Sunday Jul 05, 2009

Sorry

When you screw up, just apologize and fix the problem. Fast. That`s what Katharine Weymouth, the publisher of the Washington Post, did today. After an initial misfire, she apologized and took full responsibility for her paper`s offer to sell access to political contacts and Post reporters at private events. This was an obvious marketing and communications mistake that would have compromised the credibility of her company`s most valuable asset -- the newsroom. Hey, everyone`s human. But the apology was necessary, and the taking of responsibility at the top is rare and refreshing. It will be interesting to see the media digest this issue since the field has been under significant pressure in recent years. More background here and here.

Lesson: apologize and fix it fast. And remember, credibility is earned from the bottom up, not the top down.

Saturday May 02, 2009

Tokyo is Headless

Here`s another one of those "Japan is Lost" articles. It`s an attack, basically, and this one focuses on leadership. I read these things purely for entertainment value now. My views on leadership have changed so substantially these last few years they'd hardly be recognizable to anyone who knew me in the U.S. I feel like I've recovered from a long drug-induced propaganda hangover or something.

Anyway, in the article we are told that Tokyo is "headless" and that if a Martian landed in Ginza today and said "Take me to your leader" most Japanese would be embarrassed because there are no leaders in Japan. Right. Ok. So, that`s the lead of an opinion piece in a serious magazine like Newsweek? Impressive.

Please note that a Martian landing in Tokyo would probably fit right in around here, and I can't imagine the Japanese would be embarrassed about their leadership very much because I don't they'd care very much. Why? Well, the view expressed in the article is so clearly western, and in Japan the perspective is somewhat different. In some cases, very different but there is no acknowledgment of that. By the way, I don't think Americans would care that much about Martians landing in Washington either. Heck, it would be an improvement. Also, you read the article, you`ll notice most of it is remarkably condescending, which is a shame because the writer actually points to some legitimate problems in Japan -- many of which exist in many countries. The tone is such a turn off I can`t give any of the underlying views any credibility whatsoever.

Also striking about the article is the utter lack of clear role models or demonstrated standards of success from which to judge the Japanese. I mean, really, if the Japanese are "headless" and suffering from "stress-related illnesses" and are "transparently inept" and snatching "defeat from the jaws of victory" and have "no other viable alternatives" and "continue to drift, bobbing like a mercantile cork in a turbulent geopolitical sea" as they just "muddle through" life then I ask you who the hell is doing all this right?

Thursday Jan 29, 2009

Bad News

When No News Is Bad News: "This matters because of the unique role journalism plays in a democracy. So much public information and official government knowledge depends on a private business model that is now failing." -- James Warren

This is a devastating article about the state of American journalism. And although there are many reports in blogs and the mainstream media covering the fall of journalism, this is a particularly sobering look. The opening story about John Crewdson moved me. I remember studying his stuff on AIDS, Robert Gallo, and Luc Montagnier a long time ago. I probably still have that special report, actually. Warren has many other upsetting stories in his article. Very well written piece. Read it. It`s important. The issues hit you right over the head.

Saturday Dec 06, 2008

The Power of Mainstream Publicity

Every time I chat with bloggers who feel the mainstream media is not that powerful anymore I trip over an article like this -- One man's military-industrial-media complex. This piece is a textbook lesson in the power of mainstream public relations to drive a marketing campaign. It`s perfect. And, in this case, it worked like a dream, too. Now, the article is disturbing because it talks about the selling of a war, but that`s not the point. It`s reality. And to not realize that is a delusion.

Thursday Sep 04, 2008

American Reporters Seeking India?

Journalist seeking paycheck? Try India: "India is a fascinating country where history is being made in many respects so it is a fertile place for good journalism. Hopefully some of the non-Indian journalists will have a better understanding of India when they do go back." -- Raju Narisetti.

Very interesting to see the media market exploding in India. But it's even better to see some of these publications open to foreign reporters coming in and sharing their experience and then going back with a new outlook on the country. I've seen other Indian business people expressing this very same sentiment.

Wednesday Mar 26, 2008

News in the Swamp?

"If you say something provocatively, in a new way, or with an unexpected spin, you will succeed online. If you play it safe, you will not." -- Michael Scherer, The Internet Effect on News

I think this is true online, but I think it's just as true in print and not only in the news business. I think it's true of all forms of communication, but it doesn't necessarily have to be considered pejorative -- as it's implied in this article. The "unexpected" can bring huge value and have nothing to do with spin. Communication has to grab and hold attention. How could it be any other way?

Tuesday Sep 18, 2007

NYT

New York Times to end paid Internet service: "We now believe by opening up all our content and unleashing what will be millions and millions of new documents, combined with phenomenal growth, that that will create a revenue stream that will more than exceed the subscription revenue." -- Vivian Schiller, VP, NYT

The New York Times goes free.

Friday Feb 16, 2007

Leaks

Robert Scoble on leaks -- "Remember when I posted Steve Ballmer’s email to all employees? I actually had permission to do so from the PR team. Sometimes "leaks" aren't leaks at all. They are press events designed to get the company’s point of view out to the world." This is a good distinction, I think, because real leaks are bad and are generally done by people who have no idea what they are doing. Also, if your company participates in open communities, there's no reason to leak since, presumably, a great deal of your operations are already occurring in the open.

Thursday Feb 15, 2007

Toyota Story: Unsecured Report Used as Source

Fascinating article here -- Toyota fears U.S. backlash over gains. Nothing in the article is out of the ordinary, really. Apparently, Toyota is concerned about public opinion in the U.S. because the company is doing very well there, and its American competitors are not. Not a big deal.

But what fascinated me was this part right here in the 7th paragraph: "In the briefing to other Toyota managers, Sudo cited political and social risks. The report, left unsecured on computers at the company's Georgetown, Ky., complex, said Toyota could come under fire for: ..." and then there's a list of items. And "Sudo" is Seiichi Sudo, president of Toyota Engineering & Manufacturing in North America. Ok, so what's up with the bit about "the report, left unsecured on computers at the company's Georgetown, Ky., complex" doing in there? Did the reporter hop on to the president's computer right there in his office and hack around while everyone else was chatting out in the hall or something? Or was the preso left on the computer right there in full view for all to see as the interview was taking place? Was it leaked to the reporter and therefore deemed "unsecured" in that respect? Did the reporter whip out a cell phone and take a quick picture of the screen while the others were ducking down to pick up a pencil from the floor? I'm dying to know. How did this happen?

Judging from the amount of information from that so-called "unsecured report" used in the article and how that source material is characterized, I can just imagine the reporter sitting there in front of the computer taking notes. All alone. For a long time. My goodness.

Thursday Feb 08, 2007

No More Paper

Some interesting quotes from Arthur Sulzberger at the New York Times -- NY Times publisher: Our goal is to manage the transition from print to internet.

On dumping paper: "I really don't know whether we'll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don't care either," he says. Well, that's cool. No more ink on paper. I go out of my way to not buy ink and paper if at all possible and have done so for years now. It's simply too wasteful. What the world doesn't need is more garbage blowing around in the streets.

On Bloggers: "We are curators, curators of news. People don't click onto the New York Times to read blogs. They want reliable news that they can trust," he says. Well, that's certainly true. I do want some news when I go to the NYT (and I go there often). But I'd like to read blogs from your reporters as well, and I could care less what your editorial board says. Reporters out in the field are the ones I want to hear from, not the guys in the top floor. The reporters have opinions, though, and I don't believe for a minute that news stories are not affected by those opinions. There's nothing wrong with that, per say, but I'd just like it acknowledged so I know what the perspective is, that's all. I've never read an objective piece of writing from any human being in my life, by the way, but there's nothing wrong with that because people are not objective. Arthur then goes on to say: "Once upon a time, people had to read the paper to find out what was going on in theater. Today there are hundreds of forums and sites with that information," he says. "But the paper can integrate material from bloggers and external writers. We need to be part of that community and to have dialogue with the online world." Cool. Nice to see the Times advance online.

Tuesday Dec 26, 2006

Participatory Mobs on the Internet

The Blog Mob is one of the funniest articles attacking bloggers I've read in a long time. It's not a credible criticism of blogs or bloggers because the language is too extreme to be taken seriously, but it's worth a read because it demonstrates how far some writers are from understanding the Internet. There are many humorous bits in there, too. I found this sentence especially delicious: "The participatory Internet, in combination with the hyperlink, which allows sites to interrelate, appears to encourage mobs and mob behavior." Wild, eh? Oh, there's more. A lot more. Enjoy ...

Monday Jun 19, 2006

"Much fanfare, but not much avail"

[Update & Correction: It was not Dave Rosenberg who made these statements below on which I'm commenting. It was Peter Yared. I guess I got confused by Dave's post. I thought he was summarizing and adding commentary to Peter's post. Apologies to Dave for the mistake.]

Dave Rosenberg writes about how he thinks open source has changed the business models of some big companies -- Big Company Behavior Patterns Around Open Source. This is how Sun is reacting -- according to Rosenberg, I mean:

We're Open, Too - Sun
"We're Open, Too" players open source their competing proprietary products long after a successful open source project has eclipsed their proprietary alternatives. Sun open sources their products in this way to much fanfare, but not much avail, examples include Solaris vs. Linux, NetBeans vs. Eclipse, SunONE Application Server vs. JBOSS, SPARC vs. x86, etc. This strategy is a stark contrast to the IBM "join the party" strategy, where IBM takes the best of their proprietary products and adds it to existing successful open source project like Linux.

Wrong on many fronts. Simon Phipps points out most of the errors in a comment to the original post. I couldn't find a permalink to comments in the blog, but you can easily find it off the main post. There are only two comments currently. Anyway, I wanted to point out a few other items ...

First ... we didn't release OpenSolaris "to much fanfare" as Rosenberg states. In fact, the truth is exactly the opposite, and anyone who knows anything about this project would know that. Last year we opened 10 million lines of code with one press release and a couple of hundred engineering blogs. That's it. There was no big advertising campaign or proclamations and all that crap. Instead, the engineers led the launch in absolutely every important way. And since then we've opened more code -- sixteen times -- with absolutely zero fanfare.

Early on, we intentionally understated the marketing, PR, and advertising on the project, and I've been a strong proponent of that strategy from the very beginning of the project. Not that we didn't want to get the word out -- far from it -- but more so because we wanted the project to gain credibility with OpenSolaris developers from the ground up, not from the top down with some billion dollar advertising campaign. We wanted to earn our credibility from the quality of our code and from the talents of our developers, not from the spin of our messages. Basically, we wanted to engage developers, not commentators. It's really that simple. Code comes first, not spin. Also, we were opening Solaris in stages, and we knew it would take time to not only release all the code and tools but to also build the community and the infrastructure for open development. That's all happening at the same time.

Now, however, the situation is changing. We have an enormous amount of code out there, the community is growing, and more infrastructure is in place. So I would expect -- and would support -- a stepped up marketing strategy that reflects our current position and direction. The engineering comes first, though. OpenSolaris is a developer program, not a marketing campaign.

Second ... the "but not much avail" comment is rude and dismisses the entire OpenSolaris community -- thousands of people working hard to build an innovative project we can all be proud of. An apology would be nice, don't you think?

Third ... Rosenberg says that we are opening our "competing proprietary products long after a successful open source project has eclipsed their proprietary alternatives." He then juxtaposes SPARC vs x86 as an example of this. Fascinating. I didn't know that OpenSPARC was in response to the previously open source x86 project. I must have missed that one.

Tuesday Feb 08, 2005

eWeek: Cut and Paste Journalism

Nice to see Greg Papadopoulos, Sun's CTO, blogging, eh? And his first post today was on OpenSolaris. Excellent!

eWeek picked up on Greg's blog and wrote an utterly fascinating article -- Sun CTO: New License Protects Developer Rights. And it's rather telling how eWeek characterizes Sun, Greg, HP, Linus Torvalds, and OpenSolaris in the piece.

First the eWeek writer, Peter Galli, quotes Greg's blog from today:

"Open software is fundamentally about developer freedom," Papadopoulos said.
...

"We want developers to freely use any of the Open Solaris code that we developed for their purposes without any fear of IP [intellectual property] infringement of Sun: either patent or copyright. We chose a license, the CDDL, an improvement of MPL [Mozilla Public License], that clearly and explicitly gives that freedom," he said.

Then Galli quotes Linus Torvalds from this article on December 13, 2004:

But Torvalds said he sees no such freedom in the license choice, telling eWEEK recently that Sun "wants to keep a moat against the barbarians at the gate."

"I think there are parallels with the Java 'we'll control the process' model," he said. "I personally think that their problem is that they want to control the end result too much, and because of that, they won't get any of the real advantages of open source."

Ok, it's a really old quote, but at least it's characterized as an old quote with the "recently" reference. But my question is this: why did eWeek feel the need to recycle an old quote from two months ago in the first place? It's just odd. Especially since Linus commented on OpenSolaris and CDDL in CRN just last week and said this:

"It all looks good. I was disappointed in their Java work, it was a complete disaster, and Sun took control of it," Torvalds told CRN, alluding to the Java Community Process. "But CDDL is different. Everything is in place for it to work well."

So, not only does Galli not mention Torvalds' more recent positive statements in CRN, but he then juxtaposes Greg's recent comments directly with Torvalds' comments from two months ago, giving the reader the impression that the two men are debating when they clearly are not:

In comments posted to his first "official" blog on Monday and titled "My views on open source," Papdopoulos disagreed, further defending the CDDL by saying that complementary to developer freedoms are developer rights. He said code developers do have rights to the code they have developed, as this is, after all, the fruit of their labor.

I don't know about you, but I hate it when reporters do this.

Next Galli recycles some negative comments from HP from that very same December 13, 2004 article but doesn't attribute them as such. So, we are led to believe that these comments from HP are recent. They are not.

Some of Sun's largest competitors are welcoming the dissention over the CDDL. Efrain Rovira, worldwide director of Linux marketing at Hewlett-Packard Co., in Palo Alto, Calif., told eWEEK that he enjoys competing with Sun when it continues to make mistakes such as this.

"They will not be able to build a viable community to support Open Solaris if they use the CDDL," Rovira said. "What they are saying to the community about their support for open source and Linux is that they are half pregnant.

"There are no half measures here: You either are or you aren't. This is part of the schizophrenic attitude we continue to see coming out of Sun," he said.

But Papadopoulos said developers could take any or all of the Solaris modules and, if they respected the basic license terms of propagating it and making public any improvements or bug fixes, they could "do with it as they please."

Did you catch that last paragraph? Galli now has Greg debating HP -- separated by two months in time but clearly positioned otherwise.

Next Galli offers more of Greg's blog from today:

"Embed it any product. Build your own custom distributions. Intermix with any other code you wish -- assuming that code lets you do it. You can do any of that, and you get a grant to any patents we might have covering our code. That's an explicit part of the license," he said.

The only thing Sun asks in exchange was the same thing that Richard Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation and author of the GPL, and Torvalds and every other open-source developer asked in exchange: "that the license be honored," he said.

Ok, fine. But now Galli goes back in time again and recycles a quote from Cybersource, which can be found not only in that December 13, 2004 article but also in a January 19, 2005 article as well:

But some users said they disagree with that assessment. "I suspect Sun would be overjoyed if open-source software continued to flourish, but Linux somehow vanished from the scene," said Con Zymaris, CEO of Cybersource Pty. Ltd., a Linux and open-source solutions company in Melbourne, Australia.

"I will now have to choose between supporting development and adding momentum to Open Solaris or to Linux. I will choose Linux. Our customers have."

By the way, if you read Torvalds' comments from the December 13, 2004 article, you can find the very same comments recycled in the January 19, 2005 article as well.

This is all very confusing, isn't it? All this cutting and pasting and recycling of parts to artificially create a debate across time that simply never took place. Interesting choices the writers and editors at eWeek are making these days, don't you think? I wonder, what agenda is eWeek pushing here?

Saturday Jan 22, 2005

Sources Close to the Company

It always fascinates me (for a few minutes, anyway) when I read stories like this one in CRN -- "Source: Sun To Release First Bits Of Open Solaris Tuesday."

What source? Ah, "close to the company." That helps. Brave, isn't he? I don't know ... for me, this stuff always reminds me of  "All the President's Men" when Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) used to meet Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook) in that dark garage ... and Deep Throat was usually dressed in an gray overcoat and big black hat or something, and you'd hear, "Follow the money." Funny. Oh, well, I'll be waiting anxiously to see the results of this story and the accuracy of this secret source. Should be interesting. I figured I'd point to it. Ignoring this stuff is dumb. I got the heads up from Robert, too.

Before I got involved in all this community stuff, I did PR at Sun. Yuk, I know, but I did my time and I'm out. Anyway, many of my stories leaked. Some of the info was correct, but much of it was wrong and resulted in nothing but animosity, confusion, and distrust. Why? We were trying protect the information, of course, and the press was trying to break it, many times with secret sources with crappy access. The result? A mess. I fail to see how this helps anyone involved. It was always a pain in the ass, too, because some manager somewhere always wanted you to do the impossible -- fix it. Right. That's helpful. I could sometimes figure out who did the leaking, which was great fun. Not that it mattered much because you could never really prove it. Other times I had no clue who the dork was and wondered who my enemy was lurking out there or sitting quietly in the office across the hall. Who was playing nice to my face and then stabbing me in the back? Yuk. The biggest leak for me (in high tech, anyway, I've done PR in three industries) was the launch of Project JXTA with Bill Joy. It was a very cool project with a wonderful band of people working it. It was cool, that is, until Stephen Shankland at Cnet found one of those fancy secret sources hiding in the shadows for his story, which got me into a significant amount of trouble. I was blamed for the leak by my superiors, but fortunately, a clueful executive outside the organization helped me and I survived. I have a pretty good idea who did the deed, by the way. If I could prove it, I'd tell you right here. Oh, well. Maybe some day.

My point? This is silly. Aside from providing me some pretty good blog material from time to time, I'm starting to lose interest. I'm much happier watching the buzz from the outside, while trying to learn the truth and have honest conversations -- face to face, one at a time -- with the engineers on the kernel team, the community forming within OpenSolaris Pilot Program, and with our customers who I'm tapping to bring into the pilot program -- most of whom tell me they really don't take all this noise in the press that seriously. Wow. That's a wake up call. So who does take it seriously? And why? I'm not asking rhetorically ... I actually want to know. Do these stories (here and here and here) really matter? Is it buzz or just confusion?

Sunday Nov 14, 2004

Qualifiers

I hate qualifiers. They pervade our conversations and add almost nothing. Aside from spin, that is.

Take this one. Why did this writer have to ruin Laura Koetzle's perfectly reasonable quote with a "gnarly" introductory phrase in a piece from LinuxInsider a couple of weeks ago:

As gnarly as Sun's open-source foray may be, it also has great potential for the company, Koetzle, [senior analyst with Forrester Research] asserted. "It's a risky move, but it could well pay off for them in the long run," she said. "It will build tremendous credibility with the development community."

Again. More qualifiers in the same article here from the writer and Dwight Davis of Summit Strategies:

Although Sun may not be able to dam the surge behind Linux, it can still be a survivor, said Dwight Davis of Summit Strategies. "I don't think Sun can counter the entire Linux trend and the momentum for that operating system, but I think they can make a good case for a battle-tested, commercial version of Unix as an alternative to Linux."

Why all the presuppositions and unnecessary competitive complexity?

I just don't see it this way at all. My view of OpenSolaris is simple, and I have no qualifiers to explain it. We have great code. We have a large internal community of 900 engineers scattered around the world. We have a global customer and developer base in the tens of thousands (probably bigger). And now we are looking to upgrade our already well-defined development processes, simultaneously make them open source, and step that new development methodology carefully across the firewall as we finish Solaris 10 and build a community. And why? Because we want to tap the talent of the Solaris developer community around the world to help make Solaris even better, to help find and fix bugs and build new features, to enable the community to use the code in new ways and drive the entire system into new and unforeseen markets. Very simply ... to grow. You see? No qualifiers. No war with Linux. No risky or gnarly moves. No surviving some surge behind a dam. Just a simple evolution of the Solaris platform for the benefit of Sun, the Solaris developer community, and our customers and partners. Simple.

I know. I'd be a crappy marketeer. I realize that.

Sunday Oct 17, 2004

Scott in SJMN

Scott's out there talking again. Love it. Pretty interesting Q&A here in the San Jose Mercury News. It's a quick read. Give it a look. I clipped some of the more entertaining exchanges below. I sometimes wonder, though. Don't reporters get tied of asking the same old questions? Especially to McNealy. Oh, well. The press is coming around. I think the most important bit from this Q&A is Scott's reference to Sun's getting leading with Opteron.

On bring proprietary ...

Q: There is a perception that Sun is trying to lock in customers with proprietary technology.

A: For 22 years, I've said name a technical specification at Sun that is not open, published or adopted by some or all of the computer industry. You can't. To call Sun proprietary is as big a lie as you could put in your newspaper. If I were to say IBM is bankrupt and you were to publish that, that would be the same as saying Sun is proprietary.

On killing SPARC ...

Q: What if your advisers or investors say drop Sparc and adopt Intel?

A: Who said that? You're asking overly general questions.

Q: Why don't you drop Sparc?

A It's one of the most successful microprocessor architectures in the history of the world. It has an incredible installed base. We grew volumes 46 percent in the June quarter. Blew everybody else away. It is the No. 1 64-bit architecture. It scales from one processor task to hundreds simultaneously. It is quite embedded in the telecommunications services market place. It is open and multi-vendor and quite profitable for us. Other than that I can't think of a reason. Why as a car company wouldn't we want to do our own engines? People say you're doing too much. Why are you doing engines?

On lagging Linux server sales ...

Q: Sun's Linux server sales still seem small. If anyone can build and sell a computer server with the open-source operating system, why isn't your share of Linux bigger?

A: Because we got in at the end of the train. We tried to get others to adopt Solaris and we did 360's in the mud. Until we did our Intel Xeon strategy a couple of years ago, we were late on the Xeon parade. We are first on the AMD Opteron parade.

Tuesday Oct 05, 2004

TV Show News Anchors Mad, Too

My goodness ... everyone's mad these days. And just when I'm starting to relax! What a switch.

So, now the big TV show news anchors are mad at bloggers for "a kind of political jihad." An unfortunate accusation considering the current global situation. Rhetoric like this seems profoundly silly, yet desperate. Sorry, guys. I have no sympathy. You lost your credibility long before the Dan Rather chronicles of a couple of weeks ago, although it was amusing. I must admit, though, I don't really watch the network news shows anymore. Haven't for a very long time. Too much hype and spin. Gives me a headache, and I have enough pain to deal with in my life. It's much quieter and thoughtful over here. So, perhaps I'm the one who is not credible on this subject. Anyway, thanks, Steve, for the pointer.

Thursday Sep 30, 2004

Just a "lowly" Sun blogger ...

093004_business2_lowly Business 2.0 has an article on Schwartz and Sun's bloggers:

The blogging COO is not alone, even at his own company. Sun's chief technology officer, James Gosling, runs his own blog too. So do the company's top marketing manager, chief technology evangelist, and hundreds of other lowly Sun employees.

This is the first time I've ever been called "lowly." Not very flattering, eh?

Saturday Jul 17, 2004

BusinessWeek

I couldn't help trip over BusinessWeek's cover story on Sun yesterday: "Sun: A CEO's Last Stand" -- complete with a dramatic, somber-looking photo of McNealy looking down and out, carefully shot and cropped to have the maximum negative impact. He could very well have just told a joke to 10,000 people and was looking down at his notes for the next "Top 10 List" item. But we all know the power of photography to capture a millisecond in time. This is an unfortunate, unfair editorial decision by BusinessWeek because it belies Scott's attitude in the article. In the article, he's in his usual fighting mode. I have to chuckle, though ... isn't it the media that always says we corporate types spin everything? This is very good marketing on BusinessWeek's part. Should sell very well on the newsstands.

How many "Sun-is-setting-last-stand" articles are reporters going to write about us? My goodness. Don't they get tired of piling on? Granted, we haven't performed well enough to thwart these pieces, and granted, the only thing that turns press like this around is financial success, but aren't we going just a tad over the top here? Scott does his fair share of admitting Sun's mistakes, and BusinessWeek gives him due credit for his many accomplishments. But what doesn't come through in the article is the many honorable, hard working people busy implementing some innovative new strategies to grow ourselves out of what we all agree is a tough position. Strategies I largely agree with -- especially our plan to open source Solaris, move more of our software to community-based development models, aggressively drive into desktop markets, and sell really fast Opteron servers. When we refine and fully implement these strategies, things could be altogether different.

BusinessWeek substantiates the piece early on with this bit:

"Through interviews with 38 current and former Sun executives, including nine departees on the record ... "

Ok, so does that mean 29 executive sources remain hidden? How brave of them.

Look, I'm a Sun employee and supporter. I believe in this place. I'm an advocate. But I don't follow anyone or any company blindly. Never have, never will. Internally, I argue over projects all the time. Scott encourages that. However, when I was in PR (for nine years at four companies in three industries), articles like this drove me nuts, especially when you are faced with two dozen un-named sources. I know how these pieces are put together and I know the game. It's still frustrating, though, and it still hurts.

Here's my only question, though: Will someone -- anyone -- please explain to me the justification for the very last sentence in the piece:

"Unless he [McNealy] pulls off a longshot turnaround, it may ultimately be a blow to Silicon Valley and even America's technological prowess."

A blow to America's technological prowess? Wow. That seems like a heavy weight to dump on Scott's shoulders. It's also a ridiculous conclusion that severely undermines the credibility of BusinessWeek's editorial.


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