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In The Media

Martin Shen mentioned you in an answer

by Larry Chiang on February 18, 2014

Larry Chiang’s 5th book, “What They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School“, is a sequel to his mentor’s, Mark McCormack’s book, What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School. What They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School quotes Mark McCormack’s book in every chapter and even launched at Mark McCormack’s, IMG’s, “New York Fashion Week“. What They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School went from runway release on 09-09-09, direct to the “NY Times bestseller list”!

Initially, Chiang used his mentor’s book, What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School, to start a company as an engineering major. Duck9, at Illini Tower, helps students get a FICO credit card credit score over 750. Prior to the NY Fashion week book launch party, Chiang did a Harvard Law School keynote where Harvard Business School jokingly wrote: “What They Don’t Teach You at Stanford Business School“. Well this article about SXSW has the prequel, “Setting an intention to win SXSW, THIS 2016 SXSW“.

“Fashion Week (Sept 10-20) is like #LeadGen in Las Vegas. Cuz they’re cool places to launch new deals.”
— Larry Chiang

By Larry Chiang

Larry Chiang
Larry Chiang 11:16am Aug 18
update me on the ReverseVC event
Martin Shen
Martin Shen 3:23pm Aug 18
Hey Larry. I have a rep from General Catalyst, CMEA, TandemEntrepreneurs and Javelin so far. Working on Andreeson Horowitz and Google Ventures
Martin Shen
Martin Shen 10:05am Sep 6
Updates to the event:Moderator: Hermione Way from TNW
VCs: Tandem, General Catalyst, CMEA, Javelin and Highland Capital
Topic: Which platform will help startups grow fast?
Attendees:80+ so far
Location: Mijita at Public House on September 8th at 8:30pm.Updates to UpOut (my company)
Got into Tandem’s incubator (prev investments: ZumoDrive, Juice in the City and PlayHaven). Psyched

Larry Chiang
Larry Chiang 3:43am Sep 9
Send me a summary (12 sentences) and two pictures so I can blog it

Martin Shen mentioned you in an answer

Martin Shen mentioned you in an answer to “What’s the best launch strategy for a web startup?”.”In short, the best way to launch is to just do it. Then hustle and tell people about it. If you can… focus 100% of your energy in hustling only on the web. Do not do launch parties or events.

I think Scoble and the others here provided good answers but I would suggest that events themselves are unlikely to help your situation. I don’t actually think that major tech events are at all a great way to launch for the vast majority of products. Rather, launch is just something you do when you’re ready… use a date as a target that keeps the team motivated to complete work (whether it’s 100% or not). All in all, startups should just launch on the web and focus on that. More detailed below.

First the experience at tech events:
In my experience, I’ve seen, launched and help launch products at several different major techie events. I’ve been to SXSW this year, DEMO, TC Disrupt and Le Web. I’ll go through each one to describe my experience there.

At SXSW this year, I was helping my dorm mate launch a new version of Min.Us, a dead simple file sharing system. The press coverage was near non-existent due to the shear overflow of people and startups. I think that there were at least 500 companies there that wanted to show their next big thing to the point that it was just tiring. Even the “big” winners like GroupMe didn’t get that big of a boost from SXSW at least not in comparison to the FourSquare boost or Twitter (which didn’t even launch at SXSW) boost at SouthBy in years past. Hipster which had also gained massive buzz pre-SXSW saw less than 2500 sign ups (most of them just to test the system). Now, they’re just super quiet. Furthermore, tons of startups spent way too much to acquire far too few customers. In other words, launching at SXSW just makes you one of those guys to the press (nothing really special at all)… if you’re small and not giving away laptops.. no one will care.

That said, go to SXSW and meet the right people.. We got in touch with some top rank VCs at SXSW but not through launching there.

LeWeb is relatively small but a great way to meet the European scene. Here, you’re bound to get more attention when you talk to people due to the decreased competition. That said, people here tend to be less interested in walking by booths nor is the event itself completely focused on startups. LeWeb would be my ideal choice to launch if you can host an excellent afterparty or do something that will get everyone’s attention. Otherwise, it’s a great event to go to.

TCD is just TCD… it’s focused completely on startups. Thus, like SXSW unless you’re doing something insanely interesting (aka not the next mobile location based app), you’ll be ignored or forgotten within seconds.

At DEMOFall09, I launched a new business, Weels Corp. This was my first big event and we were one of the youngest groups there (we even had a highschooler founder). We launched way too early with an unfinished product. We got some press from CNet and Computerworld (but all old school publications). We primarily got attention because we were so young (the second youngest at DEMO ever) and that we had funded the $20K to present all ourselves. However, if you think about this (and which is why I try not to focus on stories) is that when people read your story…. they will likely only remember the story. You want people to focus on your product. For example: I just read a story on young startups in Boston moving to SF but the story doesn’t bother to get me interested in the businesses (again, unless they sound EXTREMELY interesting and relavant in the first 2 sentences). The best example of this will be LikeALittle (or LAL). As for DEMO, I wouldn’t suggest going… this conference will eventually die off.

The advice:
This is all very relevant as I am launching a new business, UpOut, a community built city guide. As others have stated, the first thing is to make sure you have an awesome product. Do this by asking your friends and track if they are actually using it. We did this by creating a very quick (1 week) minimum viable product and asked for feedback at a student entrepreneurship event in NYC called Kairos. In 1 day, we demoed to over 300 people perfecting the pitch and addressing specific issues. Now, we’ve come back to reiterate releasing the second version which we posted on HN… where we quickly answered questions. In our next release, we will “launch” and start real marketing (not just getting feedback)

We aren’t doing a launch party or anything… rather I feel that I can contact and get in touch with influential and relevant Twitter users and smaller blogs in the time it would take for me to put together/pay for a launch party/event. If you have built in viral loops into your website, then you’ll get additional referral traffic. THEN, once you get the traffic or the investors, blogs like TC or Mashable will write about you.

So, imagine if you had all members of your team (3 for us) sending personal emails written to influencers (of a conservative 2 to 10 thousand via followers or RSS etc.) for the 5 full days it takes to partake in a conference. Let’s assume a 5 to 15% response rate from those influencers, 30% click conversion for their followers and that you could contact 5 per hour.

3 team X 12 hrs X 5 days X 5 influencers X 5% = ~45 active influencers
45 X 2000 followers X 30% click rate = min 27,000 views/exposure

This is also without any viral loops (like retweet, reblog etc.). This technique is also far more probable than the random luck that you get a full TC article with a VERY low conversion rate.

In other words, your time is much better spent digitally rather than fixating yourself on TC. In addition to this technique, your team should also submit your project to all open listings and forums. This includes HN, Reddit, Convore,, AngelPad, CrunchBase, KillerStartups, StartupWizz etc. Be sure to get your friends to vote you up to give you a boost on Ask HN: Please Review.

If you ABSOLUTELY must have a launch party… I suggest you read this article by Larry Chiang:…

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