Category: Business Takes

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Is $4 Toast and the Tech Industry Still Ruining San Francisco?

Yesterday marked the three-year anniversary since VentureBeat and Jolie O’Dell’s focus group of one correlated expensive toast to the decline of San Francisco. The O’Dell discourse came with jagged edges, damning the tech industry for a cycle that goes something like this: Someone creates a business for consumers with too much money and pretensions of …more

Showmanship Trumps Expertise in A PR Agency Review Process That’s Broken

The typical process that guides a company in evaluating PR agencies and ultimately choosing a winner is broken. It was broken when I participated in my first new-biz meeting — wicker furniture, of all things; we did not win — in 1983. It’s still broken today. In the vast majority of PR agency reviews, the …more

The Back Story (and Drama) Behind 20 Years in Asia

The Agency opened its doors in Asia on Oct. 20, 1996. It has been an amazing, fun, torturous, weird, satisfying, frustrating and enlightening run. I made my first trip to Asia in 1994 as part of a press tour for Hyundai Electronics (now known as Hynix). After researching PR resources in that part of the …more

10 Charts from the Silicon Valley Index that Caught My Attention

Joint Venture Silicon Valley is incredibly thorough in putting together its annual index on Silicon Valley. Perhaps too thorough. Reviewing the 100-page document might be best described as a trudge. To save you the time of plodding through the pages, here are the CliffsNotes.   Where Invention Happens The combined patents generated in Silicon Valley …more

Did Apple’s “Customer Letter” Work in Defending Civil Liberties?

In one corner we have the biggest, baddest and most valuable company on the planet, Apple. In the opposite corner sits the U.S. government getting more ornery by the minute. As you know by now, the government has asked Apple to unlock a phone used by a terrorist in San Bernardino. Apple has refused, believing …more

TIME Magazine Puts Its Own Spin on Native Advertising

As PR-led campaigns increasingly blend tactics such as paid media, native advertising bears watching. I called out the genre last month suggesting most of it should be called “alien advertising.” Still, with the rules of the game being invented on-the-fly, we’re seeing fresh wrinkles like this native advertising campaign by Ryder in TIME Magazine. Here’s …more

49 Days in Provence, Terminé

We’ve completed the “assignment” in the South of France. The last grains of sand have found their way through the hourglass. The experience has been better than what Heather and I expected. And we had high expectations. Reflecting on the professional side — and putting to rest talk of a boondoggle — so many things …more

The One Hack Rarely Discussed to Increase Productivity at Meetings

Let me say up front that this post does not address the age-old quandary: “To meet or not to meet, that is the question.” Moving from Hamlet to Ford trucks, the company meeting is “built to last.” To resist is futile. Still, there is one simple action that would advance civilization in its quest to …more

49 Days in Provence

No, Peter Mayle hasn’t written an abbreviated sequel. But I am feeling the pressure to write a post that’s “stylish, witty and delightfully readable.” How about “simply readable?” Anyway, the tweaked book title portends a looming personal adventure. My wife, Heather, and I head to Aix en Provence today for a seven-week assignment.If the word …more