Semiconductors continue to grow in performance, but by small, painstaking increments that provide little return on investment. The truth is that the state of the art in semiconductors hasn’t changed appreciably in over two decades; they just get faster. However, the methodologies companies use to build, manage and debug networks are largely the same as those used in 1996. For one company, Barefoot Networks, the status quo was unacceptable. Its core team of network designers and semiconductor innovators, led by co-founder and chief scientist Nick McKeown, famed founder of Nicira, went to work in 2013 with one goal in mind: disrupt the status quo in a way that nobody else could even envision.
Barefoot had a tall order. With fame from a record-setting acquisition, Nicira, the founders were expecting top-tier media, analyst, and influencer recognition – and lots of it. 10Fold had to corral these brilliant minds to ensure that:
1) Barefoot would engender the confidence of the industry analyst community;
2) we could secure at least one major feature in a top-tier business press that spoke to not only the founders’ backgrounds, but also the promise of the technology (a technology that has yet to be proven); and
3) that we could build strong, differentiated messaging that would ensure that the top-tier tech media would cover the announcement – even after an exclusive.
10Fold devised a plan to guarantee a major feature profile in a top-tier business press publication, while not compromising the opportunity for a large quantity of additional launch coverage in leading IT and venture funding outlets. 10Fold started by conducting an in-depth analysis of potential tier-one business press, assessing the pros and cons of each, and then rank ordered our recommendations to Barefoot.
Upon agreement of our top two candidates to pursue, we decided to offer our top candidate, Don Clark of WSJ, exclusive access to the company’s VCs and advisors, and in-person meeting with Barefoot chief scientist and co-founder Nick McKeown (of Nicira, which he sold to VMware for $1.26 billion in 2012). We knew that this approach might have caused our second candidate, Cade Metz of WIRED, to opt out; But we also knew that Cade would not pass on an opportunity to develop his own feature story as long as he would have free rein to speak with Barefoot’s CEO and founders, as well as a customer. Summarizing our final PR strategy, we granted exclusive access to a unique set of spokespeople for both Clark and Metz, feeling confident they would each write their own deep feature stories. And since our agreement with Barefoot was that we would guarantee one major profile as part of the launch, we doubled down on our strategy to be “safe” with two strong options, and a strong disrupt story for the tech press.
10Fold exceeded its coverage forecast by 52%, securing 38 pieces of coverage, including 34 feature stories of four paragraphs or more and four brief mentions.
Feature media coverage in Wall Street Journal, Wired, Fortune, TechTarget, SiliconANGLE, SDxCentral, Converge Network Digest, The Next Platform, Xconomy, ZDNet, IDG Communications (with story syndicating to ComputerWorld, IT World, Network World, and InfoWorld), EE Times, Semiconductor Times, The Street, Enterprise Networking Planet, Enterprise Tech, IT Business Edge, Dataversity, Telecompaper, Light Reading, NFV Zone, and others. We also secured feature coverage in an Impact Report by 451 Research, which highlighted the innovation of the company’s Tofino platform.
To see the results of our efforts, see WSJ feature “Stanford Professor’s Startup Plans Novel Networking Chips” and WIRED feature “Barefoot Networks’ Chips Will Transform the Tech Industry.”