In Depth podcast

A crash course on comms for founders — Nairi Hourdajian’s early-stage advice from Figma & Uber

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Today’s episode is with Nairi Hourdajian, the VP of Communications, Content and Community Marketing at Figma. Prior to joining Figma, Nairi was the Chief Marketing Officer at Canaan, an early-stage venture capital firm. In 2013, she became Uber’s first communications person and spent the next 3 years building out the function. Before getting into tech, Nairi came from the world of politics. She was a VP at Glover Park Group, a communications consulting firm started by former Clinton officials, and she also served as a policy director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and as a staff assistant to then-Senator Joe Biden. Our conversation focuses on what a great communications strategy looks like at early-stage startups. Nairi breaks down the basics for founders who aren’t familiar with this function, and shares advice for thinking beyond just announcing your Series A funding. She shares lots of thoughts on crafting foundational messaging for different audiences and shaping the company narrative — with examples from both Uber and Figma, as well as startups she’s advised. Next, we get into the nuts and bolts of building relationships with reporters. Nairi shares her take on handling negative stories about your competitors, and offers tons of tactical pointers on how to prepare for a media interview. We ended on her advice for assembling the team that can help you shape and execute on your comms strategy — from working with agencies and freelancers, to making your first full-time comms hire. You can follow Nairi on Twitter at @NairiHourdaj. You can email us questions directly at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter @firstround and @brettberson.

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