Saturday, June 26, 2010

What everyone in the software industry needs to understand

George V. Hulme:
Grow up. Business doesn't exist for IT, it's the other way around.

This cannot be said often enough.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Starbucks bows to market pressure

Rob Pegoraro reports that Starbucks has bowed to market pressure and will be offering free wifi. Since all its competitors were doing so, I could not imagine how Starbucks could continue to insist we buy those cards which are good for purchases.

Not only will Starbucks offer free wifi, it seems they have decided to sweeten the deal:
Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz also said the company's U.S. locations will begin offering "a new online customer experience," the Starbucks Digital Network, this fall. Set up with Yahoo, this will provide free or expanded access to such news and entertainment sites as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Apple's iTunes and AOL's Patch.

My favorite place remains the Luce Center, and failing that, Au Bon Pain in the morning, when they play classical music.

Monday, June 07, 2010

What PR can and cannot do

It seems that Arizona has discovered that its papers please approach to immigration has given it a black eye. So they have decided to spend a bundle on a public relations campaign for the state.

I think so many clients have this idea that our profession can develop some sort of combination of advertising, favorable press, and social media that can magically transform their image without regard to what they are doing.

I suspect that Arizona will discover that their PR program, whatever it turns out to be, will be a giant waste of money. The boycotts will not only continue but even multiply until the law is changed.

There is a limit to what even the most comprehensive PR campaign can do for you.

Friday, June 04, 2010

The digital mob

Shel Israel is calling for Mark Zuckerberg to step down. I have heard this sentiment expressed elsewhere and I don't understand it. Sure, Zuckerberg failed to appreciate the privacy controversy until it had reached the firestorm stage, but in terms of CEO misconduct others have done so much worse.

For example, why do any of the CEO's who were TARP recipients still have their jobs, never mind their bonuses. Why does the head of BP still have his job?

It is difficult to understand why one CEO becomes the focus of digital anger and not others.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Why I founded Presto Vivace PR

I started Presto Vivace PR for editors like Dan Beyers:
Someday someone will explain why so many businesses in the area want to make it so hard for regular folk like -- say, me -- to figure out what they do.

I've also sat through endless briefings about enterprise solutions and information assurance support environments, server virtualizations and system integrators and ... well, you name it.

And that's the problem, we need to rename it.

Clients so often see tech speak in industry publications and their competitors' press releases that they just assume that all those buzzwords serve a purpose. You have to work very hard to get clients to understand that jargon filled press releases, even if you can kid an editor into printing them, will never attract readers because no one can understand what you are talking about.

I think industry analysts are partly to blame. Coining terms and buzzwords that only they understand is a way for them to look like experts. It is also a status thing, understanding buzzwords is an indication that you are a member of the tech priesthood. Except it just gets in the way of customers understanding how your software could help them.

I use a copy editor who does not have a tech background. If my copy editor cannot understand what I am talking about, I start again from scratch. Even the most technical of concepts can be written in plain English.

Stratfor on the Israeli attack on the relief flotilla

George Friedman writing for Stratfor:
Where knowledge is limited, and the desire to learn the complex reality doesn’t exist, public opinion can be shaped by whoever generates the most powerful symbols. And on a matter of only tangential interest, governments tend to follow their publics’ wishes, however they originate. There is little to be gained for governments in resisting public opinion and much to be gained by giving in. By shaping the battlefield of public perception, it is thus possible to get governments to change positions.

In terms of new product launches for independent software developers, this does not have much relevance. But it lies at the heart of most public affairs PR and lobbying.