Marketing is for companies who have sucky products. If you build something that is amazing (think Flipboard or Instagram or Instapaper) people will adopt it because it is amazing. And you won’t have to do much marketing, at least at the start.
Hotshot VC Fred Wilson in his blog today (via Business Insider’s War Room). It’s a great point, and it reminds me of a certain startup’s PR team. Dude emails Laurie and me at least once a week — and borders on verbally abusive when we ignore the repeated emails or decline (nicely!) to cover said startup. Not the way to get CNNMoney ink, my friend. -Julianne

VCs, pitches and my mom in Georgia

I often get PR pitches that go something like this:

Laurie,

We think you’d be interested in covering _____. It’s a ____ service that changes the way we ____.

Awesome. Sometimes these services are really interesting, and sometimes they do change the way we _____. 

But ever so often, I can’t help but think: Would my mom back in Georgia care? Moreover, would my friends who live far outside the tech bubble be interested? So many times the tech world is a step ahead of behavior people will eventually adopt (mobile payments, location sharing). But sometimes I want to scream: “Really?”

I’m currently writing a story on GroupMe, a group text messaging startup that received tons of VC money and is currently enjoying valuation estimates in the $20-$30 million range. When I spoke to Betaworks co-founder and GroupMe investor Andy Weissman, he was excited about the startup because it hit the “my mom in Georgia” factor.

"It’s a good idea that would appeal to normal people,"  Weissman said.

I told him about my “mom down in Georgia” theory, and he says he uses a similar one called “my dad back in Florida.”

So, well done, GroupMe! My mom down in Georgia and Andy’s dad back in Florida are fans. Mom also uses Groupon. And weren’t there rumors of a $6 billion price tag?

So maybe the ‘rents are on to something. -Laurie

Holiday season in the tech world

It’s that time of the year again. Here are a couple moments from the last week’s tech holiday party circuit…

Spotted:

  • Bebo founder Michael Birch wishing he’d brought his daughter to the annual Charity Ball
  • An unnamed investor offering up his “5 floor townhouse” for an after party
  • Techies dancing on a stage with a cardboard cutout of Foursquare cofounder Naveen Selvadurai
  • Gawker founder Nick Denton looking grim in the backroom of Foursquare’s holiday party (wonder why)
  • VC Fred Wilson and wife Joanne chatting about her upcoming event in January

And overheard….

  • OH: Oops, I got in a twitter fight with Fred yesterday - from a blogger who shall remain anonymous
  • OH: Well if that investment doesn’t scream tech bubble, I wonder what does.. (and he invested)
  • OH: We’re just focused on user experience.
  • OH: Do I have to become mayor of this bar to get a drink?

(Answer: No, you’ve just got to be worth $35 million.) -Laurie