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Links of the day

Reading Time: < 1 minute

PSFK Talks to Artist and VJ Shantell Martin –

Random Oblique Strategies – nice implementation of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies

Setanta kicks off iPlayer rival – New Media & Search : News

Videos on | How to videos, free video clips & more

Highest Paying CPC Ads in a Google AdSense Unit May Not Be on Top

Clear Channel Faces a Crisis in Cash Flow –

What Does Apple’s Steve Jobs Want With All Those Chip Guys? – WSJ

Pixelsbeatpaper – Nokia 5800 Apps and Games

Groups: The Secret Weapon of the Social Web – ReadWriteWeb

Ross Levinsohn: Hollywood, as you know it, is dead | Webware – CNET

Nielsen Online» » CDC Provides an Online Voice of Reason During the Swine Flu Crisis

Three forms of Community Affiliation | Pixelblog

Flickr Co-Founder Butterfield and Chief Architect Henderson Working on Stealth Start-Up

Google integrates AdSense and Analytics | Blog | Econsultancy

Local Search Grows 58%; Outpaces Overall Online Search

Brands boosted by international media exposure, study reveals – Brand Republic News – Brand Republic

Social Media and Public Relations Consulting � PR Squared

Flickr Hit Hard by Yahoo Layoffs – not Carol Bartz’ smartest moves. Why not get rid of those pesky people who give consumers the most reason to interact with your products

Smells Like a Billion Bucks | Fast Company

书评 | oprah time | 서평

Oprah Time: Barbarians Led by Bill Gates written by Jennifer Edstrom and Marlin Eller

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I started reading Barbarians Led by Bill Gates after the I’m a PC campaign tried to humanise the brand image of Microsoft. Barbarians is an unusual book: it is unspun lacking the fingerprints of public relations-led storytelling and yet fits uncomfortably between gonzo journalism and business history book. This partly explains the negative reactions that the book received on its release, in that it is a curates egg of a book.

Its isn’t strictly a history that describes Microsoft, instead it like it reminds me of a great definition for art “art isn’t about what a thing looks like, but what a thing is.”

It peers inside the software company and shows how chaotic happenstance, internal politics and ego rather than smarts managed to bring the company from being a lowly start-up to one of the world’s biggest and most powerful corporates which would match a reasonably sized country in earning power. The smarts came in when they realised the opportunities that they had been handed and the magicians art of promoting a new product: and a key part in this magic was my former agency WE Worldwide and in particular senior executive Pam Edstrom aka Gates’ keeper.

If you are in PR, the descriptions of the planning that went into campaign execution and long-term relationship building alone will be very instructive. For me, the description of life on the inside of Microsoft rang true, as it resonated with my own experiences in-house at Yahoo! as projects ebbed and flowed in priority on an almost weekly basis.

The book is also the story of how Marlin Eller gradually fell out of love with the company he had help build, how politics triumphed and expertise waned as Microsoft grew from a scrappy start-up to being part of the establishment. The portrayal of Bill Gates ultimately makes him more human because of his fallibility and indecision. Things that were polished out of his official image.

Although the book finishes its story in 1998, it is by turns instructive and provides an interesting prism to view the company through, as the experiences described shape the legal and commercial environment that Microsoft operates in today. For instance, Google’s openness mantra is designed to be a judo move on Microsoft’s historic business model, using the corporations own strength and size against itself.

The book is also an artifact, staring back into marketing and PR before The Cluetrain Manifesto and The Naked Corporation, but comparing and contrasting with the present can provide a a useful aid to learning a number of powerful lessons.