How to Get 200+ Media Outlets in 21 Countries to Love Your Startup

The Vorkspace team also has a meetup group called “Igniters”, which gathers a strong community of Stanford entrepreneurs and Silicon valley founders. We had our inaugural session on 2nd May 2013, where we had James Kennedy of to speak about growth hacking: how to capture our first 1000 customers. That was extremely useful for all founders of early stage startups that were present at the event, for many successful stories speak about how they grow their businesses to the millions, but seldom describe their strategy to get their earliest adopters that built their brand and traction. Yossi Feinberg, Professor of economics from Stanford Graduate School of Business, was also present at the event to give us support. It was a complete sell out of 114 attendees, with a majority signing up within the first 2 days of announcing the event!

Yesterday, the Igniters met for the second time, and we had Ben Kaplan from PR Hacker teaching us PR hacking: the best ways to reach out to 200+ media across 21 countries. It was, once again, a full house. Ben was a very engaging speaker who “lit up the audience”, as we quote one of the attendees. Not only did he describe how best to successfully engage the media, but also discussed how to strategize between using press releases and live media. As a bonus, a handful of fortunate startups were also selected to go through “lightning pitches” where Ben, together with the audience, came up with 3-5 quick ideas on how to market the startups.

We have a great line up of many more speakers. Keep a lookout for our future events, or join our Igniter meetup group to receive announcements on our upcoming activities!

Ben Kaplan is a rare “quadruple threat” PR and media expert:  Over the course of his 15-year career in the media, he has been featured on 2,000 TV and radio shows (such as Oprah and Good Morning America), served as a media spokesperson for major brands (such as Dr. Pepper and Discover Card), founded a boutique PR firm (with clients like Citibank and Sallie Mae), and worked as a syndicated columnist and commentator (including columns for The New York Times and TIME). Ben is also a best-selling author, acclaimed public speaker, and the creator of the “PR Hacker Toolbox” — a turnkey do-it-yourself system that helps any start-up generate massive media and PR coverage.  As a true media superstar, Ben continues to garner amazing media coverage each and every day, and has helped hundreds of other companies do it, too.

James is Founder and “growth hacker” at  James has founded a number of bootstrapped, profitable businesses specializing in creating online marketplaces. He left his native Ireland four years ago and has since been living the life of an ‘international vagabond’ across three continents (Latin America, South Africa and Europe), all while building his business. He has developed a wealth of experience in the online marketing and customer development space. James has a computer science degree from the University of Dublin.


Top 5 problems distributed teams face

The Vorkspace team has been working very hard to make sure we understand our potential customers as best we can, so we can create a product that fits your needs well. One of our strategies to do so, is of course to talk to them! We went on to the streets around Silicon Valley, talking to a variety of people.

Amongst the people we interviewed included a number of Stanford entrepreneurs and Silicon Valley founders. 9 out of 10 indicated that they have worked in a distributed team in one way or another, either as managers, collaborators or individual contributors. This agrees with results from a working habit survey 2012 by Wrike, which indicated that 83% of respondents collaborate remotely at least part of the day, which is expected to increase to >60% of offices becoming fully virtual in the next 1-5years!


Here are the top 5 challenges our interviewees indicated of working in a distributed team:

  1. Ineffective and unclear communication

  2. Time difference

  3. Unable to track working status

  4. Cannot iterate quickly

  5. Lack of social interaction