The Connected Get More Connected

Interesting story on MSNBC yesterday about generating buzz by cultivating relationships with influencers. The column by Brad Stone runs in Newsweek, and discusses the phenomenon introduced in Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point”. That is, get the right handful of people talking about your product, and the masses will follow. 

The brainchild behind the Silicon Valley 100 is 31-year-old entrepreneur—and Connector—Auren Hoffman, founder of San Francisco marketing firm The Stonebrick Group. He hopes to turn the Silicon Valley 100 into a profitable enterprise. Companies will pay a fee for the privilege of gifting products to its elite members. After reading “The Tipping Point” several years ago, Hoffman wondered if one could harness the Connector concept in Silicon Valley, and intentionally cultivate the same kind of grass-roots enthusiasm that sprouted around companies like TiVo, Netflix, Research in Motion (makers of the Blackberry) and Handspring (original makers of the Treo). “I set out to find the 100 most influential people in Silicon Valley,” he says.

Some prominent bloggers are apparently included in the Silicon Valley 100—Joi Ito and Ross Mayfield, for example—but Hoffman actually says he avoided “career bloggers and journalists” in favor of highly placed technology folk and venture capitalists like Marc Andreessen and Tim Draper.
You may be interested in checking out Auren Hoffman’s blog. The Stonebrick Group’s Web site was timing out when I tried to look at it tonight, or maybe I have the wrong URL. Anybody?

A few more tidbits:

  • Ross Mayfield passed on the first product (a toilet seat) and says that he will be disclosing when he does post: “If I accept a product or service I will disclose it, may write an opinion about it, not sure if I will keep it or not it as I explore this grey area openly.”
  • Joi Ito makes it clear he can’t be told what to say. “When I get a product from Silicon Valley 100, I will state this clearly in any blog post that refers to it and will say what I think.” Don’t miss his audio post conversation with Auren Hoffman.
  • Dan Gillmor thinks it’s all a little “creepy.”
  • The Slashdot take is mixed—there’s a lot of weary acceptance among bids to join the group and expressions of outrage.


Posted by Susannah Gardner on 01/22 at 06:25 PM • Blogging News
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