Ok, no surprise, I'm a first time CEO. I have been around the block, but I never sat in the big chair. Today, I had one of those "CEO Moments". While not huge, it gave me pause as what was the right thing to do.
We have a press release coming out tomorrow (Tuesday) that talks about an acquisition that Lijit made last week. We don't do tons of press releases, but we do a few and always want them to represent significant events in our company's history. This met that bar, so we spent a fair amount of time getting it ready last week.
This weekend I sat down and decided to own the propagation of this release. I wanted to "see" what was possible if I just went "full on". I sent the release on to two local papers, TechCrunch, GigaOm, Mashable (who have covered us before), ReadWriteWeb (friends of ours), and eWeek. I exchanged emails with Michael Arrington from TechCrunch, and Clint Boulton from eWeek, etc.. On Sunday I had a nice conversation with Clint at eWeek – Damn I like a dude that will do a call on a Sunday!
Today, I got an email from ReadWriteWeb that they were interested in running the story. Wow, great, I love it. They are a great publisher and I love to read their stuff. Problem is - they ran it today (Monday) the day before our release goes out. Hmmm… That's a problem…
We aren't a public company so it's not really a disclosure issue.. Most of the conversations I had over the weekend with various writers asked "you want me to embargo this till Tuesday, right?" and I would answer "yes" as that's the day of the release. With RWW, the question was never asked, and I didn't answer.. As a result, I got what I got – Monday at noon, people calling me asking about the acquisition.
Now, before I go on, I have to say RWW's piece is one of the best every written on the company and the product. So – I'm happy about that.
But, now this left me in an awkward place. Here, was the CEO Moment.. TechCrunch, the holy grail of the online tech space, was hanging out there. I really want to foster a good relationship with them and in fact Arrington and I talked about that a bit in our emails. But, if they ran the story – it would be an also ran.. F*$K!
After some thought….some more thought…. A littttttle more thought….tonight I emailed Arrington that RWW broke the story . I also told him I understood if they didn't run the story and that I was after a more long term relationship. He told me no problem, it happens all the time, and they weren't going to run the story.
So.. I'm stuck with the "I had a TechCrunch Moment, but all I got was this blog post" tee-shirt.
Arrington and I are going to get together in a few weeks and I'm going to take him through Lijit and what we are up to. I was after the long term relationship so I threw myself under the bus. Dude, It hurts under the bus.