About the Authors

About the Authors:
Jessica Switzer and Tim Gnatek

Intro Tim Jessica Hardhats


If start-ups are children, then launches are childbirth. Like a successful birth, bringing your idea out into the world requires preparation and the guidance of experienced professionals-a launch goes well when done well. So how do you make sure you’re prepared to do it well before the experiential learning takes place?

Former VP, Marketing Tesla Motors, Jessica Switzer and former New York Times technology writer, Tim Gnatek, have teamed up to offer a marketing manifesto offering key learnings from launches gone right, gleaned from over 20 years of specialized communications, run-and-gun start-up marketing, and skunk works product debuts for larger companies.

From introductions of radical new products like electric vehicles, organic underwear and the first smartphone, to supporting global industry coalitions and corporate leaders, this team has supported launch visionaries who have created new categories and transformed others. This book distills lessons from years of communicating radical innovation and shows how to create the best conditions for market acceptance of a new product, company, IPO, organization or category.

A word from the authors

“You Only Launch Once” is our way of offering you our most important gleanings from 20 years of marketing and PR experience, in order to give you the best shot at a rocking debut of your company, product or service. Much of this experience we have picked up at Blue Practice. The chapters in this book culminate decades of firsthand experience running marketing and public relations campaigns for some of the world’s most interesting and innovative products and services. In light of that fact, we thank the scores of companies we’ve had the fortune to work with. They have been our proving ground, and we are grateful for the experience.

Memorable launches

  • LEGO: First and best-selling LEGO robotics kit developed with MIT Media Lab
  • Living Books: First interactive book
  • LS9: Breakthrough “renewable petroleum” biofuels technology from gene pioneers
  • Mission Motors: First EV supersport motorcycle
  • Nanoholdings: First nanotechnology accelerator
  • Palm/Handspring: First smart phone
  • Rocket eBook: First electronic book
  • Silver Spring Networks: First smart grid network
  • Sony: First HD ‘prosumer’ camcorder
  • Soraa: New kind of LED from lighting titan Shuji Nakamura
  • Tesla Motors: First American EV sports car
  • Waste Management: Company’s first methane-to-fuel facility

So for those of you about to launch-we salute you. You’re about to experience one of the most formative moments in your company’s history. We also admire you. Putting new products and services out into the world is a hero’s task and one that can fundamentally shape the way we interact with the world.