You’re not entitled to anything. Hustle for everything you’re worth

I’ve received some very angry emails from founders that are trying to get their startup featured on TSF. For example:

“I submitted our startup yesterday, and you still haven’t written about us yet on The Startup Foundry! What gives? Is you head so far up your ass you can’t see how great our app is? You guys are exactly like TechCrunch!”

Typically I delete the email and setup a filter to automatically avoid any future contact with the person, but this time I felt compelled to respond to the founder (Perhaps it was the TechCrunch barb that pushed me over the edge) in public. I’m not going to write about his startup but I do want to share some universal advice with him.

You’re not entitled to anything. You must hustle for everything you’re worth.

The best way to get your startup covered is to have an awesome narrative, not a sense of entitlement. Writers are salivating to spread great stories about awesome startups. After all, everyone loves to root for the underdog.

Airbnb has one of my favorite hustling stories ever from a team of relatively “unknowns”.


The Airbnb founders came out of the summer 2008 Y Combinator class. They came to see us right after pulling a great stunt at the Democratic Convention in Denver (in which Obama was nominated). They bought a bulk supply of generic cheerios and made up these cereal boxes. They sold these Obama Os for $4 a box and sold 8,000 of them, raising $32,000 to provide seed capital for their startup. I asked them if they’d leave a box of the cereal for us and it has been sitting in our conference room ever since. Whenever someone tells me that they can’t figure out how to raise the first $25,000 they need to get their company started I stand up, walk over to the cereal box, and tell this story. It is a story of pure unadulterated hustle. And I love it.

Fred Wilson on AirBnB

How could you even begin to doubt these guys determination? Sure the story is a little bit silly, but the Airbnb people are the type of people you can’t help but write about. I’ve also put together an article covering 5 ways to make your startup ridiculously easy to write about to get you started. I hope you check it out.

Build a great company, be kind, and hustle. These are the things you need to move forward.

I wish you the best,
Paul Hontz

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