Category: Business Takes

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Does Tesla Really Need a PR Function?

After touching on this question in my newsletter, I decided the topic deserves a deeper dive. First, some stage setting. Electrek broke the news on Oct. 6 that Tesla eliminated its internal PR team: “If you’re a reporter who isn’t getting a response from Tesla, don’t take it personally, because it’s due to the automaker …more

The Downside of Experience in Leadership

We tend to correlate experience with stronger leadership. The common Steve Jobs narrative swings from impetuous youth to lessons learned. It stands to reason that people who have been tested when things didn’t go according to plan expand their leadership game. Yet, there’s a downside to experience when it comes to leadership. We can gain …more

Clorox Whiffs On Conversational Language

I will get to Clorox in a minute. Allow me to set the stage. President Trump set a new bar for weirdness (polite way of saying “stupidity”) during last Thursday’s White House briefing on the novel coronavirus suggesting people grab a mug of their favorite disinfectant to fight the pandemic. His words: “I see the …more

China Borrows from Trump Playbook, Fanning the Flames of Xenophobia

President Trump referred to COVID-19 as a “foreign virus” during his Oval Office speech last month. Soon after, that phrase gave way to the “China virus” triggering a spike of racism directed at Chinese Americans. Of course, Trump enjoys race baiting. It’s good TV. Most Americans don’t realize – or perhaps don’t care – that …more

Should Publications Try to Fool the Reader?

The obvious answer is no, but perhaps a more nuanced view should rule the day. Maybe it’s OK — dare I say helpful — to fool the reader, if by doing so, the publication serves up information that the reader cares about. I raise the issue after stumbling across sponsored content on UC Davis’ approach …more

Tirades, Tariffs and a PR Intern in Beijing

Sitting in the U.S., it’s easy to get caught up in the China rhetoric emanating from the White House and the latest if-you-do-that-we’ll-do-this missives. President Trump would have us believe that the global economy is a zero sum game, that every dollar gained by China leads to a loss of a buck in the U.S. …more