10 minutes to get your point across?

If you’ve got to sell someone on something, 10 minutes can be an extremely long time or an extremely short one. In my opinion, you’ve actually got 30 seconds to a minute to try and sell an idea, and then 9 minutes to allow someone to confirm their first opinion.

John Cook, VC reporter for the Seattle PI, was recently one of five judges at the “MIT Venture Labs Startup Demo, where six Seattle area companies were given 10 minutes to pitch their ideas.”

His feedback and notes on the presentations are here. Great reading for entrepreneurs looking for funding, anyone trying to sell something (with a nod to Lloyd Dobler) and PR folks who make their living trying to sell ideas.

You mean PR ‘influenced’ something! No!

I loathe people who feign outrage at the notion that PR firms can ‘influence’ something and not have it be nefarious. Their immediate thought is that influence means payola. The case I’m referring to is in the games industry (which from what I understand does have some potential ethics issues) but not necessarily in this case.

Last night I read a post about Kohnke Communications filing suit against a former client for lack of payment. Today I read a post on GamePro, that apparently pulls from information contained in that filing.

The body of the post says”Kohnke’s public relations campaign was successful in creating pre-release ‘buzz’ around Gods & Heroes, and in convincing reviewers to write positive reviews about the game,” reads the seven-count court filing obtained by Shack News.”

The implication is that this means reviewers were paid. This takes off in the comments with nearly every comment assuming that “convincing reporters to write positive reviews” means they were paid. Also, the commenters almost immediately make a leap to the coverage of Halo3 saying that it was too positive and had to be paid for.

Once again, I have news for people. We don’t have to pay people to influence them. We provide them information. We provide them sources. We don’t have to pay them. Sometimes ti works, sometimes it doesn’t. If you want to see something for sure in a magazine, you buy an ad. If you want to try and convince people to write something in a magazine you use PR. The trade off is that you don’t have as much control of the message using PR as you do with an ad, but you do have the potential of a much more impactful third party endorsement of your product.

If the PR firm paid for reviews it stinks. If the PR firm is rewarded for securing positive reviews they should be lauded.

They’re not all home runs…

at least not this time for Mutant Logic and its investors. Mutant Logic of El Dorado Hills shut down about two weeks ago. I missed the news. It was in the Business Journal on 11/30, but I didn’t catch it until Adam Kalsey posted it on SacStarts here.

According to the articles linked to above, they spent about half of the $500k they raised, realized things weren’t going to pan out and will return the remaining money to investors. No shame at all in that. They had a good idea, they gave it a shot.

This won’t be the last time we hear from the Ben Mok, Brian Hoblit, Jorge Campos and the rest of the team that started Mutant Logic.

Good luck next time!

Edelman makes big hire

Edelman (yes my former employer) has hired Dan Schnur as an EVP and head of the public affairs practice in California. He’s going to work out of the LA office. Big name hire. Also a big political shift from Adi Liberman, the former head of the practice . With elephants now in public affairs in both LA and Sacramento, does Edelman need a donkey?

Here’s a link to the release. Why doesn’t Edelman make it easy to link directly to a release?