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Let me echo the sentiments that TC isn't worth jack shit. I am at a startup now that has been slogging it out for 3 years, slowly meeting people in the industry, doing deals, and building traction with the product one day at a time. We've received a lot of press in various forms, the only ones that generated any lasting traffic were partnerships with big names. The general news coverage (blog and print) was pretty worthless, with TC ranking near the bottom. That might not be true for tech-centric products like Twitter where the service itself is disproportionately useful to tech bloggers like Arrington and Scoble, and thus they gush all over the product for months on end with utter disregard for the uselessness of the product outside their own niche, but it's true for most products. The bottom line is there are lots of ways to get the word out about your product, and media coverage is not anywhere near the best one.

The first thing you need to do is make your product compelling. There is a reason for all the talk about rapid iteration, minimum viable product, and the lean startup; creating a compelling product is hard. There is no formula for it, and customers are infuriatingly fickle. It's hard enough with established markets for things people really need (eg. food, toiletries, houses, cell phones), but when you're creating something brand new there's this huge hurdle to get people to understand how it fits into their life. There's no telling what will make something compelling, so you need to just put something out and iterate on it. Get 5 customers, get 10 customers. If these people find your product compelling and can give you real world feedback and evangelize the product, that is worth more than 50,000 visits from bored TCers who spend 5 minutes then jump to the next story.

I think the apparent contradiction or myth about the value of TC coverage comes from the following point. That TC coverage is probably good for having would-be investors find out about you. But TC coverage is probably nowhere near as good for having would-be customers find out about you. The average Joe does not follow TC. They watch CNN, Oprah, football games, etc. The tech hipnorati might follow -- even if a level or so indirectly removed from -- TC, but your neighbors, your mom, etc. do not.

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