Tag Archives: Mary Trigiani

Players: Constructing and communicating the bailout — tips for the typical executive

I think what we have here is failure to communicate.

Images

Meaning that Mr Bernanke and Mr Paulson are not used to having to explain their rationale nor are they used to being questioned.  Understood.  However, they are doing business with a whole new lender — the American taxpayer — so they need to both accept the fact that they must communicate on the audience's terms and recognize this might require an adjustment.

"Regular" executives face this on a regular basis. 

First, always think about what your audience needs, not just what you want.  For example, if you're getting ready to deliver a speech, the first thing to consider is the audience.  Why is that audience there?  What are the various constituencies in that audience, and what do they want to know or hear from you?  In this situation, it's critical that you deliver a message — built around your perspective and expertise — that either answers a question they have or tells them something they can use.

Second, consult the experts but stick to what you know.  Another example.  This morning, on CNBC, economist Diane Swonk was remarkably unconscious of the general audience for the bailout message when she said that some senators' questions were stupid and defended Secretary Paulson by asserting that he is not used to answering questions.  I'm sure Bernanke and Paulson are walking into this with a sense of duty — which is why, when you're listening to wonks like Swonk, take their perspective for what it's worth.  When you seek the opinions of others in your organization when constructing a message — as you should — make sure to use it to complete your message, not dominate it.  Sometimes you'll get an observation that isn't as inappropriate as what Swonk shared today — but that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep it in perspective, either.  Think for yourself.

Good social media blogs

Trying to keep up with how to use social media to market your company can be a job in itself.  Here are some people who make it easier for you.

Hubspot

Social Media Today

Chris Brogan

Andrew Chen

Twitter Handbook

Cuil. Too cool for words?

Richard MacManus of ReadWriteWeb wrote a post last night about the big coverage of Cuil, thought and/or hoped by many to be the Google killer.

The MacManus post muses about the coverage of the new search engine and the major criticism that followed its debut.  A lot of expectations mismanaged.  So MacManus cites the echo chamber and the hyperbole that stokes it.

But let’s not blame the PR people, people.  Yes, I find much of the language, elitist and cozy, too much to bear.  But somebody’s swallowing it.  And it’s not just the TechCrunches and the Valleywags.  It’s our highly trained, self-proclaimed highly professional mainstream media.

Here are the suggestions I just shared in a comment to MacManus’s post.  Let’s start stripping away the hype.  Ultimately, it’s the best thing for all concerned.

Lots of insightful comments on your interesting post.  This is not a criticism of Cuil, either.  Time will tell.

I do have comments to the press, bloggers, all the new media types “covering” startups, Silicon Valley, tech money:

1  You are part of the echo chamber.  Think before you write.  Choose your words carefully and wisely.

2  Talk with the potential enemies as well as the pals and coterie of the founders and the VCs.

3  Recognize that not everyone tells the truth.

4  If you don’t understand the technology, find someone neutral who does.  Neutral = doesn’t have an ax to grind.

5  In comparing products, rely on your own instincts and that of a true expert to unearth key points of differentiation between products and services.  Don’t just reprint what you’re being fed.

6  Start looking for the real stories of Silicon Valley.  Yes, you’re busy.  But when you take on the responsibility of distilling facts for others, you take on the responsibility to dig.  If you don’t have the work ethic for this role, find something else to do.  We’re sick of the hyperbole.  The real stories of Silicon Valley are not that far beneath the superficial surface on which you skate.

This is coming to you from someone who helps to craft and tell the stories of startups and corporations that are in this for the joy as well as the payoff — and who wouldn’t dream of yanking your chains.  Wake up.

Is Yelp a business, community service or not for profit? Paging Comrade Lenin.

Calley Nye wrote today about Yelp and its impact on companies reviewed there.  Yelp presents itself as a place where the community can gather to share its experiences with businesses — and Yelp likes to invoke conversation as a core concept.  The site is gaining in popularity, and negative reviews can break a business, particularly a restaurant.  So businesses are forming alternate sites to combat the effect. 

Why don’t these businesses just bring the argument or discussion to Yelp?  Because Yelp won’t let them.  Yelp does not permit businesses to respond one way or the other to a review.  This is a shame, because the young company is leaving valuable conversation on the table.  And missing the point of social media.  

Or at least that’s how a lot of people see it.  I’m starting to notice a devilish little trend among startups that seek to change the world.  They reap the benefits of a capitalistic structure without contributing to it.  In this case, Yelp could be helping to evangelize the importance of companies listening to and actually talking with customers — and Yelp could be setting itself up as the nexus of the interaction

Instead, the company is kidding itself — or trying to kid us — into thinking it is leveling the playing field by going after nasty business owners and putting more power into the hands of the “community.”  That businesses are not part of the community! 

Wait a minute.

Is Yelp a business?  And if so,  because Yelp’s CEO [a business term] created a loyalty hierarchy consisting of community, consumers and businesses, as articulated to none other than THE NEW YORK TIMES, into which category does Yelp fall?  Finally, by whose universal standard are Yelp-reviewed businesses measured?  If the answer is the community’s, then who decides the community?  Or are we going to check with Comrade Lenin via seance?

I love it when a startup presents itself as anti-establishment as it indulges in the third oldest profession to make money.  That would be advertising.

Anyway, I find it hard to believe that Yelp’s mission is either noble or democratic.  At least, not any more than any other business trying to launch, make money and do business ethically.  So let’s use Yelp for what it is — a repository of reviews we can use for information but for nothing more.  And let’s not be used by it.

It’s a girl geek revolution

Well, the Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner is happening tonight, with photography and remarks by the girl-founded online porn company.

However.  It's turned out that women across this country, at least, are flying the red flag on this situation.  So some friends have organized what I'm calling revolutionary cocktails tonight in downtown San Francisco.

Sugar
Cafe
6 to 9 pm
679 Sutter Street
San Francisco
415
441 5678

Visit Calley Nye's and Mary Hodder's blogs for their perspectives. 

Looking forward to seeing you there so we can get a real conversation going about what it really means to make femininity less abstract in the workplace.  Does it really mean engaging in sex play during working hours?  What is prudishness, really?  Clothing optional the way to go?  Things like that.