Home For Startups, Sometimes Good News is No News

For Startups, Sometimes Good News is No News

There’s an old saying that “any press is good press,” which for a company means it is ultimately beneficial to be mentioned in the media regardless of whether said mention is positive or negative. But there’s also a time when good press, while positive in nature, is not necessarily meaningful to the company overall. Don Rainey, investor at Grotech Ventures and author of the blog VC in DC, recently wrote about “5 Pieces of good news you should ignore,” referring to positive things that he believes are really meaningless when it comes to the success of your company.

“When you’re running a company, one quickly becomes acquainted with the thought that everything matters … and in that, one is mostly but not completely right.” writes Rainey. “The surprise is that most of the stuff that turns out not to matter is good news. That is to say, positive events that don’t translate into anything additive to the company’s growth.”

Three of Rainey’s five examples of when good news is fruitless include media coverage. Being written up in a local paper, placed atop a list by a trade publication or even interviewed on national television isn’t anything to get terribly excited about, he says. “Just consider it a break from the daily routine,” he adds. “You still have to concentrate on communicating your value proposition to probable suspects.”

Without naming names, Rainey also advises companies to not take too much pride in trade show awards. He says we should be “profoundly suspect” of these awards which he believes go to the company that buys the biggest booth. Finally he says that companies should not be flattered by calls from what he calls “powerless” bigwigs at large corporations. “Many a small company will find itself turned on its head chasing a huge opportunity that is only [the] product of [a] bureaucrat’s search for meaning,” Rainey writes.

Sure these are all positive things to have happen to a young company; being written about in a respected publication, or featured on national television is indeed an accomplishment, but Rainey warns to not become overzealous and flaunt these happenings. A pitch ultimately shouldn’t hinge on press coverage, awards and fancy endorsements when providing evidence of traction. Instead of touting your various accolades, place your trophies aside and focus on the task at hand – convincing the VCs that your product has inherent value.

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