Brittanie Chludzinski

Tales of a Startup: Risk, Persistence and Market Fit

According to this week’s readings, “The PMARCA Guide to Startups,” taking risks and expecting the unexpected are two of the biggest challenges that come along with being a media entrepreneur today. The article outlines the three main categories in which most of these uncertainties exist: The caliber of your team, the quality of your product and the size of your market.

Upon learning that product/market fit is “king” when it comes to successful startups, I was very surprised. To the author’s earlier point, “can’t great products sometimes create huge markets?” While this can be true, it’s all about selling a valuable service or product at the end of the day. I think this week’s lesson ties in well with the Week Two reading, “Mastering the art of disruptive innovation in journalism.”

This insight about product/market fit further highlights the importance of analyzing the way individuals communicate and interact with one another and pinpointing the market’s “job-to-be-done” as discussed by Christensen. At the end of the day, success still lies in being a “disruptor” or a newcomer.

“The PMARCA Guide to Startups” gave me new insight on what makes a good team for a startup as well. Before reading this article, I always thought that the experience and “caliber” of a team was the most important element in maintaining a successful business or launching a lucrative startup for that matter. With this new perspective, I’m very interested to see how our class “founders” will structure their teams for the remainder of the semester. While experience may be important, it seems that passion for the product, resiliency and a “figure it out” attitude are more effective in the digital startup culture.

As a public relations student, I immediately wondered how such risks would influence the work being done by a startup’s PR team. In the beginning stages for example, not receiving strong media placements or having an interview fall through with a major publication at the last minute could be detrimental to the startup’s success.

As technology continues to be a growing sector that PR professionals are working and thriving in, it made me consider the other challenges that one would face among these risks and uncertainties. For example, how do you take out the jargon and explain the impact of your product and service to the general public effectively? If the original startup idea falls through and adjustments have to be made, how do you quickly change your key messaging with the media? More importantly, how do you reach these niche audiences that will use your technology most?

Overall, I think this reading provided great insight that made me more excited to begin working on our class startups, while also sparking my interest in the technology sector of PR.

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