Weekend Reads

Airbnb’s trashed PR strategy

By Oliver Milman
Thursday, 28 July 2011

PR LoudspeakerThe problem with making a lot of noise about your start-up is that if the PR backfires, you’re in more serious trouble than if you’d slid under the radar.


Airbnb, the accommodation site that recently raised $112 million and is currently battling it out with Wimdu for the affections of Australians, is a case in point.


The business will be cursing the headlines generated by the systematic trashing of an Airbnb user’s house by a rogue guest. You can get all the details of what was stolen and destroyed here although it’s hard to see what Airbnb is going to do to patch up what appears to be a gaping hole in its business model.


PR also seems to be on the mind of a number of US celebrities when it comes to the start-up community.


Not only is former basketball great Magic Johnson turning his hand to venture capital, it appears that Ashton Kutcher fancies himself as a tech wizard and, along with Madonna’s manager, is investing in a small Berlin-based start-up. 


If you want to get your own start-up noticed by the celeb-infested investor masses, you could do worse than getting a spot on AngelList, which has just hit its 18th month and has generated more than 400 deals.


Alternatively, you could become one of the start-ups that Google is looking to snap up or simply start a website as a 15-year-old and grow it into a $100 million business, as MyYearbook has done.


If MyYearbook isn’t the ideal source of inspiration for you, why not check out this list of the top 20 start-ups currently in Silicon Valley. 


Need to hire? How about using social media? G’on. 


Finally, Weekend Reads was saddened to hear of Amy Winehouse’s death last weekend. But there’s just no way that the singer’s demise could hold a lesson for small businesses, is there? Well, according to “award winning entrepreneur and marketer” Tricia Fox, the answer is a resounding “Yes, there is”. 

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