Well, in the latest chapter of the PR battle, the voiceover actor Lance Baxter, aka D.C. Douglas, released this video compilation of the messages from angry Tea Party activists left on his answering machine, which his dulcet tones introducing the package.
It’s all rather curious and funny but, more important, it points to two interesting trends.
Apparently, he quickly backtracked – not by renouncing what he said but by declaring in an open meeting with staff that he should have made the point directly to them instead of to an external company. He stood by his assertion that the company’s work was not up to snuff.
The video below, “The next big thing” is particularly interesting in revealing just how quickly technology has changed the way we think, communicate and, ultimately, do business. Just over half a minute in, check out the responses to the question: “How often do you Twitter?”
Some interesting insights on branding too. Maybe it’s not as powerful as we think it is?
The downturn has meant business is front and centre on pretty much any news programme you can think of so it is not surprising that many banks now have live television news reports being transmitted from their offices.
I became a partner in an early-stage technology business run by an ex-soldier this year. Watching him in action has demonstrated to me how many of the qualities cultivated in the armed forces are also valuable in an entrepreneur: discipline, leadership, teamwork, decisiveness, industry – and the art of getting the job done.
This observation is confirmed in a new book called Start-up Nation, by Dan Senor and Saul Singer. It describes how Israel has become a world leader in technology enterprises, thanks in part to the Israel Defense Forces. Military service is compulsory there, and it breeds technologists and successful innovators. Venture capital investment per capita is six times that in Britain, and spending on research and development as a percentage of gross domestic product four times as high. But that money is only productive because there are ideas and individuals to support.
The book’s authors believe the intensive training Israel’s army receives is a vital reason that Intel, Ebay and Microsoft, among others, see it as the most inventive place in the world, next to Silicon Valley.
Traditional management is over. The internet has killed command and control. Now that everyone can analyse and ridicule their chief executive’s every move almost before they’ve made it, it has become impossible to order people about.
This view is put forward by Carol Bartz, the new head of Yahoo, in The Economist’s “The World in 2010”. It sounds pacey and plausible and for a second I was lulled into thinking that perhaps the “Niagara of information” really has changed management for ever. But then I looked around me. I saw lots of people at desks calmly doing what they were paid to do: working.
Command and control is not over and won’t ever be. Bosses are still bosses. If mine tells me to do something, I’m inclined to get up off my bottom and do it. If Bartz’s employees don’t get off their bottoms when she tells them to, there is a problem – and it has nothing to do with the internet.
“Benedict XVI has chosen to dedicate World Communications Day 2010 to the theme “The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: new media at the service of the Word.”
The announcement continues:
The Holy Father urges priests to “consider the new media as a powerful resource for their ministry in the service of the Word and wishes to express a word of encouragement in order to address the challenges stemming from the new digital culture,” the communiqué explained. “If the new media is adequately known and appreciated, it can offer priests and all pastoral agents a wealth of data and content that previously was difficult to access, and it facilitates ways of collaboration and growth of communion that were unthinkable in the past.”
A few weeks ago, the most popular story on FT.com was on Dyson’s new bladeless fan. I have to admit, I couldn’t quite figure out why so many readers were looking at it, but who am I to go against the grain?
I did wonder if it had anything to do with the following Dyson has among consumers and this video suggests I may have been on to something. Emma and Molly are two fans of the fan and have created a video showing just how this impressive device works. I especially like the Brazilian music overlaying the clip. What was that I said in a previous post about the changing nature of consumer engagement?
Of course, this could be nothing more than a clever marketing ploy and for all I know these could be Dyson employees or the wife and child of the guy who designed it. Whatever the case, I wonder if it will generate as much attention as our original story.
Stefan Stern writes a column on Tuesdays on management. He is winner of the 2010 Towers Watson award for excellence in HR journalism, and has previously won awards from the Work Foundation and the Management Consultancies Association.
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