3 Essential PR Tips for Startups

3 Essential PR Tips for Startups

We are living in an age of entrepreneurship, and the opportunity to grow a startup to a multi-million dollar company is incentive enough for many people to start their own business. In the ever-changing world of startups, there needs to be a way to set your company apart from your competition. By using these PR tips, you’ll be able to help your company develop and manage a strong and unique identity.

Prepare for the Worst (and the Best)

When you first release your product to the world, there is no telling what kind of response you are going to get. You need to be aware that you may not get any press coverage at all, and you need to have an action plan in order for if that happens. What are you going to do if you don’t get a single phone call from a reporter or blogger? How are you going to market your company in the coming months to gain that press? On the flipside, you may release your product and you are getting more interview requests than you can possibly keep up with. Have a plan for any situation so you know where you are going to go regardless of what happens. A reactionary response without a plan will look and feel like desperation.

Identify your Target

Usually, when someone tells an entrepreneur to identify their target, that target is in terms of customers. I believe most entrepreneurs should already know who their customers are before they delve into the PR of their company. I’m talking about targets in terms of media outlets and journalists. You should have a growing list of places and people you want to contact with your releases as you write them. Make sure that your releases are tailored and personalized for each outlet and journalism, at least early on. That extra work to make a personal connection will go a long way to building relationships in the long run.

If you Need Help, Hire Help

If you are launching your product, you most likely do have someone who is dedicated to managing the public relations of your company. Even for an experienced PR professional it can be a daunting task to tackle a release. There are professionals out there who specialize in startup launches. Their services may be more expensive than your average firm, but the experience they bring from prior startup launches heavily outweighs the disaster you may have on your hands if you run into a PR nightmare.

Launching a startup is extremely difficult, and a lot of things need to go your way into order to launch successfully. There will never be a flawless launch, buy by covering your bases with these tips you will be on your way to generating great press.



The Future of Autonomous Vehicles

The Future of Autonomous Vehicles

It’s no surprise that the next big innovation in the automobile industry is fully autonomous vehicles. Automotive leaders across the world are all competing design the first mass-produced autonomous vehicle for commercial roadways. Driverless vehicles are already being utilized in the mining industry, and Tesla has rolled out vehicles with an autopilot mode over the past year. Some companies, Google included, have been testing driverless cars, but they are not being mass produced. So how far are we from seeing fully autonomous vehicles driving through our cities?

It seems hard to believe, but it has already been two years since Audi sent an autonomous A7 from San Francisco to CES in Las Vegas. The 569-mile journey was a monumental accomplishment for Audi and the autonomous community alike. The trip showed the capabilities of driverless vehicles even though they were not (and still are not) being mass produced.  

Tesla is the company that is usually top of mind in most autonomous vehicle conversations. The Autopilot feature on the Model S and Model X allows the driver have a hands-free “driving” experience. The Autopilot technology is constantly being improved via software updates, and the updates download in real time with over-the-air syncing. In December Tesla rolled out “Enhanced Autopilot” with a few key improvements. Enhanced Autopilot will match the speed of traffic conditions, keep within lanes or change lanes without needing driver input, transition from one freeway to another, exit the freeway, park in a parking spot, and be summoned to you from your garage. A Tesla recently predicted a collision two cars ahead of it on the freeway and alerted the driver before it happened.

There seems to be a common timeframe for other vehicle manufacturers to roll out autonomous cars to the masses. Ford made an announcement in August of 2016 that it will start shipping self-driving cars without steering wheels, brake pedals, or gas pedals by 2021. Ford CEO Mark Fields stated that the auto giant is moving towards being a mobility company instead of an auto company by launching a new subsidiary, Ford Mobility Solutions. Ford also plans on doubling up on employees in Silicon Valley and opening new offices and labs in Palo Alto. BMW, Toyota, Tesla, Volkswagon, and other manufacturers are all along the same timeline, give or take a year.

While sitting behind the lack of a wheel in an autonomous vehicle seems like something we’ll all be doing in the future, it is going to be a slow process. Vehicles will be rolled out in different stages and with different features. The technology needed to make a car fully autonomous will increase the price by roughly $10,000, and early predictions show that consumers will be very hesitant to make a purchase until the cars are proven to be safe.

The most important factor to getting these vehicles on the road comes in the form of laws and regulations. With autonomous vehicles taking the road, lawmakers must come up with a whole new rulebook to set the standards for driverless vehicles.

A Beginner’s Guide to “Local” Travel

picnic-1208229_1920A few years ago, I was traveling to New York when I realized that many of the cities I had visited lately were starting to blend together. There was nothing that stood out to me about the cities, and I started wondering if I was the only person feeling that way. After doing some research, I came across analysis done by Eric Fisher based on the geolocation of Twitter images by users visiting the city and users who were local to the city. The results of this project shaped the way I travel to this day. By avoiding the typical tourist destinations, I have been able to appreciate each city for its unique destinations off the beaten path. This following tips will help take the guesswork out of “local” travel to let you experience your next destination like you’ve been living there for years.

Stay with Airbnb

One of the reasons every city started blending together for me was where I was staying. Every franchised hotel looks like the one before it. Before you make any hotel reservations, check out Airbnb to get a genuine feel for the city. The concept behind Airbnb is simple and rapidly taking over the travel industry: someone in a location has a spare room, so they rent it to someone else traveling to that destination. Resting your head in a building built in the 1800s just outside of the city limits will trump any experience you can have where they offer continental breakfast.

Turn your phone off

It seems counterintuitive for someone to turn their phone off in a strange city in 2016, but to me, it is one of the most important ways to truly experience somewhere new. On your first day there, make time to walk around and take in the sights by truly experiencing them. If you see anything that you absolutely need a picture or video of, there will be time for that later in your trip. Make sure you know where you are staying before you leave, but don’t be afraid to get a little lost and venture off the beaten path. Always have at least one other person by your side before you set out to explore.

Talk to the locals

There are a plethora of travel apps that will give you the best-rated restaurants, shops, and attractions in any given city. The problem is, the majority of those destinations are voted on by people who do not actually live in the city. If you want the best Italian dining experience while you travel, talk to someone who has tried more than one Italian restaurant in the city. Walk into a small business and ask someone working there for some recommendations. It is likely that they will recommend another small business, which is where you’ll get your most authentic experience.

The idea of “local” travel is not just a unique way to experience a new city, but it is also a way to support the businesses that are the foundation of that city. Whether you are out to eat, seeing a show, or buying souvenirs for your family, you’ll have a better experience with the locals.

The Art of Dining Alone



food-tomato-largeDuring the summer, I’m able to travel with my family but for work, I often find myself wandering down unfamiliar streets, stepping into small cafés and eateries. One thing that’s

When I was younger, the act of dining or traveling alone was not as appealing. But as I’ve explored more parts of the world and have learned to enjoy the quiet moments of discovery, I’ve come to look forward to these experiences as acts of self-reflection. It’s also a great opportunity to people watch.

If you’re not in the habit of dining alone, it can feel like a big step. Several thoughts might be running through your mind. Are people watching me? What will I discuss? Will I be bored?

Rest assured, like any adventure, it becomes less awkward, and more enjoyable over time. Take a look at the following tips. Dining alone is the foundation of a seasoned traveler.

Leave your amor at home

If you’re leaving your amour at home, then I’m guessing you’re also able to spend one night alone with just your company. Take ‘amor’ to mean anything that you can bring with you to distract from the experience: phone, tablet, magazine, book. Of course, you won’t always want to dine without these items, but to truly master the art of dining alone, you’ve got to be comfortable with your own company.

Find the Right Spot

Dining alone for the first few times will feel strange. To help relax you, find the right environment to make this work. My recommendation? Opt for a quiet, dimly lit bistro that is perhaps more accommodating to the solo diner than a loud, trendy eatery.

Wear the Right Attitude

Dogs can smell fear. Babies can, too. Take a deep breath and channel your inner confidence. We may be programmed to expect that our dining habits are social, but our perceptions shouldn’t define our experiences.

Think about it. Single people eat the majority of their meals alone. If you can’t remember the last meal you’ve eaten alone, take this as an opportunity to enjoy a time with yourself.

Take Advantage of your Server’s Expertise

When you’re alone, you’ll have a longer amount of time to spend with your menu. Instead of trying to choose a meal on your own, enlist the help of your server. Nobody has a better knowledge of the food than your server, so take advantage of their inside intel.

Make the Occasion Memorable

Find a reason to celebrate this meal. Maybe you just received a big job promotion. Or you’ve just completed the half-marathon you were training for over the last year. Maybe the event is smaller. You’re committing to a positive change in your life. You read 15 books last year. Whatever event you want to highlight, take advantage of the evening. Positive reinforcement does wonders for our own personal growth.

What did I miss? Do you have any secrets on how to break into the art (and enjoyment) of dining alone?