Small Town Success Challenges Startup Stereotype: Jason Kintzler

Jason Kintzler, Founder & CEO of Pitchengine
Jason Kintzler is Founder and CEO of PitchEngine, a new media and marketing software company, based in Jason’s home town of Lander, Wyoming. PitchEngine’s products are used by more than 50,000 brands and small businesses worldwide, including some of the world’s largest brands such as Walmart, Pepsico, Budweiser and more.

Jason has been credited with “heralding in a new era of public relations” by creating “one of the PR industry’s most transformative innovations.” Jason and/or Pitchengine have appeared in several popular books including; Small Town Rules, Engage, Twitterville, Putting the Public Back in Public Relations, SocialCorp and Social Media Marketing for Dummies.

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Jason is the author of Author of The New American Startup.

He is seriously active on social media:

  • Top 50 Social Media Influencers on Twitter 2014
  • 2014 Top 50 Content Marketing Influencers on Twitter
  • Top 10 PR People to Follow on Twitter 2014

On the community front, PitchEngine has also created PitchEngine Communities, a fascinating initiative with the tagline “Pioneering the Community News Stream”. Pitchengine Communities provides a new media model focused on connecting communities. They employ full-time reporters, photographers and marketing types, and the model is centered around the communities they serve.

Jason’s motto on Twitter: I challenge, invent, disrupt and inspire.

The attraction and the challenge of creating and building a startup in a small town

Given the smallness and remoteness of Lander, Wyoming, I asked Jason why he started the business there and whether he had ever been tempted to move to Silicon Valley, New York City, or some other center of startups and tech innovation.

“Certainly an anomaly, a remote startup in the Wild Wild West”.

Having grown up in Lander and then done his time working in the media and advertising and in various other places, he observed the phenomenon of people having acquired their wealth somewhere else and then moving out to places like Montana and Wyoming, to retire, and thought “Man if I could skip that step, wouldn’t it be great?”

“Tons of pressure” in the early days from the venture capitalists in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, to move.

It’s not always been easy. Right now, the days he wouldn’t move outweigh the days he would.

In the media, books etc the tech industry is presented as being all about raising money and that equalling success. But coming from a place like Wyoming, a remote place, a small town, “you build something first, then you ask for money…”

A word for companies sticking to old style PR

What did he think about business leaders who seem complacent about having old style PR, all being handled by their PR agency? (And I referenced a TEDx talk he gave at Jackson Hole).

For Jason it’s all about authenticity and story telling (both of which he talked about in that TEDx talk).

When he started PitchEngine there was a lot of pressure to make it like traditional PR:

“But I really wanted to keep it authentic and keep it about story telling and empower those people, those business owners, who are already passionate about their businesses, empower them to tell their stories.”

Creating the Community News Stream

  • Jason noticed small businesses as well as big brands using PitchEngine.
  • Looked at local media and saw businesses being under-served.
  • Created the Community News Stream – real time, as it happens, stories about the community, serves a huge need and connects the communities.
  • Great story about the County 10 brand and license plates.
  • Ambition to take the concept and platform across the country and across the world.

Leadership – especially with Millennials

  • Things are different in business now. A sharp contrast from 1980s and 1990s.
  • More and more people opting not to work full time, every day.
  • Business leaders need to be open minded, and at same time it still comes back to respect and responsibility.
  • More need for people to have “accolades”.
  • Company structure has become a lot flatter.
  • Measurement is important – then you can have flexibility.
  • Lifestyle an important part of the conversation.

Tips for Startups

  • Create a product that has value, before you seek money and Investment.
  • Be “super open-minded” to changing as you go along – be flexible.
  • Authenticity is a key piece
  • Grow incrementally
  • Have a big vision – it’s a long road


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Des Walsh

Business coach and digital entrepreneur. With coach training from Coachville.com and its Graduate School of Coaching, and a founding member of the International Association of Coaching, Des has been coaching business owners and entrepreneurs for the past 20 years. Over the same period he has also been actively engaged in promoting the business opportunities of the digital economy. He is a certified Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) coach, and a certified specialist in social media strategy and affiliate marketing.

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