Mr Cranky’s Buzz to Biz Ratio
What is the Buzz to Biz Ratio say you? It’s the ratio that measures the correlation between company buzz and the value of a business. It’s the fact that real companies understand that time, money, resources are precious and any resources dedicated to things other than designing, building, selling and supporting the best damn product possible is wasted energy. The Buzz to Biz ratio is the metric that separates a great company like ZoomData….. who? You say? Exactly my point!… The Buzz to Biz ratio separates the ZoomDatas from the ashes of a dead turd like Speek.
Real Journalists aren’t lazy. They dig up stories. They go find great companies and don’t wait for Bullshiocrats to whisper in their ears. Real journalists, either those that work for real news organizations like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post or industry-specific journals like Women’s Wear Daily for the apparel industry or Billboard for the music industry or CIO for the B2B IT industry. Don’t wait for the self-promoting, Glitter Traction addicts to scream in their ear… “Hey Look At Me I’m Shiney!”
Here’s the deal folks… serious entrepreneurs don’t scream, “Hey! Look at me! I’m Awesome!”
I have pitched Thomas Heath, at the Washington Post so many stories that he’s taken out a restraining order on me. I’m not allowed to email anyone within 500 yards of him. That’s because Tom does his own research. Finds his own stories. Is suspect of Bullshit. Yes, sometimes he gets bamboozled… but typically Thomas gets it right (I hope mentioning you in a blog post doesn’t violate my probation Tom and oh, by the way, I’m making the restraining order stuff up… right Tom?). When you read one of Tom’s articles the underlying headline is not typically:
Narcissistic Wantrepreneur Needs Attention and this Faux “Journalist” Need Link Bait.
When you read about a company in DCInno, or Tech.co or Technical.ly DC you’re reading company spewed Buzz and not critical business reporting. There is very little if any real analysis or tough questions. You rarely see these “journalists” digging deep to get a story from a stealth-mode, authentic entrepreneur.
In 1998 my company was quietly building a carrier-grade unified messaging system. Our sales went from zero to $18 million in 6 years before Call Technologies was purchased by 3Com for $92 million dollars cash in 2001. Our investors included NEA, Columbia Capital, and FBR. John Sidgmore the then CEO of UUnet and eventually MCI was on our board, so was Art Marks, Phil Herget, Gene Riechers. No one in DC knew who the hell we were. Yet we had million dollar contracts with 75% of the US phone companies including C&P, NYNEX, New England Tel, Ameritech, US West and a bunch of European Carriers.
We had a direct competitor at that time. I’m not going to name names, but the CEO knows who he is and he’s not a bad guy. Now, this guy was the darling of the local press, the local tech press. He was and still is a master pitchman. While everyone was toasting him for all the buzz he generated we were quietly building and exiting a business. His company folded. We got out before the dot-bomb bust with $92 million cash.
Our company with a Buzz to Biz ratio of 1:9 lost the Buzz Battle to his Buzz to Biz ratio 10:0 company. But we won the $92 million Biz war.
I have several Buzz-shy clients who allow me to look under the hoods of their businesses and they are incredible businesses. I’m talking rocketship traction, fabulous strategic relationships, highly engaged competent teams. Yet few people who can’t influence or buy their products know who they are. In fact, they don’t want me to write about them. They don’t want me to violate my restraining order with Heath and get Tom to write about them in the Post. They want to work. They can’t afford to be the shiny object that attracts the Commercial Real Estate Brokers, and Investment Bankers, The Lawyers and Insurance guys and on and on. They don’t want to be famous. They don’t want the distraction. They just want to change the world and earn a living.
There are certain times it’s appropriate to be part of the local tech buzz scene. If you’re a 10Pearls and your customers are Tech Companies in the DC Metro region, than writing press releases and handing them to the “journalists” at a DCInno so they can do their “journalistic” version of due diligence, which translates to read the press release and change enough words so when “journalists” reprint a Press Release and call it an article it doesn’t look like Tech.co’s press-release reprint versions.
Some people argue that you need local Buzz to attract the best employees. The great CEOs I know:
- Don’t have problems attracting great employees and
- Wouldn’t hire someone who read the fake news Tech Press Trash and couldn’t discern the difference between Buzz to Biz.
If you’re competing for best office pet, or office envy, or spending energy soliciting votes for DCInno Tech March Madness instead of sticking to your knitting, if you’re spending all your time whispering to someone at Tech.co’s ear instead of a customer’s ear… your Biz focused competitor is going to deservedly open up a can of whoopAss on you.