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The Submarine

The Submarine

Source: The Submarine

Stashed in: @paulg

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Why do the media keep running stories saying suits are back? Because PR firms tell them to. One of the most surprising things I discovered during my brief business career was the existence of the PR industry, lurking like a huge, quiet submarine beneath the news. Of the stories you read in traditional media that aren't about politics, crimes, or disasters, more than half probably come from PR firms.

I know because I spent years hunting such "press hits." Our startup spent its entire marketing budget on PR: at a time when we were assembling our own computers to save money, we were paying a PR firm $16,000 a month. And they were worth it. PR is the news equivalent of search engine optimization; instead of buying ads, which readers ignore, you get yourself inserted directly into the stories. [1]


Paul Grahams pieces are always such a pleasure to read. Like this one, they also age so well. This one, like so many, reads like a parable.

It's not about fashion, but about how startups should understand PR. One of the best books I read during this whole startup prep effort was his 2004 book, Hackers and Painters. What a joy to read, inspiring:

ehhhhh... dealing with the press is easy. Write their stories for them, feed them, booze (or w/e psychoactives they prefer) em up, and they'll pretty much do anything you want.

You don't need a PR firm, you just need a good evangelist with an entertainment budget. You'll be amazed what you can get for a steak and good whisky.

However, I understand, if you have no experience dealing with the press and the subtle politics involved, why it would make sense to hire a PR firm.

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