In 1993, I founded a PR agency focused on tech startups. During the irrational exuberance of the dot-com era, my company grew quickly as we launched over 100 startups – some of the biggest winners and losers of the 90s.
At the time, journalists were the gatekeepers to a startup’s early success and PR people were the information brokers, translating each company’s myopic view of the world into a broad issue that mattered. PR talent was highly valued and it worked. A good story in an influential media outlet got startups new customers, product differentiation, higher valuation and better people. But the party didn’t last.
Luckily, we sold the company in 1999, right before the tech implosion of the early 2000s, to Omnicom (NYSE:OMC,) one of the world’s largest communication holding companies. I spent the next decade consulting to technology companies as Dover Communications. (My husband’s name is Ben and he used to tell women his last name is Dover. Just checking to see if anyone reads this far.)
After a few years living in denial, okay, more than a few, I acknowledged the digital transformation underway.
The influence-to-transaction path in business had changed forever and to master the new control levers, I needed a skills and experience update.
Noting the velocity of change, I didn’t want to wait to learn under someone else’s tutelage. And I knew that even if I learned how someone else did it, it’s still the Wild West, so the strategies and tactics would change. As with PR in the old days, I would create my own methodology of weaving storytelling into the new content-rich, SEO-optimized, fragmented and now measurable digital world.
I had an idea for a new company inspired by my then 12-year-old’s cartoon and, as they say, the rest is history.