Well, today we lifted the veil (somewhat unexpectedly) on PubSub 2.0; or rather, the fact that there will soon be such a thing. We announced via TechCrunch and GigaOM that we have acquired a number of the assets of PubSub Concepts, Inc. from the asset holder and have raised a series A financing for our company, Something Simpler. Of course, that’s the real story for a lot of people, but what I found fascinating was the process of propagating the story.
Om Malik is a guy whom I’ve known for some time and whom I’ve been able to bounce ideas off of regarding this and other deals, so it’s no surprise that I was able to compel him to write about us. With other writers, I wasn’t sure about the cachet which PubSub’s notoriety would carry, and whether the idea of it coming back (in the generic sense) was enough to tickle their interest.
The good news is it was. But what’s interesting is the lesson I got in realtime journalism, today, as the story unfolded.
I sent Michael Arrington an email via FaceBook, since we’ve never met before, to see if we could set up a briefing time for a pitch. I told him a little about what we were up to and what has transpired in PubSub’s past. I had also filled out the Contact Form at the TechCrunch web site not really expecting it to go anywhere important. What happened next, between Michael and me and Om, was unbelievably impressive.
Michael called me within 3 minutes of sending the FaceBook email. I was astonished. We started talking about our news pretty-much right away and I gave him some background on us and on PubSub. We got down to the nitty-gritty, and I talked about our vision and our product goals, some of which were later mentioned in the piece. I could tell he was working on background checks and talking to other people even as we were conversing — proof (no surprise) at how well-connected he has become. He’s not a fan of embargoes, which is PR lingo for holding a story until a specific release date, so he wanted to roll right away.
Meanwhile, Om was grilling me on IM after I mentioned that I was going to “let” Michael break the story (I now owe Om dinner for not giving him the scoop). It took me about 15 minutes to realize that Om had written the first paragraph of the story and was banging away at the “PUBLISH” button every single time he made an edit or added another sentence. So his post, which beat Michael’s by about an hour (Om now owes me dinner for taking the scoop anyway) but with limited detail, and he grew the piece ad hoc as he interviewed me. If you reloaded the page during that time, as I started to, you could use it as a rolling bulletin. I don’t think that many users of GigaOM appreciate how often he does this … it’s a very compelling idea, but I think the method is slightly kludgey.
Anyway, an hour after talking to Michael I got a call from TechCrunch’s LA office following up on the form submission. They were interested in doing a story, too… and the correspondent seemed almost angry that Michael (his boss) had scooped him.
Next, a number of tech bloggers that I reached out to while talking to Om started emailing back and forth. I’m looking forward to their more detailed pieces in the coming days and weeks. Again, it’s their responsiveness, in the face of what surely is a firehose of information, that impresses me and gets them the opportunity to write good stories.
In contrast, I’m still waiting for a number of print media types to get back to us, having reached out to them days ago. Sure, we want them to cover the story, as it’ll interest their readers, but they’ve lost the chance to break some cutting-edge news.