Another week, another PR crisis. This one comes by way of the Quixotic, pie-in-the-sky Silicon Valley start-up Airbnb, which allows people to rent their apartments, a bedroom or even their living room floor to complete strangers, with little to no background check of that person’s character. Think about how absurd that concept sounds.The crisis in question involved a San Francisco woman, known only as EJ, who blogged that she was the victim of a heinous property crime by a guest who arranged to stay there through Airbnb. In what is being called “#ranscackgate” (sidebar: Another “gate”? Really?), Airbnb has, perhaps not surprisingly, totally flubbed its response. Continue reading
“I’m like God — I can do and say whatever I want.” Thus spake the tech columnist for a large print daily. It was the mid-1990s. I’d called to ask why he’d flagrantly quoted someone out of context. Fortunately there are fewer of these byline clowns in operation today. And that’s the real value of the online revolution displacing traditional media. The Gaddafis of media are holding out a bit longer, but ultimately they’re marked men.
‘Twas a time when, merely by accession to the throne of an important print or broadcast media outlet, a journalist exercised God-like powers. Still happens, but less so. Continue reading
I love working with tech entrepreneurs. Their enthusiasm, innovative minds and passion for what they’re doing is infectious. But ask many of them what their business does, or their cool new product or service is all about, and you’re likely to get a variety of nonsensical answers rooted in geek speak:
“Well, we’re like Foursquare in that we allow people to check into their favorite restaurants, but we give them more social engagement options because our service places a box around their most frequently checked-in spots,” I actually heard one neophyte tech CEO say recently at the fantastic and very informative New York Tech Meetup.
The tech industry has a big problem that seemingly few PR consultants or their clients want to address: tech people have no clue how to talk like normal humans when describing the value of their products or services. Continue reading