Pitching? – How to get blacklisted by me

It’s gotten to the stage now where people are pitching things to me a lot and are also asking advice on how to pitch something to journalists. There are loads of things that annoy me when people pitch to me but I let them slide. While I give flack to PR companies for the way they interact with me and others, most get it right and sometimes I almost wish that more companies would hire PR companies instead of trying to manage stuff inhouse when they really have no clue. I like getting pitches and seeing new tech products and services being demoed and am happy to travel to see new things. However some of the basics by some companies and individuals really really annoy me, perhaps those that work as journalists have to grin and bear it as they need to make nice the whole time. Not me. Life is too short to suffer fools. Here’s a list of things that will get you blacklisted by me if you try these on me:

  • Do not send me a twelve paragraph email describing what your business does. If you take 12 paragraphs to explain your product or company, your company is fucked. Don’t annoy me by sending me a fucking essay. I’d rather chat to an obnoxious arrogant jerk that gets to the point (I can identify with that) than someone that buzzes like a fridge and sounds like a detuned radio.
  • Do not deconstruct my feedback pointing out how I’m wrong and I don’t get what you are saying. Clarify things if you want but do not tell me how wrong I am and how I did not get your point. That’s insulting and it’s not an ego thing but if I give good feedback on something it’s because I know what I’m talking about.
  • Do not arrange a meeting with me and waste my time by then talking about what you could do. Tell me what you do and what you will be doing. Do not ask for coverage and spend the time telling me all the stuff that can’t be made public. How about something I can write about now, not next year? I could have been earning money while you talk crap for 45 minutes.
  • Further to that, do not spend the whole time badmouthing your competitors and hardly any time talking about what you have achieved. All that tells me is that you are a loser and your competitors are obviously doing better.
  • Do not ask me to try out your mobile software and assume I’ll install it on a one of a limited list of phones that your software works with. Send me a test phone or go away. Likewise, do not assume I will be running Windows on my desktop or laptop.
  • Do not send me a press release and ask me to review your product based on that press release.
  • Do not assume I live and work in Dublin and when you realise I live in Cork almost demand I come to you. I am not spending up to 200 euros for you to buy me a coffee. Ask me am I interested in meeting the next time I’m in Dublin, do not demand I come and have an audience with you. You’re not royalty. Most people get this right but I have been contacted by people who almost tut I’m based in Cork and then ask “Can you come to Dublin so we can have a chat?”
  • Do not EVER sign me up to your spammy newsletter because we emailed back and forth ONCE when you tried to pimp your product. I will make an effort to have the mostly useless Data Protection Commissioner do you for spamming. Likewise don’t add me to your press release list because I replied to your pitch with “No thanks”.
  • Do not offer me money or a bribe to talk up your product. Do not ask me for a list of bloggers who will write positive things about your service if you pay them. They exist but I’m not going to be the pimp that gets you your whores.
  • IMG_4269
    Photo owned by we must reinvent love (cc)

24 Responses to “Pitching? – How to get blacklisted by me”

  1. conandrumm says:

    Yes indeed, to all of that.

  2. dahamsta says:

    I like that, although the 2nd point is confusing. If you ciriticise someone’s product for getting X wrong and it turns out that you were wrong, what’s wrong with point that out? Politely, of course.


  3. Jonathan says:

    Having a bad day? Or did you just get the Pitch that broke the camel’s back?!

    J x

  4. JL Pagano says:

    The price of fame, brother!

  5. Trinity says:

    “Do not offer me money or a bribe to talk up your product”

    Jazus, do people actually do that?!

  6. Oh, dear, people are pitching you? Are you turning into the regional Michael Arrington? I do warn you that if that is the case, I may be forced to become the regional Valleywag. 🙂

  7. Maz says:

    There are some great tips there for people, pitching anything to anyone.

    Have to say though you’re fantastic at sounding huffy, I feel huffy after just reading that post 😉

  8. LizEMcG says:

    Well, well, someone took the bitch pill this morning! There’ll be piles of info for general issue and this is info on how to deal with Mr Mulley! I look forward to the challenge…Ahem.

  9. zee says:

    Oh wow, nicely done sir. Where do I go to nominate this for blog post of the month? 🙂

  10. UnaRocks says:

    “If you take 12 paragraphs to explain your product or company, your company is fucked.”


    And true.

  11. MJ says:

    Ah yes, the old “getting to the point” thing. What gets on my wick is reading through 100 pages of a business plan that rambles and meanders for ages, and I’m hoping against hope that the conclusion & financials will be worth the effort, and then –

    !!! NADA !!!

    – and then you get to meet the muppet who wrote it! And the constructive advice THEY WERE LOOKING FOR gets almost slapped back in your face! Diplomatic and all as I am when giving it. What’s the point in trying so hard…

    Sometimes I think I’ll try your approach Damien, and just tell it like it effing is. God, the temptation!

  12. aphrodite says:

    Can I add to this:
    Do not arrange to meet me under the guise of an interesting project, new product launch – and then ask me what I can do for YOU and have no other purpose for the meeting. This is such a waste of everyone’s time. Tell me on the phone what you want – you’re not asking me out, there’s no need to be coy.
    Or maybe you are… (re-evaluates entire last meeting… hmmm)

    Don’t contact me to look for advertising (I know you don’t do this Damian but I do) and then be ‘shocked’ that it’s not for free (even though you’re a multimillion pound company). Because, as you’re quick to tell me it would be an honour to be associated with you.

    Stop being so pushy – hire a PR company. They know the right way to go about things

    Being signed up to the email newsletter gets me every time.

  13. johnmryan says:

    Poor Mr. Famous you!
    Just joking (kinda)

  14. S says:

    So I guess that you don’t want that stash of v1aGr8 then?

    Har har!

  15. […] – Since posting, Damien Mulley has added this new hotlist of tips on how to get blacklisted by him. addthis_url = […]

  16. gimmeaminute says:

    Do not become so filled with your own self-importance that you explode Meaning of Life-like all over the laptops of your readers.

  17. Darragh says:

    Oh to have the need to write such a post. Is it wrong that I’m slightly envious?

    Great post though, fair play 🙂

  18. Damien says:

    @adam If I’m wrong, fair enough but my experience has been people telling me in exact words “No you’re wrong, it will work, we know this” and this would be in areas I would feel I’m more of an expert in than these people that are getting into “the next big thing”. I just don’t bother getting in an argument with morons after that.

    @Jonathan I actually wrote that last week after getting yet another awful pitch.

    @Maz I’m thinking of doing classes on that too. Oddly I can only do these posts when I’m in a good mood.

    @LizEMcG The day did end in a Y.

    @zee Not until I sign over ownership of the Awards to someone else

  19. Read in a business management book a while back that if you can’t sum up your entire corporate strategy in 20 seconds you don’t have one and are doomed to fail (think it was Execution by Ram Charan and Larry Bossidy)

    If you take 12 paragraphs to explain the product/company to someone you’re looking for help from then, as Damien says, you’re fucked – and you’ll have no idea what the dinner and movie were like that got you there.

    And as for the presumption that you’re in Dublin – I hear that (as a Wexican – Dublin born, living in Wexford – south of the border). Sometimes I think people forget that trains and roads run both to and from the Capital.

    “Waffler… yer only a waffler” as a former Taoiseach once said.

  20. […] may want to subscribe to my site using a feedreader or email. Thanks for visiting – Damien.So my Blacklisting post got a lot of attention, here’s an example of getting it right when approaching bloggers or […]

  21. Barry says:

    Great post…

  22. Sabrina Dent says:

    You forgot my favourite: “We’d like a glowing review of this product you’ve never tried and we’re not going to give or loan to you. K thx bai.”

  23. […] pitches.  Please add your own”.   It would seem that the problem is not confined to the US. Damien Mulley, one of our best known and widely read bloggers, is so cheesed off with the situation that he has […]

  24. […] commenting over time, tracking through RSS feeds, researching them through the various methods Damien Mulley mentions all takes time.  To short circut this some PR companies just added blogger email […]