There is no easier way to get press for your startup than a capital announcement. To publications, this has become the norm for startup news.
As long as you can find some investors with deep pockets willing to back you – tech news publications will cover your story.
Somehow it has become trendy or cool for startup founders to raise obscene amounts of funding, and the media LOVES to cover stories like this.
Looking at this from a different angle, is the media partially responsible for sending the wrong message and creating this trend?
From a reader’s perspective
I’m not sure about you, but I’m kind of OVER reading about capital announcements. I want to read REAL stories that FEEL human.
The kind of stories that make you feel WOW and are genuinely inspiring. They touch your soul in some way. We’re all human and often at times, we like to live in the moments of others.
A good example of this is a movie. The character suffers some kind of event or ordeal – and the movie walks you through how they overcame their struggle against all odds to achieve something great. Then there’s a brief moment that you feel WOW.
Every time, we watch a movie like this, we feel inspired – and sometimes, for a very brief second, we may forget about our own personal struggles and briefly relish moments escaping our own reality. A startup
A startup is all about defying odds, breaking through barriers to achieve something great, something that inspires people, a story that we can learn something from or people can personally relate to.
We need to kill this trend
Any media site, large or small is driving the trend of “IT’S COOL” to raise funding. We need to kill this trend and send a better message to founders.
Instead of this: “Put a team together, raise a few mill, get some press. Oh sweet, we’re on Techcrunch baby!”
Isn’t this like a bit like high school, and do we all need to grow up, even just a little?
Wouldn’t it be better to report on startups solving real-world problems, why it needs to be fixed and why ‘WE’ the general public should care?
How about this: “Investors reject this startup for funding, founders bootstrapped their way to profitability. Here’s their story.”
Through highlighting the team’s journey we can all learn from each other, but if the MEDIA is primarily focussed on covering FUNDING stories …
The only thing we can learn from this is, “We should jump on the bandwagon and raise millions too. Monkey see monkey do.”
I’d like to learn, rather than be a monkey, wouldn’t you?
The rollercoaster ride
MJ Fitzpatrick recently said something strikingly compelling, “Given that 90% of startups fail, entrepreneurs have to be crazy to launch a startup. Insanity is doing something when you’re almost certainly going to fail.”
And when you think about it … a startup is a lot like a rollercoaster ride filled with both high points and low.
The media could do more with a little bit more CRAZINESS showing founders defying logic, following their dreams despite adversity with LESS funding announcements.
If the media were to change their current stance on reporting to say 80% about founders dodging obstacles and 20% … it may reshape the startup ecosystem.
Lack of differentiation creates sheep “baa”
If tech news publications FIXATE on funding announcements, then there’s lack of differentiation in startup news.
You may also find that once a small blog, grows to become larger, they follow suit too. Tech news becomes all the same, and it’s a bit sheepish baa.
Can we have something better?
What other people said
“The media’s portrayal definitely gives the impression that investment is viewed as the ideal pathway. The media tend to focus on the idea instead of the hard slog that goes into executing the idea, setting many entrepreneurs up for failure when they realize it doesn’t just take an idea to be successful.”
“We need startups to get really good at making money (things like … finding product-market fit, getting a solid business model) not spending it (I.e. raising funds). This will ultimately create a far more successful startup ecosystem where everyone wins. Help founders learn to fish, don’t just give them the catch and expect the rest to fall into place.”
“We need to be eloquent, in our communication with media, we know the bigger picture and we will guide the media into the startup ecosystem path. I started a martial arts column back in 90′ because journos would get the terminology wrong. Build a relationship with the journo’s.”