What's That Buzz I Hear?

Money is tacky in Silicon Valley. Equity is always a better way to go. It shows you have faith in the future, belief in your partners and, most important, guts. So it makes sense that p.r. executives--who are as powerful in Silicon Valley as they are in Hollywood--demand stock in their clients' start-ups. But even stock may not be enough. Simone Otus, 39, co-founder of p.r. firm Blanc & Otus, takes on only companies that offer status. "We want to pitch the really hot companies to build our own brand value," she explains from her ancillary San Francisco office overlooking the...

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