1.When and how should a company seek press coverage?
2.The difference between marketing and communications
3.Building relationships with reporters
4.Being or identifying a great communications leader
Early on, most founders and investors focus on getting positive press, but if they’re unfortunate or make mistakes, mitigating bad coverage becomes a common goal. Broadly, communications consists of how and what information to share, both inside and outside of the company, touching domains like management, recruiting, marketing, and business development. It’s also highly optimizable and often, mission critical - the difference between dramatic success and catastrophic failure.
We spoke with three communications experts to learn more:
Sean Garrett was Twitter’s first VP of Communications. He previously worked for Governor Pete Wilson of California and has founded two separate communications firms, with clients including Slack, Cisco, and Disney. He’s currently a Managing Partner at Pramana Collective.
Faryl Ury is a former reporter with experience at NPR and the Associated Press. Her communications experience also began in government, working for US Senator Jeanne Shaheen before managing comms at Square and Uber. She was then a marketing executive at Dropbox before becoming the Director of Communications at Aurora, a leading autonomous vehicle company, with investors including Sequoia Capital, Amazon, and Hyundai.
Adi Raval started as a journalist at ABC News and the BBC, covering 9/11, the Iraq War, and the White House. He moved into government as a diplomat for the State Department serving in Afghanistan, and later, as a spokesperson and Director of Communications at USAID. After leaving government, Adi was the top communications executive for the Bechtel Corporation, the Head of Comms and PR for TaskRabbit, and now the Head of Communications at Kodiak Robotics. He’s also a term member for the Council on Foreign Relations.
Below is a synthesized summary of our conversation; check out The Operators for the full episode.
Best startups generally come from somebody needing to scratch an itch.