Why Technology Startup CEOs Must Blog
I’ve been blogging for a long time now – the initiation point was Michael Gartenberg encouraging Jupiter Research (now Forrester) to create a blog for its analysts. I like writing (though sometimes I have to force myself to make time for it!) and writing a blog post was always a great way to talk about relevant research or react to news stories, or just ideas bumping around in my head.
It’s great to sound smart and thoughtful about your industry and other things that are related to it, and even things totally unrelated. Being quoted in the WSJ is wonderful, but lets face it that doesn’t happen that often. When a CEO blogs, the company’s stakeholders know their leader is thinking, and often thinking ahead: he/she writes about big picture issues that might not even be problems they’re dealing with yet – a CEO who is unafraid to express viewpoints about important issues (e.g. the pre-revenue CEO talking about how one should treat customers in their view based on what they see in everyday situations) can instill confidence in employees, investors and partners alike even before the company has a product in market.
I really believe that tech startup CEOs have to make time to blog. Not just on their company’s blog, but also elsewhere in a venue that can be somewhat freer and not as constrained by thoughts of marketing and positioning. And I don’t mean Tweeting either. Twitter is great and startup ceo’s must tweet too (don’t get me wrong), but you need a spot where you can put up more detailed, reasoned viewpoints and discussions that won’t fit into one or more 140-character bursts. I recently have come to enjoy posting on Quora.com, but I think the tech CEO can still find a destination audience for their thoughts.
Writing and sharing thoughts is a great way to learn about new technologies that you might not yet be using in your business. When your clients see you sharing information on a blog, they know that you really care about creating a conversation and communications stream with others, and often they see the passion you have about the stuff you’re working on and that authenticity certainly comes through.
Focus is very important for a startup leader, but so is not ignoring ideas and changes happening elsewhere. I think prospective employees want to get a sense that their leader can take a step back and isn’t always bogged down by details if it doesn’t serve, but can put them into perspective and drive their team to solve problems.
You get to frame the conversation and a lot of the time as the leader of a dynamic startup you’re not going to have that chance to make the first move. Take the chance to share your message on your own terms.