Stop Worrying About the Embargo

If you’re a regular reader of the tech blogosphere, you may have seen some hooplah about startup embargoes. It’s a hot button issue with a lot of bloggers.

(BTW, I think Ryan’s justified to be upset. Publishing second or publishing 12 hours later simply doesn’t get you the traffic, the Techmeme headline, etc. Everyone loses.)

I’ve never really had a problem with embargoes in general, though. When I was a journalist, my job was to write good stories and help entrepreneurs — and if a great story comes with an embargo, then that was fine with me. The occasional screw-up just comes with the territory of the embargo. Journalists and bloggers know what they’re getting themselves into.

Here’s the core issue with embargoes, though: you have to have experience with the press to not fuck them up. Google knows how to do an embargo — they’ve literally done HUNDREDS of them for their various products. But a first-time entrepreneur who has never had to deal with the press on a regular basis? There’s a good chance he or she is going to fuck up.

That’s why, in general, I advise companies to stick with one publication for their launches, so I agree with MG Siegler on that point. I have two exceptions, though:

  • Entrepreneurs that need to hit publications in multiple industries. Some entertainment-focused companies should get coverage in both TechCrunch and Deadline (it’s the TC of Hollywood, and one of the few blogs I read on a daily basis), for example. An embargo makes sense in this circumstance, because the audiences are vastly different yet important.
  • Seasoned founders. People like Justin Kan (, Exec) have done this shit before. They know what they’re doing.

No press outlet or reporter is ever going to make or break your startup, so my advice is to not worry too much about it. Great products always trump great press. You’ll get better at dealing with the press the more you talk with them and get to know them.

So my advice is this: don’t worry about the embargo. Don’t worry about getting hundreds of headlines. Or, as my friend Stammy might say, stop fucking around and get back to work.