"Do you really think that all Search Engine Optimization is useless?"
"Surely you don't think that advertising is dead!"
"PR works for some people. How come you say we can't count on it?"
"All music labels aren't dead... just some of them."
I spend my days trying to make a point (or two). Trying to change minds. Sometimes, people are motivated by carefully shaded differences, delivered with reams of data by dispassionate observers. And sometimes it snows in Florida.
In my experience, many people get a concept stuck in their head and it grows to a size inappropriate to the original idea. I've met countless entrepreneurs and marketers who believe that one national TV ad, or one appearance on Oprah, or one lucky link in Google is the answer to their prayers.
Whether you're running for President, running a non-profit or trying to go public, there is no shortcut. No obvious, easy, predictable solution that will get you the success you want. Instead, I'm pretty sure, you're going to have to do a lot of work and build a measurable, predictable, improvable system that keeps getting better over time. And the miracles (that great link on Yahoo, that appearance on Air America) is just a bonus.
So, if I go a little overboard (as I did, intentionally, in my SEO post below) please cut me a little slack. All other things being equal, is an optimized website better than one that's not? Sure. All other things being equal, is a check from Fred Wilson's venture fund better than bootstrapping with no cash? Yep.
But first, you've got to make all other things equal. First, you and your colleagues have to do the hot, dusty and dreary work of building a permission asset one person at a time. You've got to create a remarkable product or service. You need to include that free prize that people want to talk about. Then, once all other things are equal, go wild!