B&O Street Insights: Andre Lauren Benjamin

Credit: Gage Skidmore
Credit: Gage Skidmore
Credit: Gage Skidmore

The next installment of the B&O Street Insights comes by way of Mr. Andre Lauren Benjamin, better known as Andre 3000 from the hip-hop duo Outkast. In 1996, Benjamin recited text for the chantey, “Elevators,” where he discussed the importance of maintaining a positive relationship with the media.

And I replied that I had been going through the same things that he had
True, I’ve got more fans than the average man,
but not enough loot to last me to the end of the week
I live by the beat, like you live check-to-check
If you don’t move your feet then I don’t eat, so we like neck-to-neck
– Andre 3000

Benjamin emphasizes that for pre-IPO companies, fame is not always equivalent to prosperity (ok, I made quite a jump here, but stay with me). While the start-up lifestyle filled with expensive furniture, fancy office décor, a Keurig and a fully stocked kitchen may seem lavish, that is far from the reality.

Although it is true that putting out a successful product and/or service has gained him numerous media and analyst advocates and made him richer than the common man, he’s far from being set for life (one can only assume that the company is currently running on seed money). Benjamin has no other job so his entire well-being depends on the media coverage he and his company achieves across business and trade press. Therefore, despite the fact that his popularity is much higher than the average beat reporter, their responsibilities and work ethic are actually quite similar.

Insights:

  • Good rapport with reporters is essential to positive media coverage
  • Never neglect one’s brand advocates – particularly those with ties to the VC community
  • Reporters are people too (sometimes)
  • Members of the media aren’t normally good dancers

Bill Rundle also contributed to this post.