Alex's Tech Thoughts

Calling Out A Competitor

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I recently saw a company in a very crowded space tweet something negative about their competitor. The first thing I thought was, damn, this company must not be very comfortable in their own skin. They are scared.

It’s the same thing I thought when I saw the Keith Rabois, Yelp board member, negative tweet about Foursquare. Yelp must be nervous about Foursquare (and they should be. Foursquare has better data and is more mobile friendly).

Long story short, don’t tweet anything negative about a competitor. There is no upside and it shows fear.

Checkout other articles in these categories:

Competition Crowded Spaces foursquare yelp
Digital Tools I Use Everyday

I’ve been thinking about tools I use everyday and wondered how they stacked up to others.

Here is what I use:

1) Twitter (news)

2) Facebook (distribution of my blog and keeping up with friends)

3) LinkedIn (getting updates on who moved jobs, looking up people, connecting with others)

4) Google+ and Skype (google hangouts with Dwolla team for daily meeting and skype for other calls)

5) Google Docs (I rarely use Microsoft Word or Excel- only if I’m in a spot with no internet)

6) Tumblr (post my blog on Tumblr)

7) Gmail and Gchat (to email and chat)

8) Instagram (when I take photos)

9) Foursquare (using Explore to find places around me or to let friends know where I am)

10) Citibank and American Express (check on my finances)

11) Reddit and Hacker News (I’m mostly a lurker, but peruse both each day)

12) Dwolla (I work there and I pay people back with Dwolla)

13) Eventbrite (I typically have an event going on, so I check Eventbrite frequently)

14) Verizon, Time Warner, Con Edison (check my bills almost daily)

15) Games: Angry Birds, Derby Jackpot (Angry Birds played typically in the subway if no internet)

16) Spotify (I listen at my desk and with mobile app- easily worth the $10 a month)

17) Brewster (I have found it to be a much better address book)

18) Dropbox (sharing files and such)

I’m sure I am missing a few, but that is a good high level overview.

What am I missing? What do you use that is awesome and you can’t live without?

Leave it in the comments below.

Best Practice Of Press Release

There are many articles about dealing with press out there, not so many around dealing with the actual release.

When your company has something to announce to the public, the best thing to do is put together a company blog post that outlines exactly how you would like the news to be viewed and consumed by the outside world.

Once you have the blog post ready it is time to start talking to various outlets (which outlet(s) depends on if it is something embargoed or exclusive). You should understand which audience you are trying to reach. Investors? Developers? Consumers? Some other demographic? Then you should match the outlet(s) with the proper demographic you are trying to reach. This article can tell you more info on that.

I’ll skip the part about getting in front of the press writers and jump to the discussion you should be having.

You should have your talking points and things you’d like to get across in the conversation. Tell your story, product release, etc. to the journalist. Explain to them why they and their readership should care. Once they have committed to covering the news, you should share with them a password protected unpublished blog post. You should do this for a few reasons:

1) They can refer to it when they are writing up their piece if they don’t catch something or you don’t have enough time to give them the entire story on the phone/in-person.

2) Journalists write many stories a day while covering their respective beat. You are making their lives easier by assisting them in covering you (taking down any barriers for them is key).

3) You can publish the post and then let them link to your company, driving traffic to you and your news.

Announcing the news via a company blog post is the best practice when releasing press. It gives the company control of how they would like the news to be covered.

Look at some of the best technology companies with new releases- usually the press refers to their blog post (see Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Checkout other articles in these categories:

Best Practices Press Startups Twitter Faceboook Foursquare