Like the Secret Sig blog itself this article is written in a manner that attempts to imitate the skewering parody voice Dan Lyons created for Fake Steve Jobs. I have the utmost respect for all the individuals and organizations mentioned below. It is my hope that they all view their inclusion as a sign of great respect in the same manner that Sig views Secret Sig. With the exception of the dudes from Despair. They really are weenies.
It all started innocently enough. In January or February of 2008. Maybe March. I was a little bored. Had a little time on my hands. And I was inspired.
Inspired by the then anonymous Fake Steve Jobs. Before he become Real Dan. Fake Steve was brilliant. Literally. Perhaps the best non-marketing marketing campaign in the history of man. Or at least for a book about a technology icon.
And Fake Steve was big. Maybe even bigger then real Steve. I wanted one of my own.
The target was easy to pick if you were sitting at the epicenter of the Atlanta technology community. Sig. Sig Mosley. Sig Mosley the unwitting godfather of Atlanta angel investing. Sig Mosley without the “e” of Noro-Moseley (lots of people make that mistake). Sig had no Web site. His company, Imlay Investments, had no Web site. So I decided to make one.
I started by privately registering a few domain names. Sigmosley.com was available. I grabbed it. Thought about it a bit. Started to feel a little creepy. Almost stalker like. Ditched that. Registered secretsig.com. Felt more like fun. Fun was the goal.
I don’t really code. It’s not that it’s hard. It’s just typing. I don’t have time to code. I needed some help. And help I found with my trusty confidant Blake Perdue. Blake has some mad web design skills (among others), and he put up with my insistence on using all things Typepad when creating PeachSeedz. Like he had a choice. He works for me. He does what I say. Like he had a choice in my evil plan. So he did it.
Blake designed and coded up the first version of the SecretSig Web site. I wrote the content. It was a thing of beauty. Custom templates. It even had SigWear, inspired by Andrew Hyde’s VCWear. Shirts that had cool writings like “I’ve Been Sigged”, “What Would Sig Say?”, and “If You Need The Internet To Find Me You Don’t Deserve Funding.” This was before those weenies at StartupLounge came up with their lame Sig Said No shirt and then ceased production because the even bigger weenies at Despair (no link love for them) sent a cease and desist for the use of the 🙁 emoticon that some idiot at the USPTO granted a trademark (Exhibit A the trademark and patent processes are broken).
So we had the site. SecretSig was up and running. I needed a launch strategy. And if there is one thing I know how to do in the world it is launch Internet stuff. Unless it really is crappy product from some entrepreneur that has no clue. No clue that you actually need to think of your marketing strategy before you start building. That marketing is not some tag on that makes people buy bad things that they don’t want or need. They are losers. I know how to tell them to get lost. Or get them to pay me a bunch of money. But I digress. I created a launch strategy. It was brilliant. Really. More brilliant then Dan Lyons. Perhaps the most brilliant simple plan in history. Even better then the Grinch.
I decided to launch via Twitter.
Twitter before everybody was getting on and being all spammy. Twitter before that jerk Tony LaRussa, whom I used to respect, decided to sue Twitter because someone was using his name and they came out with the stupid idea of non-anonymous accounts only for important people (what are they going to do, use Wikipedia to decide who is important?). Twitter before anyone in the Atlanta technology investment community was on it. But they are all on there now. And it is because of me. I was the first person to semi impersonate a member of the Atlanta technology investment community on Twitter (and as far as I know the last, nobody else has the kahonas). I set up a twitter account using the handle secretsig. Set the more info URL to www.secretsig.com. And then I had secretsig follow Sanjay Parekh.
You may have heard of Sanjay. He founded Digital Envoy, created Startup Riot, and is a founder of Shotput Ventures. Has this big hangup like Tony Dorsett about how people should pronounce his name. Gets into arguments with important people about things that don’t matter. And he has doesn’t have enough to do so he sits around all day long, stares at Tweetdeck and spews meaningless drivel at the rate of about a zillion messages a day. I figured follow Sanjay and it would generate about 50 tweets and somebody that was actually important like the weenies at StartupLounge would find out and spread the word. Sanjay is going to get all pissy with me for saying all this but it is true.
But Blake screwed it up. Dolt. He failed to mask the domain of www.secretsig.com about page. It looked something like forceofgood.typepad.com/secretsig_about.html. Sanjay called me on it. Sent me a DM. I denied it. Sanjay sent me the domain evidence. Mea culpa. But Sanjay was cool. He volunteered to keep SecretSig secret.
So I took down www.secretsig.com. Then recreated it on Blogger (the application that Google paid millions of dollars to Evan Williams for and then just let it languish like every other thing they buy with the possible exception of Urchin). I did it myself and just let it sit there. Waiting for the opportune moment to tell the world. Cooking up an alternative launch strategy. But like the ring of power, Secret Sig had a will of its own…
The story about how Sig found out that I created Secret Sig is a story for another day.