Mania

The greater fools are bidding up the price of Bitcoin by the hour.  It is not going to stay that high and might even be breaking as I write. Some are going to get hurt badly, but that is the outcome of all mania.  The Dutch Tulip Bulb bubble ruined thousands of investors.  Bitcoin is no different and wise Wall Streeters have been counseling people to stay away.  Yet, many are not.  They see instant riches and they crave wealth.  it is crowd psychology and there is no communication other than supportive that the audience will listen to now.  Criticism is rejected out of hand.  Anyone who isn't on board with the mania doesn't understand or is a hidebound conservative.  When the price fever does break, and "I told you so" is ringing in their ears, they still won't listen but will Continue reading "Mania"

Fake PR

The internet has made one type of fake PR easier to do.  That is putting names onto phony comments to the FCC.  The Federal Communications Commission has been deluged with opinions for and against net neutrality.  It turns out many of them were made up with names stolen from databases.  Unfortunately, one of the taken names was that of a reporter who blew the whistle on the ersatz grassroots campaign.  The result of the fake PR is that FCC commissioners can more easily ignore the public reaction to their voting.  The campaign backfired.  The problem is larger than a government agency.  It means any solicitation of public opinion is open to distortion and falsehood.  One cannot simply count comments for and against and arrive at a public sentiment.  There needs to be stricter standards for asking the public what it thinks.  

Jerusalem

President Trump's apparent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital isn't going down well with Israel's neighbors.  They are frothing at the mouth even though Jerusalem has been the de facto capital of the country for decades.  Trump is about to cross a line that will turn Palestinians against him since they claim Jerusalem as well.  Symbols matter to ordinary people.  Jerusalem is a symbol of heritage for Zionists and so too Palestinians, although the Jews have a longer claim.  Anywhere but the Middle East it probably wouldn't matter.  In the millennial enmities of the Arab-Israeli world, it does.  As long as the US Embassy was in Tel Aviv, the fiction of Israel's capital endured.  Once the embassy is moved to Jerusalem, the make-believe can no longer be accepted. There are other situations like this where communications gloss over reality.  Notably, Continue reading "Jerusalem"

The Ultimate Crisis

There is, perhaps, no greater crisis in the life of a company than its CEO dying by his own hand.  Suicide leaves many unanswered questions about the executive, the executive's family life and of course, the company.  Even if the CEO leaves a note, it might not stop the fear that the company is in trouble.  The communicator and surviving executives' first duty after expressions of sorrow is to assure employees,vendors and customers that the company will continue.  If the company is in difficulty, it is time for a take-charge leader to guide the company out of it.  If it isn't, the assurances should be that the company will continue on its present course for a time.  Suicide is an extreme act.  Usually circumstances are dire to cause a CEO to take it as a way out.  It might be depression, hopelessness or Continue reading "The Ultimate Crisis"

The Tax Bill

If the Republican tax bill irresponsibly takes from the poor and middle class and gives to the rich, as is widely reported, the party will have a major communications problem in an election year.  How do you explain to constituents that you have worked on their behalf?  It is an issue tailor-made to put Democrats back in power, especially with a wildly out of control President.  It will be interesting to see how Republicans spin  implications of the bill and what they do, if anything to clean up sections that are unintentionally hurtful.  They won't have much time given demands of campaigning, and there is a good chance Democrats will block them from making the bill better. The communications practitioners on both the House and Senate side will be working overtime trying to find messages that make a bad bill palatable.  If on the other hand, Continue reading "The Tax Bill"

One Word

Sometime words matter to a point where there is news if one uses a one or not.  This is the predicament the pope has put himself in.  Western media expected him to tell authorities in Myanmar to stop persecuting the Rohingya, but he didn't.  He instead called for general peace and reconciliation.  His critics are battering him for it.  It makes no difference that he is visiting the Muslims' refugee camps and spotlighting their dire needs.  He kowtowed to the sensitivity of Myanmar power brokers, they say.  The pope did not need to get himself into this vise.  He could have stayed away.  However, he is not one to back down in the face of poverty and distress.  He called for solutions to the migrant crisis in Europe and he led the way in spotlighting their terrible situation.  Continue reading "One Word"

Handling A Crisis

This is a good case study for handling a crisis.  When brush fires bore down on the households of Keysight Technologies' employees, the company sprang into action.  It's first job was the safety and care of employees, many of whom were burned out of their homes.  The company set up care centers and systems to reach affected workers and ensure their safety.  This was in the face of incinerated land lines and cell service.  The second action was customers who were concerned they could not get technologies they had on order with the company.  Senior executives visited their offices and assured them they would get delivery on time and in full.  The third action was to forestall competitors who were swift to take advantage of the company's misery.  Keysight had to knock down rumors and outright falsehoods about its ability to service Continue reading "Handling A Crisis"