Forensics of a Start-up

the frank peters showRecently, Frank Peters of the Frank Peters Show posted an item about his latest podcast interview. The title “Media Matchmaker: autopsy of a failed startup” caught my eye. Frank spoke with the two cofounders of Media Match Maker Betsy Green and Jim Mahoney.

It was a refreshing change to have someone talk about a company that did not make it, and to try and understand what lessons could be learned from it. It was also personal for Frank, as he is an investor in the company.

The interview is a must-listen for entrepreneurs, and angel investors. Frank, in his typical relaxed way, manages to get to the heart of the story. Betsy Green, a pretty engaging speaker as well, gives an honest account as to how personality issues affected (for the worse) a start-up that was otherwise destined for super stardom.

media matchmaker

When first conceived, the Media Matchmaker idea was believed to be disruptive. People who make movies need sponsors. Advertisers want to place their products in movies. Enter Media Matchmaker, an eBay type marketplace that would allow buyers and sellers in the media ad market to connect.

Frank spoke to the principals of Media Matchmaker separately, as they are not speaking with each other, as well as investors in the company, to try and understand what happened. It was a great interview.

But then there was the drama behind the drama.

An attorney from DLA Piper, claiming to represent Media Matchmaker left a threatening comment on the Frank Peters blog.

As I was saying before you hung up on me, we represent Media Matchmaker. We are concerned about a recent posting on your site “Media Matchmaker: autopsy of a failed start-up.” The title itself is deformity as it falsely suggests that the company is defunct. Moreover, as an apparently disgruntled investor and creditor in the company with apparent allegiance to other investors and creditors, you are acting with conflicted interests. Further, you illegally taped the CEO of the company without her consent, in violation of the laws of the State of California. See Cal. Penal Code Section 632……. You are have now been placed on notice of your improper conduct, and any continued posting of the story will demonstrate — without any possible question whatsoever — that your conduct was intentional and malicious.

Clearly the commenter had not listened to the entire interview, at the end of which the CEO says that she is looking for an additional $500k in funding and that “maybe this interview will help us (find the funding)”, so clearly the CEO was aware that she was being recorded.

This led one of our bloggers (Sunny) to leave a comment on Frank’s blog.

It does not seem that Mr. Zucker has listened to the interview, especially the last few minutes of it. The CEO, is looking for additional 500k funding and says “… and may be this interview will help us (find the funding)!” (See at 53:45) I think this particular statement is an affirmative consent for taping and broadcasting within the “four corners of the documents” or in this case, within the “four bits of the mp3.

So, please, stop waving Section 632 gun! It is as effective as a wet noodle.

No matter what the reasoning, the fact that someone would actually attempt to put someone on legal notice via comments on their blog, is, to be sure, somewhat distasteful. It is almost as bad as sending a Dear John letter via SMS.

It reminds me of a recent conference where one of the keynote speakers (Sean Parker) was served with a legal summons, at the conference (for Facebook). The person who had served him had actually bought a ticket to the conference, and attended with the intention of serving the summons!

Recently, the CEO of AnywhereCD Michael Robertson posted a very thought provoking article on why the CD selling site was “unfortunately on its last flicker of light before it officially flames out in a few days” (September 30th).anywherecd

Clearly, as entrepreneurs and investors, we all want to learn from not only the success stories, but also find lessons in the tales of failure.

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One Response to “Forensics of a Start-up”

  1. By Frank Peters on Oct 3, 2021 | Reply

    Toni,
    Great to see your thoughts on the show. I knew as I was editing it that it was a good interview and my audience responded like no other show I’ve done. I did hold my breath when I cut and pasted the DLA Piper complaint into the blog, “great, now you’ve pissed off the whole law firm, not just one client.” So to wake up the next day and see Sunny fighting those dragons for me, well it made my week! A few days later though and others were calling to ask me to take down the interview; one of the Media Matchmaker founders was relentless in complaining, but as each of her ‘agents’ took the time to listen to the interview and especially her own remarks, then all those pressures evaporated.

    I’ve been podcasting for 2 years and this was a breakthrough for my show; I’m energized to continue.

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