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May 13, 2006


Great advice to early-stage entreprenuers! Nothing can derail a young company as quickly as too much attention (and distraction) too early in the life of the company.

There are, however, opportunities on the Rubber-Chicken Circuit that companies may want to *carefully* exploit if they find themselves in the spotlight. The key is to think strategically rather than letting ego lead the way.

I wrote more about this topic in my article "Early Market Development and The Rubber-Chicken Circuit":

I agree with many of the comments on this post about the dangers of entrepreneurs to strike out on the road and become distracted with building buzz that they forget to build the business.

I'd just offer an alternate perspective -- I see a lot of early stage companies that are very insular and only talk to a small circle of friendlies and like-minded peers during the early stages of their company formation. This is also dangerous -- so there's a delicate balancing act of getting out there to talk to the market and customers and then going home to hunker down and translate that into what customers want to buy. We just have to encourage spending the right kind of time on the road -- in my view, that's the time spent face to face with prospective buyers with cash in their pockets.

Heh - Yeah, I know this one from bitter experience....

The problem is that attention begets more attention and more invitations. It feels like progress and success, but it's usually not. I say go to conferences, but have a business reason. And that means customers. Will customers be there? Accept the invitation. Can you afford not to care if customers are there? Accept the invitation. Otherwise, get back to work....

The only exception for me is conferences that require no travel, and that cost nothing for me to be there, like CES. That's just pure fun.....

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