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Paused… for now

Hi Folks – You’ve probably noticed that there haven’t been any posts here for a few years. I’ve been focused on my current business and haven’t been working on word of mouth marketing. Still here: All the archives of timeless advice at On hold: Startup advice, consulting, speaking.  Paused: Feel free to sign […]

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How to get slowly famous

I’m writing this post for someone who has a book to promote, but is horrified by the idea of being a self-promoting marketer. He does a lot of writing and a lot of the right promotional things, but they aren’t adding up to a big hit. Here’s the secret: Make it easier to be a […]

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Oil: What the heck is happening?

Want to really understand what’s going on with all the crazy things happening in the oil business? Read this book: The Green and the Black. The Complete Story of the Shale Revolution, the Fight over Fracking, and the Future of Energy The book is by my brother, Gary Sernovitz, described as “a brilliant novelist, hilarious […]

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Recruiting for culture is hard.

There are only a handful of truly culture-driven companies. (There’s a lot of talk, there’s a lot of values statements, but little actual culture.) Real culture is hard. It’s hard because it takes emotion, introspection, commitment, and endless hard work. It’s also hard because it requires a different kind of recruiting. You have to make […]

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My company’s moving to a 44-acre ranch next year

Last year, we bought 44 acres of land in northeast Austin to build a brand new campus for my company, GasPedal. It’s been our dream to have a place to make our own that’s both communal and private, where we can collaborate in shared spaces, but also retreat to somewhere quiet when we need to. […]

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Northwestern is offering a free social media course for entrepreneurs

Their course on social marketing teaches entrepreneurs how to build a social media strategy along with a lot of other important things to know about making money in a digital climate. It’s part of their massive open online courses, or MOOCs, on Coursera. Of course, since I used to teach word of mouth marketing and […]

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Doing it right vs. Doing it on time

You have a choice how to get there: Launch quick, launch big, or launch great.  You can hit a deadline, feel proud, and get a thumbs up from the boss (or investors).  You can follow the very trendy strategy of “minimum viable product” and launch something that’s just OK and make it better later (if […]

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Service through technology (We’re going to the White House)

We’re in a time of crappiness in politics — endless roadblocks, complaining, and negativity. But there’s a bright spot in Washington: The amazing work of the US Digital Service. They are teaching government agencies how to build better software. This matters, because each improvement makes life easier for millions of citizens. Faster care for veterans, […]

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Better is better than new.

Beef jerky might be the oldest form of prepared food. But that doesn’t mean that entrepreneurs can’t find a new way to make it special. The folks at are doing delicious things with star chefs (sriracha honey!) — along with a lot of clever marketing. (They sent me some excellent samples – check out […]

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