Brad Feld

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Be The Kid Rock of Tech Marketing

Apr 01, 2009

Eric Norlin, producer of the Defrag and Glue conferences, has a phenomenal rant up today titled An Open Letter to Technology Startup MarketersWe had an email exchange the other day about how self-limiting the phrase “I’m being cautious” is.  I put it in the category of “I don’t want to think so I’m just going to defer any decision and judgment, which I’ll rationalize as being cautious rather than passive.”

Eric took the idea and turned it into a nice rant.  I love a good rant and Eric’s is a doozy.  It starts off “There seems to be a refrain as of late amongst a great many of you, and that refrain is “caution.” You’re “cautious” about the economy. You’re taking a “wait and see” approach.  I say to those of you doing this: shame on you.”

Here are a few choice lines:

“You cannot afford to take a “wait and see” approach. I mean, wait and see WHAT exactly? How the Dow performs? Where the CPI numbers come in? What the President’s approval rating is? If you think that you (sitting in your little ole startup office) will actually *know* when the economy turns, you’re being foolish. You’re not gonna know until AFTER it has already turned. In the meantime, you’d better get your butt out there and land some business. If you “wait and see,” you’ll most likely just be waiting around to see exactly what date your termination notice is gonna come on.”


“Now, okay, your budget has been cut by your cautious CEO — I get that. That’s cool. But I guarantee your CEO didn’t say, “go in your office, cower in fear, pray that we get a ton of inbound sales leads, but above all else be cautious and wait and see.” Nope. Your CEO probably said something like, “monitor your spend as if every dollar was your own; and make sure we’re getting the maximum bang for our buck.” Of course, this freaked you out. And you got cautious. WRONG.”


“Here’s what you don’t wanna be: the Celine Dion of marketing. Here’s what you do want to be: the Kid Rock of marketing. People may hate Kid Rock and his music, but they damn sure know who he is. Why? Because he’s never been cautious a single day of his life. He left the office, got out, and made himself larger than life.”

Great rant Eric.  If you are in marketing in a tech startup, go read it!