Myths about myths

I’m often in two minds about the advice that Seth Godin offers.  It’s always pithy and thought provoking, but sometimes I can’t help but feel that it’s, well, a little bit vague or doesn’t go quite far enough.

His latest post questions whether start-ups need to spend large on a launch and then lists a bunch of very well known brands that didn’t have a launch.  Which is fair enough, start-ups shouldn’t try to run before they can walk and a big splash at launch doesn’t necessarily translate into long-lasting success, anyone else thinking about Boo.com or perhaps Cuil right now?

What I do take some issue with is the following statement.

Here are some brands that had no launch at all: Starbucks, Apple, Nike, Harry Potter, Google, William Morris, The DaVinci Code, Wikipedia, Snapple, Geico, Linux, Firefox and yes, Microsoft.

Seth Godin, The myth of launch PR

Now it is quite likely that I’m arguing with the semantics here but most of those companies have had a launches of some sort. Firefox recently had download day as part of Firefox 3 launch. I also have a nagging feeling that CES changed the rules on allowable publicity following Microsoft’s push for Windows 3.11 in the mid 90’s.  Admittedly they didn’t have huge publicity pushes when they started up, but very few companies do that, companies tend not to launch themselves, they launch products.

If you’re launching a product, and would like to be successful then it tends to be handy if lots of ppl who might be interested in purchasing your product, or service, actually know about it.  To that end some publicity is most likely to be fairly beneficial.

Though I agree you don’t need to spend a fortune, you just need to talk to the right people.

0 thoughts on “Myths about myths

  1. You’re just baiting me now and getting me wound up. I unsubbed from the Gospel of Seth a while back. Pop marketing. No substance.

    These companies might not have had official launches but you can bet they had large PR budgets and plans from day one. Google didn’t have a business model on day one, they were going to sell their appliances to run on Intranets until they bought in ad technology from the outside. Microsoft started off writing applications and eventually fell into the Operating System market.

    But what’s a launch? Is gathering a few people together in a room for briefings a launch? Or meeting them one by one? Seth seems to imply that anything other than a single event big bang launch comes free.

    This bothers me (I followed your link or else I wouldn’t have seen it):

    the relentless quest for media validation doesn’t really pay. If you get it, congratulations. If you don’t, that’s just fine.

    What a crock. I personally know a half dozen companies and individuals that got investors, sales, employees and other benefits from doing the traditional press thing.

    Seth’s shallow advice will well suit the dozens of tech people who seem to think that the world will come to them because they’ve built a great product. It won’t. Great ideas are everywhere but those that communicate them are the ones that will be found.

  2. Aw sorry Damien, didn’t mean to bait you, but it is nice to know that Godin’s stuff winds other ppl up too.

    The worrying thing is that he’s not the only one stating that if you have a great product, ppl will automatically know about it and buy it, like there is some kind of global telepathy network for the truly great. Scoble and Loic Le Meur have both said very similar things in the past about PR being unnecessary for this very reason.

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