Ep364: Kunal Chandiramani – Do Not Pay For Media Coverage

Listen on

Apple | Google | Stitcher | Spotify | YouTube | Other

Quick take

BIO: Kunal Naresh Chandiramani is an Internet entrepreneur, inventor, and best-selling author. He is the founder and CEO of KStar and subsidiaries and host of dToks.

STORY: Kunal was launching a new venture, so he paid for media coverage with the hopes of getting thousands of customers. His ROI was horrible.

LEARNING: Do not pay for media coverage; instead, attract customers organically. Media coverage does not guarantee sales.


“Build a business that the media wants to cover, instead of being the business that wants to be covered.”

Kunal Chandiramani


Guest profile

Kunal Naresh Chandiramani is an Internet entrepreneur, inventor, and international best-selling author. He is the founder and CEO of KStar and subsidiaries and host of dToks.

He is also a three-time TEDx speaker. In the past, he has been an advisor to various for-profit and not-for-profit boards.

Worst investment ever

Kunal was launching a new venture, and he decided to pay for a press release. He thought that to be successful; a business needed media coverage. That is why he chose to spend quite some money for the press release to be published.

The fame that never came

Kunal had huge expectations about the press release. After he paid for it, he realized that it was just a glorified advertising channel. The ROI was just horrible.

Kunal was under the impression that all the best ventures in the world have a lot of media coverage. He also thought that media coverage would get him customers but quickly learned that would not happen.

Lessons learned

The best media is the one you do not pay for

You have to realize the difference between good media and bad media. You do not pay for good media. Organic media will bring you better ROI compared to paid media coverage. So if you want to do press releases, do them organically.

Andrew’s takeaways

Focus on attracting your customers instead of promotion

Attraction is always better than promotion. The intelligent business person is the one who attracts the media and gets them to come to him. Focus on reaching out to the world about your products or service in a unique way that attracts people to come to you.

Media coverage does not guarantee sales

To make sales, you need customers. Getting on TV or any other media channel just for fame will not bring you sales.

Actionable advice

It’s important to realize that not all your decisions will change the world, and it is okay to make a few mistakes.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Kunal’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to continue doing stuff that impacts many people.

Parting words


“Do not get too serious. Just have fun and be yourself.”

Kunal Chandiramani


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:02
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of laws to keep you winning. In our community. We know that to win in investing, you must take risk, but to win big, you've got to reduce it. And I bet you're exposed to investment risk right now. To reduce it, go to my worst investment ever.com and download the risk reduction checklist that I made specifically for you my podcast listeners, based on the lessons I've learned from all my guests, fellow risk takers, this is your wars podcast hosts Andrew Stotz, from a Stotz Academy, and I'm here with featured guests, Kunal chandi Rahmani kuno, can you take a minute and tell us whether you are ready to rock?

I am ready to rock.

Andrew Stotz 00:56
I know, you know, I can feel your energy from the moment that we started talking. So I'm excited for today's conversation. I want to introduce you to the audience. So canol founded k star Inc, in 2016. And continues as the CEO, and they are making the internet a regional market for anyone is an international best selling author of the book. No, it works before it works, how to find your good idea. And he's a three time TEDx presenter, and many, many more things, ladies and gentlemen, I would like you to meet to know now can you take a moment and affiliate further tidbits about your life?

Kunal Chandiramani 01:40
My life is fun. I'm all about having fun. That's odd. I do everything. That's what entrepreneurship is, for me having fun and doing stuff that changes the world and have fun in the background. That's the most important but

Andrew Stotz 01:53
do you ever come across anybody that's like, annoyed that you have fun, like business is supposed to be serious?

You wouldn't believe it. I think being Yeah, being a younger person. A lot of people, I think there's this certain point in life when you get when everyone thinks that the youngest guy on the table would know the least. And everyone's trying to educate him or educate him about every single thing. And yeah, I think I think so way too often by i think i every time I do that I like seeing how old Richard Branson is. And he still has fun. So that answers it for me.

Andrew Stotz 02:29
Maybe just for a moment, you could fill in a little bit about kind of what you do on a day to day basis. And you know what, what excites you about your work?

I think the core of of entrepreneurship is doing something that that primarily, I think we end up confusing entrepreneurship, as something that gives us a gives us entrepreneurs in this game is about giving to the society, it is about doing something for the society, it's not about doing something for yourself, if you want to do something for years said that there are way easier ways to do that. This is used to just go to a parlor or go for a start, that's a way for you to do something for yourself. Entrepreneurship is about doing something for the world. And when you can do something for the world, something that's going to change people's lives, that's something that's going to impact the world to a better place. Anything that's going to make the world something that you imagined a thing that is for the world. That's too much fun to not have. So yeah, I think I was talking to a friend a few days back. And what I've come to believe is certain entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs, because that's the only thing they can do. Well, and it's crazy fun.

Andrew Stotz 03:41
It definitely is. And, you know, one of the things after interviewing so many entrepreneurs and startup people that are involved in startups, one of the big mistakes that they make is that they, they don't get out to market fast enough, you know, they really should have gotten out to market a lot earlier, to go through their product and stuff. But in some cases, you could say that they were maybe scared of the world or scared of the market or scared to bring it out to the market. And what you're talking about is the idea of like really engaging the world bringing something out, you know, and I just wonder if you have some advice for people that are like a little bit afraid to bring their product or themselves out to the market.

Things you need to realize that, like there was this fantastic quote, I read I'm not sure who it is by but whoever it is, can have the credit. It was the idea that if you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you don't wait too late. Read on. Okay, great three documents. But I think that's it's really important to do not wait for everything because you need to see that it's first thing is I do not encourage competing. I encourage collaborating. That's the first thing but even though I encourage it in a very very bullish manner, it's still important attempt to keep in mind that we live in a world of 8 billion people. And the idea that you have a unique thought. And the idea that what you're doing is very unique is a miniscule, there's a high probability that someone at the same time is doing something. So who do you want to be the guy who waits months to launch it, while the other guy is already in the market and has raised enough capital to build it up to the next? All you want to be the guy who's looking at that guy and saying, oh, I've always said, Hi, you should have launched that this is a high probability, another unique, unique person you think you are. And I think I'm going against a lot of the things that our society is built on uniqueness and entitlement. But as entitled, as we are supposed to be. For our own uniqueness, I think it's important to realize that we live in a world of 8 billion people.

Andrew Stotz 05:50
Okay, that's great. And it reminds me when I first started teaching, when I moved to Thailand, I was teaching finance at university, and I'd never worked in finance, I'd only studied it. So I knew nothing. And I was like, you know, preparing in the textbook and all that. And I was so kind of panicked, that I came up with a way of handling that by saying to myself, I'm not going to be the best teacher in the world, you know, whatever. But I'm also not going to be the worst. And then allowed me just to kind of get out there and just start being who I was. And I guess part of what you're saying is that don't get too hung up on the idea that you know, you're the only one and you know, that type of thing. Just get out with the product and start bringing it out to those a billion people. And you'll find a small group of people that will love it.

idea what you're talking about that if you think you're the only one building the next breakthrough product, there's a good chance that out of those 8 billion people, there's someone else who is also building this exact same thing. But what it's about is that sometimes you do not know one who is the best starts off as the best. And you need to realize that if Mark Zuckerberg today runs a multi billion dollar company, he did not start off running a multi billion dollar company. And you need to see how this stuff works. It's not if someone's number one, they became number one, because they were because they went up the list. So I think it's important to think that you can be the best. It's not it, you shouldn't force yourself that I need to be the best, you should always keep in mind that I should try to be the best. And like what's happy, so sad to champion so assassins fantastic story where you wanted to be an engineer, an electrical engineer, and he decided not to, given the fact that he realized that he can never be the best electrical engineer. But he realized that he can, he might be able to be the best computer engineer, or he might be able to be the best entrepreneur, he might be able to find the right mixture for himself. And that is what if you should always get into industry when you can be the best. If you think you cannot be the best electrical engineer did not be an electrical engineer. But if you think you can be the best 1% of computer engineers, or you can be the world's top 10 computer engineers go and be a computer engineer, it depends on how big the market is, if the market everyone is in the 1%, then the 1% is nothing, then you will be in the top 10. But any industry that you think you cannot be in the top kind of is not an industry to you, you should get into an industry where you can be the top 10 now keep that in mind, you can usually get into industry that you can be in the top 10. Now once you do have that in mind, the second thing you want to keep in mind is that you aren't going to start off being the top 10 at the bottom. But keep it in mind. Keep it in mind, do not forget even in mind that now you start from the bottom and get the Get up. It's sometimes just about going out there jumping off the cliff and making the plane while falling.

Andrew Stotz 08:52
Got it? All right, well, a lot of good lessons there. And now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one ever goes into their worst investment thinking and will be tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to it then tell us your story.

So my worst investment I love that I I think we need to talk so much more about our worst investments as much as we talk about our best investments. So my worst investment was most definitely paying for media. Paying for a press release. That was I did it once and I did it just once and that was by far. Okay. I think I lost you. I can't you Okay,

Andrew Stotz 09:53
yep. So we just got back. So let's go back to that and say, You were just what do you do? Yeah, yes. I just want to say yeah, just start from the start starting. And we'll cut that part out. But just say that my, you know, worst investment ever was paying for media and then go into it.

Okay, I'd start from the writer. Yep. My worst investment ever. It is definitely, definitely paying for media. It's once that I did that, and just once. And yeah, I think I paid for a press release. And the ROI was horrible. I think I think when we get into it, it really, really glorify it. So the circumstances was, we were launching a new venture, I want I knew, and when we started off as an entrepreneur, we have this idea that I'm going to be on the top page of the Forbes magazine, yeah, I'm going to be in the Caribbean here, I'm going to be under, I'm going to be here, I'm going to be there. But the thing you need to realize is yes, you can be on the cover page of the Forbes magazine, but you're not going to pay to get on the cover page of the Forbes magazine. And you realize that, that's one thing you need to realize. And second thing you need to realize is a lot of the best companies in the world aren't on the cover page of the Forbes magazine. And we realize that you need to realize what are you in it for. And it's important, a lot of the best businesses aren't. So that was the worst investment I ever made. I pay if we're launching a new venture. And I was under the impression that all the best ventures in the world have a lot of media coverage. But any business before $100 million, that is getting a lot of media coverage is getting a lot of media coverage, not because they are. So it's important to realize So anyway, until once you cross 100 million on your public company, it's different than but if you're not $100 million company, or if you're not a billion dollar company, or a $10 billion company, and you're paying for media, it's not worth it. It's the worst, worst investment I've ever made. I just expected a lot more out of it. I really didn't expect a lot more I was under the impression that they're all the best businesses in the world. Again, a lot of media coverage and gaining a lot of media coverage will get me a lot of customers. So

Andrew Stotz 12:05
yeah, that's an interesting point, that last point. So if you could summarize, I know that there's some listeners out there that are just about the sign of check transfers of money to get their media coverage. And tell them what lessons did you learn from this experience?

First thing is good media is that there is a lot of good media, there's a lot of media that's like Forbes magazine, I love it. I read the Forbes magazine regularly, it's good media, I know very few people who will pay their way into a Forbes magazine, because it's freaking expensive. You need to be really, really rich to do that. But a lot of other magazines that are ranked in the same level aren't. So first thing you need to realize the difference between good media and bad media, good media is media you don't pay for media is good when you don't pay for it. Media is not good when you pay for it. When you don't pay for media, it will get you a much better ROI, even if you pay. So if you're going to pay $10, which is which you're not going to get anything for. But I'm just saying just hypothetically, if you paid $1, for dollar for media, and you and the ROI was x and you did not pay that dollar, your ROI would be to x even without paying that dollar because good media wouldn't charge you. It is the bad side of media, the low ROI side of media that sells cheap. Now all that just sells even if it doesn't sell cheap, because I know for sure that we didn't get we did not get for very cheap. So it's important to realize that press releases when they are done organically are good. When not, they are uncertain, just realizing that it's okay. A lot of the best businesses do not get media. And getting media is not going to change the world. And it is. And sometimes when you're building a good business, that money does better. And a lot of other places, then in media media's paying for media is never a good idea. Paying for a press release is not a good idea. Got a couple of things, keep it in mind.

Andrew Stotz 13:56
So let me summarize a few things. I guess one of the things is the idea of attraction rather than promotion. And you know, the job of a great person, a great business person, and that is to attract the media and get them to come to you. And, you know, it may seem a little bit odd of a thing to do, because it's not that easy to do. But on the other hand, it on the other hand, think about how we met. Right? I reached out to you in a way that attracted you to come to me. Right. And that's the point is that we want to reach out to the world about our products or service what we're doing, in a way, he doesn't have it just in a unique way that gets people coming to you. So my first takeaway is the concept of attraction rather than promotion. And the second thing that I take away and I had the same exact problem them myself, he said, I didn't learn it, as well as you learn it, because I tried it a few times. And I used to, when I worked at big banks, I was in the media a lot, because they wanted to quote someone from Citibank or something like that. But when I went on my own, I thought, well, I got to really get out there and push the media. But one of the other lessons that I learned, and you mentioned it right at the end, is that just getting media doesn't mean you get any sales. And that's really the second takeaway is that, you know, what we need, when we're doing business really, ultimately, is we need our customers, we need revenue, we need to find those people that you know, and, and if just getting on a TV show, and showing your face and show your friends and your mom and your whoever, look, I'm on TV, if it doesn't bring sales, you may want to be doing something else. So those are two things that I'm thinking about.

I think it's important to build a business that the media wants to cover, not being the business that wants to be there to cover it. It's a big difference in the two and it's funny how we very often want to be in the first but we push ourselves into the second being a business that the media wants to cover is doing stuff that changes the world. Like I left clubhouse, clubhouses not paying for media. It's a year old company, and I think every media house in the world would pay to get an interview with any of the founders. I know I am. And that is the beauty of the path of building a business that the world wants to cover. Do not be the business that's going after the world to cover it. It's finding the right right way to tackle and at the right time, you should sometimes I think with this new age, I don't know if I should call it bullshit. Because I know a lot of close friends believe in it. And I don't mean any harm, but I just do not believe in it building in the public. There's this new idea that go on Twitter that I'm going to build in the public, every single thing I do, I'm going to post it here. I don't think that's a good idea. I think sometimes it's important to, I think more than not, it's important to not build in the public. Because a lot of the best businesses aren't built on the stage. They are built on the backstage. Like I love b2b businesses a lot more than b2c businesses, because very often they are a lot more profitable in the short term and the long term unless, like 1%, of b2b, b2c businesses reach where, where 90% of b2b businesses reach because they build on the backstage where people where people are in, where people are a lot more forward looking compared to on the front stage where people are criticizing for every small mistake. So I don't believe in building in the public. I believe in building products that are available to the public, but building in secret building stuff that changes the world. And getting media is big, getting media doesn't really mean anything.

Andrew Stotz 17:48
Interesting. And one of my businesses in Thailand is a coffee roasting factory, and it's a b2b business. And for 25 years, we've been supplying coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, offices, and we always are asked, Why don't you have a coffee shop? Why don't you have a coffee shop? And we say well, first of all, we supply and support 1000 coffee shops or whatever. In Thailand. We don't want to compete with them. But really truthfully, we like b2b. It's what where we can grow, we can execute. We have good margins, and we can support our customers but our customers are on the front lines and it can be pretty tough out there. And so I love b2b too. So great. Great. The ROI is amazing. I love the ROI. Like you look at the b2c ROI you sell you sell 1000 some b2c businesses like Facebook is a B do wait now Facebook is a b2b business. It's not a b2c business.

But they a lot of impact. I think now I just ended up in a deep squat. I was about to say that Facebook and Instagram are successful b2c businesses, but now that I think to fit their b2b businesses,

Andrew Stotz 18:55
absolutely. The cut the individual is just a commodity that they're using.

And that makes me I think it's important to realize a lot of the most successful b2c businesses are b2b, Amazon, Amazon, you might think Amazon is a b2c business. But Amazon is one of Amazon's biggest successes is a product called AWS, which is b2b. And I think it's important to realize that that only 1% of b2c businesses reach where 100% when 90% of b2b businesses reach but even in that 1% most of the out of that 1% 50% of also b2b businesses, so and and most of them reached so it's a very good insight like say, even if you look at a Google, Google's main revenue stream is G Suite. Yeah, apart from advertisements, I think Google has a very solid b2c but it's the b2c is not the only business the b2b is fantastic. G Suite is amazing.

Andrew Stotz 19:55
Yep. So ladies and gentlemen, go for b2b. Alright, basically upon what you learn from this story, and what you continue to learn, what one action would you recommend our listeners take? Think about our listeners who are just about to do some PR, paying for media. But one action would you recommend that they take to avoid suffering the same fate?

I love talking about mistakes, because I think we need to talk about them more like Warren Buffett credits his entire success to single digit investment decisions, not even less than 10 decisions made of Warren Buffett. So I think it's important to realize that not all your decisions are going to change the world. And it's okay to make a few mistakes. But this is not a mistake you want to make. Because I have not met too many people who have been happy I paid for media, I met no one like that. So it's important to realize where you stand, and that do not make yourself feel better by saying, Okay, I'm on the cover page of this magazine. If you're doing that to make yourself feel better. No, you sit and do that. It's just not worth it. You can make yourself feel better by having a good cup of coffee.

Andrew Stotz 21:07
Oh, yeah, that's for sure. I have a lot of those. Well, last question. What's your number one goal for the next 12 months?

Ah, that's tricky. I think I think I said to you, I said 36 month goals. And I said three month goals. I did not set 12 month goals because it's overrated. I think we, we and we overemphasize it, we all ends, I said three month goals. And I said 36 month goals, but because I think it's we have a very bad ability to predict 12 months, I realized, I think our we planned a very, very good business proposition in December 2019, that we're going to change the world by December 2020. I think the world changes, it says we do not have to do anything. So I prefer planning for three months, I prefer applying for a quarter. But if I have to put out 12 months, I think it is basically going first, keeping up with a culture a good culture is the most important thing. We love our culture. And second is studying something I think I'm assuming I look at myself as a serial entrepreneur. So I don't know what I'm going to be doing. 12 months later, I do I might be doing something totally different today. And, and it might be the biggest success or the biggest mistake. And if it is the biggest mistake, I'm going to be back here. If not, I am going to be working on something totally different than 12 months, or I might not. So I think it's I think I'm going to leave myself that margin. But I know I'm going to be doing something that's going to be impacting a lot of people. And I'm not going to be paying for media because it is not worth it is never worded and it's not going to get you anything.

Andrew Stotz 22:46
All right listeners, there you have it. Another story of loss to keep you winning. My number one goal for the next 12 months, or maybe three months or 36 months is to help you my listening, reduce risk in your life. So go to my worst investment ever.com right now, download the risk reduction checklist and see how you measure up. Now, as we conclude, now, I want to thank you again for coming on the show. And on behalf of a Stotz Academy. I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

I just don't get to see yours. I think business has this weird attitude that you need to be serious you're in business. Just have fun. That is it. And just be yourself. You don't need to act like Richard Branson when you can be someone you're who you are who you are looking everyday in the mirror.

Andrew Stotz 23:48
Have fun, and be yourself and that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our well fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast host saying I'll see you on the other side.


Connect with Kunal Chandiramani

Andrew’s books

Andrew’s online programs

Connect with Andrew Stotz:

About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

Leave a Comment