PR Week and The Holmes Report carried an obituary for Pam Edstrom who passed away last night. I worked at her agency for a few years and came across her a few times.
Pam had an intensity and an energy to her. She was also a true believer; you could break her open like a stick of rock and there would be the Windows squares running through her. She had a tremendous belief in the ability of IT to deliver tremendous things. If you’ve read this blog you’d realise that I’m not a true believer in the same way that Pam was; we were on opposite sides of the Windows | Mac (and Unix) religious divide.
She had an absolute focus on controlling the message and organisational process (optimised for alignment to Microsoft) and championed ‘gold standard’ delivery. Over time Microsoft came to represent more than half the agency billings.
When I worked at the agency I also was assigned to keeping the company name in the usual industry debates. I found it handy to do as it kept my PR skills warm as I did the nascent digital work at the time. I managed to keep a constant drip feed of coverage in the industry media.
At the last minute I was asked to arrange a profile. Clare O’Connor who worked at PR Week at the time agreed to write a profile – Pam Edstrom, the doyenne of tech PR. Give it a read as it captures Pam quite well.
The article was taking ages to come out as it was ‘evergreen’ appearing some six months after the interview had taken place.
The article threw a bit of a curveball when a longtime journalist contact was asked about Pam and referred to her daughter Jennifer’s book Barbarians led by Bill Gates. I never did hear if Pam got to thank the New York Times’ Steve Lohr for that one.
This week I spent a good deal of time listening to the Flying Mojito Brothers
We past 25 years since the launch of Jump Around by the House of Pain and Everlast returned with his first hip hop project in years War Porn Industries. Here’s the mixtape put together
A great mix for St Patrick’s day without the cheese from Club Céilí
Magnetic magazine put together a collection of some very Belearic feeling tracks. The kind of collection that the likes of Test Pressing would have been proud of
This week has seen all eyes of watch fans turn towards Basel for Baselworld and Omega put together this great teaser in advance of their launches at the show
The economic rationale for public R&I funding and its impact – Research policy and organisation – EU Bookshop – good reading material showing the importance of government R&D spurring private enterprise innovation
SoftBank Drops $100 Million Investment in iPhone Rival – WSJ – stops investment in Andy Rubin’s next thing (paywall)
QR code scams rise in China, putting e-payment security in spotlight | South China Morning Post– interesting attack vector
Escape to another world | 1843 – changing gender roles, changing expectations of what they can achieve and escapism
China has overtaken Japan in South Koreans’ worst countries list, new survey claims | South China Morning Post – big longer term issue for the Chinese, probably bigger than they realise at the moment
Alienation 101 | 1843 – Chinese student experience in the US
Beijing public bathrooms equipped with face scanners in a bid to save toilet paper-Sino-US – there is something wrong about the economics of this, unless the average Chinese person is the pink panther of toilet paper?
Handsets at MWC: Same But Different | EE Times – from the perspective of electronics engineers
Nike Sees Online Search Spike from China’s Consumer Rights Day | The Daily | L2 – oh Consumer Rights day – that festival of bashing the west….
Hong Kong jewellers poised for joy as Chinese big spenders return | South China Morning Post – I guess its also about creating portable wealth as capital restrictions continue and change
As Uber Woos More Drivers, Taxis Hit Back – NYTimes.com – when will Uber’s cheap capital and toxic culture run out of road and become this decade’s pets.com
A Small Table Maker Takes On Alibaba’s Flood of Fakes – NYTimes.com – Alibaba’s PR pain
Demis Hassabis plays to DeepMind’s strengths by using artificial intelligence for social impact – interesting read. One pout stood out though wasn’t Google X and Google Research supposed to be the kind of medium / long term research DeepMind claims to be. Secondly, there is no ‘general purpose’ AI in DeepMind’s current vision or structure
Facebook Goes Full “Black Mirror”: How Facebook Is Making Membership a Prerequisite to Everyday… – In some ways this is worse than Microsoft Passport; that the IT industry and privacy wonks fought off in the early noughties
Generation X More Addicted to Social Media Than Millennials, Report Finds – NYTimes.com – fire the millennials in your social team
Are Teenagers Replacing Drugs With Smartphones? – NYTimes.com – drugs replaced by digital alternatives?
Aral Balkan — We didn’t lose control – it was stolen – interesting framing of the modern day online media industry
It’s hard to believe that the House of Pain’s Jump Around turned 25 last week. The iconic intro from ‘Harlem Shuffle’ used to be a call to the dance floor when I used to play it on Wednesday night sets at a late closing wine bar in the North West of England.
The video fired my love of American workwear, previously I’d only really seen this worn on African-American artists. I loved the form follows function, timeless style and burly nature of the garments. I hunted down supplies of Carhartt and Dickies in Leeds and Covent Garden – it’s kept me warm and dry ever since.
More importantly it was emblematic of an Irish blue collar swagger that the UK Irish community just didn’t have. The closest thing we had was the shambolic Pogues or wit of Dave Allen which he welded like a katana in the hands of a samurai. We were much more heads down as the troubles in Northern Ireland and sectarianism impacted our lives.
This was a spectacularly mean-spirited time; where the government used the police to beat the miner’s strike into submission and wilfully demolished the weak industrial base to build the financial services sector. Acid house and rave were created partly because the youth wanted to escape through hedonism.
The post Good Friday Irish experience of Irish emigrants just a few years later was rather different. Britain was on its way to Cool Britannia liberalism – when being in an Irish pub, no longer meant keeping an eye out for Special Branch agent provocateurs or well-known grasses.