PR Tips for Startups » Wall Street Journal Innovative Marketing Strategies From Today Sat, 05 Oct 2013 06:32:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Innovative Marketing Strategies From Today Chikodi Chima: Public Relations, Content Marketing , Sales and Business Development Strategist no Innovative Marketing Strategies From Today Public Relations, Content Marketing, Media Relations, Business Development, Lead Generation, Public Speaking, Storytelling, Entrepreneurship PR Tips for Startups » Wall Street Journal San Francisco, CA Study Finds Misfits, Truants and Trouble-Makers Are Most Likely To Succeed As Entrepreneurs Thu, 15 Aug 2013 03:11:41 +0000 Chikodi Chima

Naughty Boys Become Successful Entrepreneurs CC Joshua Vaughn Study Finds Misfits, Truants and Trouble Makers Are Most Likely To Succeed As Entrepreneurs

Investor Paul Graham has always said he likes entrepreneurs who are a little bit naughty. New economic research published in the Wall Street Journal confirms what the Y Combinator founding partner, Hacker News creator and essayist nonpareil has known all along; Troubled teens become more successful entrepreneurs than those who color within the lines .

Economists Ross Levine and  Yona Rubenstein shared the results of a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which found:

[S]elf-employed workers with incorporated businesses were almost three times more likely to engage in illicit and risky activities as youth than were salaried workers. These behaviors include but aren’t limited to shoplifting, marijuana use, playing hooky at school, drug dealing and assault.

Sound like anyone you know? I won’t name names, but it’s a familiar pattern amongst people in Silicon Valley who have become very successful, or are on their way there.

The study compiled data from U.S. Census Bureau‘s Current Population Survey and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, according to the WSJ.

Their findings back up PG, who wrote:

Though the most successful founders are usually good people, they tend to have a piratical gleam in their eye. They’re not Goody Two-Shoes type good. Morally, they care about getting the big questions right, but not about observing proprieties. That’s why I’d use the word naughty rather than evil. They delight in breaking rules, but not rules that matter. This quality may be redundant though; it may be implied by imagination.

The whole idea of being a disruptor is that you don’t care about nor respect the status quo. In fact, you despise it.

Entrepreneurs are naughty kids CC gekko93 Study Finds Misfits, Truants and Trouble Makers Are Most Likely To Succeed As Entrepreneurs

And as an entrepreneur you’ve got the vision and self-confidence to challenge the accepted wisdom, and the tenacity to make the world recognize their brilliance. And entrepreneurship is, on average, rewarded more highly than salary-seeking. “Individuals who left their salaried jobs to start incorporated businesses work more hours but also earn more per hour than other employment types, and those who start successful incorporated enterprises enjoy substantially larger boosts in earnings relative to their own wages as salaried workers,” the study says.

The best chefs are those who aren’t afraid to break an egg to make an omelette. But sometimes you get it on your face, too. The downside of the risk-taking and impulsiveness, is that entrepreneurs are more prone to lapses in judgement, the study’s authors find. Hard to have one, without the other, right?

Glad to know that my angsty teenage years, which were a hormone-packed blend of youthful indescretion, non-conformity, and general mischief, were actually preparation for a life of startups. This also means that my parents–also entrepreneurs– are saints for putting up with my antics.

]]> 1
Does Your Weird Startup Name Damage Your Public Relations Potential? Fri, 19 Jul 2013 04:22:54 +0000 Chikodi Chima Gorilla Scratching Head CC cj berry Does Your Weird Startup Name Damage Your Public Relations Potential?Great company names are hard to find. Or are they?

Among the startup mistakes I’ve made was wasting too much time with my co-founder trying to come up with the perfect company name. Either the name wasn’t descriptive enough, or a good, short name was already taken. We went back and forth for days. In the end we got nowhere.

Could you be doing public relations damage to your cause if  people don’t understand what your startup does because of a strange name? I doubt it.

The Wall Street Journal yesterday became the latest publication to lament the proliferation of Web 2.0 names, especially those ending in li or ly. By their count there are 161 companies whose name ends ly or li. There’s even a Pinterest board. Those crazy kids!

Writer Lindsay Gellman says:


With about 252 million domain names currently registered across the Internet, the short, recognizable dot-com Web addresses, or URLs, have long been taken.

The only practical solution, some entrepreneurs say, is to invent words, like Mibblio, Kaggle, Shodogg and Zaarly, to avoid paying as much as $2 million for a concise, no-nonsense dot-com URL.

The Atlantic Wire amplified the original story under the headling “The Pitfalls of The Named Startup,” and Quartz went with the sensationalist title “Startups, stop choosing names that aren’t actual words.” Shameless link bait. Alas, I clicked.

Web 2.0 Names Ending in ly Does Your Weird Startup Name Damage Your Public Relations Potential?

This story emerges every so often. Every time a new writer talks about Web 2.0 names they inevitably mention Flickr, Twitter and Tumblr. These companies that are today household names were compelled to adopt unusual monikers because the ones they wanted were unavailable. Companies who are lambasted by the journalist get some free public relations exposure, and hopefully get at least a few downloads apiece.

Shorter names are perceived as better, especially in an era of 140-character updates.

But all of these stories miss something. Longer names can be fine too, especially when they’re descriptive and catchy. A commenter on the Wall Street Journal story named his personal finance tool Greater Than Zero. Makes sense. Right? I recently heard about a solar company called Milk The Sun. You can still be clever and come up with a good company name that makes sense.

But there are benefits to the oddball Web 2.0 names that are not discussed in any of the articles I’ve read. From a marketing and public relations standpoint it can be good to invent a word.

The more distinct your name, the easier it is to track yourself online. With a zany, made-up name it’s easy to keep track of what people are saying about your fledgling company using tools like Google Alerts, Mention and BrandsEye. If you’re name is made up the signal-to-noise ratio is very high. People are only going to tweet, blog or share your name if they’re interested in you. Even if they’re slamming your product.

Having a trackable name allows you to directly engage your audience, solicit feedback and quickly make changes based on user suggestions.

Once you reach a certain size this no longer matters. On Quora I asked how many times the word Google appears online each day. Unfortunately no one serious stepped up to the question. When Google was called “Back Rub,” it would be impossible to distinguish whether someone was talking about the company, or about a massage. But switching the name to Google gave founders Larry and Sergei the opportunity to engage with anyone using their name online.

Ultimately it comes down to the value your company creates. IFTTT (If This Then That) seems like one of the sillier company names I’ve come across, but it keeps popping up more and more often. In spite of the oddity of the name, what they’re doing is increasingly relevant to me, so their name could be anything, and I would probably still use their product.

Create value and you can call your product anything you want.


]]> 0