fundamentally change it.
Armed with this insight, we can better serve our entrepreneurial clients. We capitalize on their passion and confidence and exude that same conviction when we share their stories with the media.
What common characteristics do you think make up an entrepreneur?
In the spirit of throwback Thursday and last week’s Mashable article, “39 Unforgettable Moments in Tech Startup History,” the Metis team compiled a list of our technology “firsts” from 1993 to present day. Enjoy this walk down memory lane.
1) Using Skype in 2003 to stay in touch with a best friend who moved from the United States to Ireland
2) Discovering in 2003, before the term “social media” was defined, this “cool new thing” called MySpace and using it to discover music and connect with new friends and future spouses
3) In 1999, the first time we Googled a term or question instead of going to the Ask Jeeves or Dogpile search engines
4) Receiving an individualized email account at work in 1999 – the days of faxing press releases were coming to an end
5) Trying to keep our Neopets alive by playing games online to win food coins in 1999
6) Receiving and RSVPing to an e-birthday card in 1997
7) Using AOL Instant Messenger in 1993 for the first time to communicate with friends, instead of using the telephone
8) Playing Oregon Trail on a Macintosh in 1992, but never finishing the game because the program always crashed
What are your “first” or most memorable technology experiences? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.
Get excited – the Metis team is expanding. Are you ready to meet our new agents of influence?
Formerly a journalist and editor, Michelle Barry is as versatile as it gets. You might even pass her driving the Mom taxi or see her jamming with her band on the weekend. When asked what her number one PR rule was, she referred to a Patrick Swayze line. No, she doesn’t care if anyone puts baby in a corner but she does advise that you …
#1 PR rule: “Be nice. Until it’s not time to be nice.”
Follow Michelle on Twitter: @MichelleMediaPR
Justine Boucher works with our cleantech clients and helps the world get greener. On the weekends, you’ll find her catching action movies, trying new restaurants or watching Zombie shows while keeping up-to-date with social media by pinning recipes to Pinterest.
#1 PR rule: Customization is king. Tailor your story to your audience.
Follow Justine on Twitter: @JustineBoucher
Happy to be back in Boston after spending a couple of years in Connecticut, Sylvie Tse is expanding her career into the technology PR space. If you happen to be in Hong Kong in October, be sure to see Sylvie while she visits the place where she took her first steps.
#1 PR Rule: Since you’re representing not only yourself, but also your organization and your client, be as close to perfect as possible—proofread everything. Spell check is not enough.
Follow Sylvie on Twitter: @SylvieTse
Always interested in PR, Emily Russe is making her professional PR debut at Metis. Formerly a dancer in the Boston Ballet, Emily is the newest ballerina on the Metis team. Don’t be surprised if you see her on the Cape relaxing or bartending at a local restaurant.
#1 PR Rule: Keep the human element first priority.
By Erin Rohr
A few weeks ago, I read the Forbes article, “Sean Parker: Agent Of Disruption
” and was completely fascinated. Sean Parker, most famously known for his former presidential role at Facebook, is a man with a hand in almost every aspect of today’s Internet business. Although Parker is remarkable, I was more interested in the journalist Steven Bertoni
’s role and ability to express the true grit required to become an entrepreneur.
Bertoni has the most amazing journalistic job to date. He covers billionaires, entrepreneurs and disruptors for Forbes. He believes money is power and chronicles the people who shape the world economy and the lives of billions – both for good and bad.
For this story, Bertoni experienced a day in the life of Sean Parker by shadowing Parker across the country on various engagements for an entire week. Yes, Bertoni got to fly all over the country, meet Internet billionaires and party with fabulous people, but he also discovered how difficult it is to be an entrepreneur.
Whether he meant to or not, Bertoni beautifully depicted the necessary must-haves for every wannabe entrepreneur. Listen up, folks. The following are requirements:
- Passion -- To achieve your goal, you need something that will drive you forward every day.
- Guts -- There isn’t always time to conduct market research. As Steve Jobs said, “People couldn't know what they would like when they had never seen it before."
- Less sleep -- As an entrepreneur, be prepared to handle anything, anytime, anywhere.
- Connections -- In the world of start-ups and entrepreneurship, connections are everything. Keep all the doors open, no matter what.
- Tenacity -- Most entrepreneurs fail multiple times before they become successful. Accepting failure is one of the smartest decisions you can make as an entrepreneur.
“For all that he has accomplished, Parker remains a hacker at heart, motivated less by money than the drive to disrupt,” said Bertoni. Parker, like many successful entrepreneurs is continuously motivated by passion and unexplainable dreams.
In PR, there is never really such a thing as logging-off. To provide our clients with the best possible service, we have to be in the know when it comes to trends, relationships, action items and even the best places to grab a bite to eat. Luckily, there are some great apps out there to help us stay organized and in control no matter in what situation we find ourselves. Here are a few of my favorites:Hashable
– This app takes all the best business features from your favorite social networks -- like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook -- and puts them all right at your fingertips. It allows you to easily manage and update your contacts, keep track of people you just met and provide introductions for others via e-mail and Twitter.Say What?
– Stay on top of the latest trends, no matter where you are. Say What? Takes your selected keywords and scans Twitter, Digg, blogs and forums and provides you with ongoing updates.Evernote
– This is a great tool to help you stay on top of important tasks on those days when all you do is go from meeting to meeting. With Evernote, you can create text notes, snap shots and voice recordings that you can review later to make sure you didn’t miss anything.Flipboard
– This app easily organizes your favorite media outlets, Twitter groups and social media feeds and delivers all the updates to your phone in an easy-to-read magazine-style format. You can even share articles and provide comments, so you never feel like you are out of the loop.Urbanspoon
– If you are on-the-go and need to entertain clients or media contacts, just shake your phone and Urbanspoon provides restaurant suggestions for your area. Keep shaking until you find a restaurant you’d like to try.
Those in the PR industry often discuss what works and what doesn’t when it comes to building a startup. But really, what do we know? Half is luck; the other half is the idea, right? Well, according to these really smart dudes from Silicon Valley, Bjoern Lasse Herrmann and Max Marmer, the world of entrepreneurship can be turned into a science.
They recently released “Startup Genome Report
,” which aims to lay the foundation for a new paradigm of assessing startups and understanding the drivers of entrepreneurial performance. The pair interviewed and surveyed more than 1,000 startups and concluded -- well, a lot -- but here are some of the key takeaways I found interesting.
- Learning makes you successful. Startups that turned to mentors, tracked metrics and learned from other startups raised 7 times more money and have 3.5 times better user growth.
- Change is a good thing. Startups that pivot once or twice raise 2.5 times more money than those that don’t.
- Success requires balance. Teams with a technical and business founder raise 30 percent more money and have 2.9 times more user growth.
- Avoid common mistakes. Premature scaling is the most common reason for failure.
- Beware over-estimation. Startups that haven’t raised money over-estimate their market size by 100 times and often misinterpret their market as new.
- Team work can be lucrative. Solo founders take 3.6 times longer to reach scale stage than startups that have two or more founders.
- Invest in the idea. Investors are 3 times more likely to invest in startups that haven’t yet reach a solution fit.
Before you play the startup game, read the directions
. It takes more than a great idea, money and connections. What elements do you see in successful startups
Recently, I attended a couples cooking class at The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts with my husband, Michael. When we walked into the kitchen I immediately bee-lined for the table filled with people who resembled my grandparents. I told Michael that I spend too much time with people my own age and I thought it would be fun to hang out with a different crowd. I decided that we would probably talk about their lives, grandchildren, traveling experiences -- you know, grandparent stuff.
Instead, I heard stories about the tech companies in which they invest or at which they had worked. We discussed articles on TechCrunch and who we liked to follow on Twitter. They gave their opinions on cloud computing, data backup and online advertising.
At one point, I thought, “Where am I? Oh yeah, that’s right, Boston. What are Bostonians known for? Technology.” That’s right; the topic of conversation was technology. I looked at Michael and said, “Thank goodness we both work in the technology industry and know what they are talking about.” Somewhere between the fourth or fifth course, the 20-somethings started chiming into the conversation, and it turned out that most of them worked in the tech industry, as well.
After dinner concluded and I rolled myself out of the kitchen, I started to think about the conversations I had just had. I was truly impressed by the impact that technology has on the people of this city. People consider Boston a “Technology Capita,” and I think I experienced it firsthand. With institutes such as MIT and Harvard right next door, how can we not eat, breathe and live for technology and innovation?
After my wonderful evening, I came to two conclusions: 1) Cooking is more fun when you have a gourmet chef providing you with guidance; and 2) if you want to enjoy where you live, embrace what the city is known for.
What is your city known for?
Welcome to the technology reading corner.
My latest obsessions: new business ideas from young entrepreneurs and start-up companies. My fascination stems from the simple fact that anyone, anywhere can create something powerful and life-changing, quickly. The world of technology moves faster than a Google search. I want to keep up.
Here are my latest, favorite reads from around the Web:
Former RealNetworks Execs Want You To “SocialEyes” With Video Chat - Video chat has been tried countless times on the Web and mostly failed, but a new startup called SocialEyes is giving it another shot. It’s interesting to learn how SocialEyes is tackling video chat differently from its competitors.
Facebook Display Ad Revenues to Surge 80% This Year - eMarketer forecasts Facebook will effortlessly overtake Yahoo in display advertising revenue during 2011, despite Yahoo's display ad revenues increasing by double digits. Is Facebook taking over the world?
Using Infographics to Take Your SEO Campaign to the Next Level - Infographics provide online businesses with the opportunity to supply viral content that builds brands, educates users, and returns hundreds (if not thousands) of inbound links. If you want to learn more about connecting infographics and SEO, read this article.
Be Prepared — Don’t Be Caught Out When the Cloud Fails - Google apparently accidentally deleted some 150,000 Gmail accounts. What would you do if you lost everything?
Blogs and news outlets such as TechCrunch, GigaOM, BizReport, The Business Insider and ZippyCart.com are oozing with the latest industry happenings.
What did you read today?