Balter Delivers Bzz

One of the things I love about being a VC is the opportunity to work with passionate, brilliant, talented (and sometimes whacky) entrepreneurs.

BzzAgent CEO/founder Dave Balter is all these things, particularly whacky.

Dave is the founder of BzzAgent – the leading company in the exploding field of word of mouth marketing.  Dave co-founded the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association and wrote the definitive book on the topic, Grapevine.

This is a guy who is so transparent that in the middle of a fundraising process, he blogged about the criteria he was using to pick his VC partner.

This is a guy who invited an "artist in residence" to hang out around the office, produce all the art that decorates the walls and illustrate his second book.

Ah yes, Dave has a second book.  A monkey is on the cover.  The final chapter has excerpts from a college essay he wrote about Captain Crunch.  Leeches feature prominently in a chapter I'm still not sure I understand.  It is truly random and whacky.

Yet it is also brilliant and insightful.  Word of mouth is an elusive but potent tool for driving your business.  Dave is the Zen Master (yes, a nod to Phil Jackson) of the field and anyone who is interested in driving word of mouth for their product or service – B2C, B2B, non-profit, whatever – would benefit from reading the book.

As usual, Dave wanted to do something different with the publication of the book.  So, he decided to self-publish it.  He's making it available for free online (click here to download) or if you want the hard-cover version, you can order it on his Amazon page.

I promised Dave I'd change my name to "Bzzgang" if the company were to become a huge success.  As a result, my wife is watching the company's tremendous progress warily.

7 thoughts on “Balter Delivers Bzz

  1. I think Dave Balter is a genius. Not because he’s doing ‘something noone else can do’ but because he’s perfected the execution of that ‘something any one else could have done’ into an art form.
    I am a proud ex-intern of BzzAgent. The moods/attitudes of people in an office are the barometer of how the company is doing/ will do. BzzAgents are happy people.
    Also, Jeff, thanks for your support of TiE Boston and TiECON East. Really like your blog.

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  2. I am a volunteer BzzAgent. Most BzzAgent’s are completely transparent and we are proud of it! I loved the manual. I wouldn’t have purchased it but I loved every word. Anything that people talk about is considered word of mouth, whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent. The world would be a totally different place without Word of Mouth.

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  3. I thought this book was a great way to start off my Bzz Agent Account. I learned how to practice word of mouth and how to manage it as well. Some things I read in the book I already knew but I wasn’t able to apply anything with the information.

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  4. I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone wants to be differentiated, but few are willing to be different. Dave is a serious guy and for a serious guy to be willing to be “wacky” is both smart and courageous. It’s also a sign of a true entrepreneur.

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  5. Disclaimer: I’m a BzzAgent and that’s how I found out about this book. T.his is an excellent book that gives a lot of insight into what word of mouth marketing really is and backs up the concept with great insight from Dave’s experiences in this marketplace.
    This book has motivated me to participate more and really observe how much of my conversations actually revolve around products and services, even when I don’t realize it.

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  6. I’m a big fan of Dave Balter and BzzAgent. It’s a Brilliant idea, well executed. In fact Dave is our podcast guest this month on Personal Brilliance – Up Close and Practical. A new episode each week this month. Check out Dave’s description of the process.

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