Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

The old rules and the new rules of business...a reply to Tina

Posted by Tom Foremski - March 9, 2006

(This is a reply to Tina in the comments section, just in case you missed it. I think Tina brings up some good points...)


Tina, it is people like you that I like to chat with. Because you are new, you haven't been taught how not to do things.

I'm tired of people telling me "that's not the way it is done we've been doing this for 15 years." I hate that attitude.

In my world, there is always a big Undo/Go-Back button. I want to try new stuff. But that's because I don't have a business model to defend. In fact, I don't yet have a business model--(but I know I will have one :-)

If you have a business model to defend, one that is paying the bills--you can't readily jump to the new. It is what I call "You can't get there from here" a wonderful uniquely American expression but one that is so well suited to what is happening now; it speaks to the culture and business gap (chasm) that has opened up between old rules and new rules companies.

The old can't move to the new because the business model won't support the cost structure of the old.

I left the Financial Times because I realized that I could produce a column inch (a measurement of editorial copy) of Tom Foremski, more cheaply than the Financial Times. And on a very robust and powerful technology media platform that was virtually free (a $100 Movable Type license plus $40/month hosting.)

Yes, I don't yet have a business model that can keep the lights on, but it can only get better for me and more difficult for my former employer, and its peer group of newspaper businesses.

I'm a journalist blogger with a laptop--the only way you can compete with me is if you are living rent-free at your parent's home, and using your sister's computer (plus 20+ years building your personal brand...).

These are great times for journalists and PR people because at no other time in our lives will we be at such a disruptive point in our professions. And disruption is good if you are not married to the old--because that's where the next generation of leading companies will grow.

Tina's prior comments:

by: Tina Lang-Stuart on March 7, 2006 07:08 AM
Oh Tom, it's always a pleasure reading your "devil's advocate" posts! First the press release is dead, now it's PR all together! (Bad news, since I just got a new job in PR.)
For one reason or another, you don't seem to think that PR people have the guts, foresight or passion to adjust and embrace PR 2.0. Come on, the whole blogosphere, CGM, viral marketing, etc. is an opportunity for us to do something new and exciting. I've been in PR a long time and I am truly thrilled about the changes taking place. So, the traditional press release and the traditional media pitches will go away - I won't shed any tears. And many of my colleagues feel the same way.

Now here's directly to some of your points:

Blogging does disrput the MSM because it takes time away from it. If I am spending 1 hour each day to keep up with my favorite blogs and podcasts, I might not read the paper anymore or skip People Magazine or GQ or Cosmo or Travel & Leisure.

Who says hired communicators can't blog. If they're honest and transparent about what they're doing, just wait and see. It's what you said about Robert Scobel - it they're passionate about their jobs and what thye're writing about - they'll be heard! It will all get blurry after a while - who's blogging for whom.

I agree, however, that PR people (including me) are still trying to figure out how to integrate blogs, etc. into their PR routine. Maybe trying to find out how to pitch bloggers is not the right approach. Maybe it is indeed offering ourselves to companies to blog for them (since most of us know how to write well) as long as we feel passionate about their product or service. This might not work in B2B but for sure it's worth thinking about for B2C. Maybe we need to find a way to become a part of GCM. There are all kinds of opportunities!

Keep those disruptive posts coming!


by: Tom Foremski - Silicon Valley Watcher on March 7, 2006 12:15 PM
Tina, thank you for your kind words...all I'm saying is that the press release and PR in its current forms will have to change. It will take time to change, I'm just hoping to point some of you in the direction things are going.

And yes, I do think some PR people have the guts to change, but many others would prefer that nothing change and that things go on as they are. We've had to make big changes in the media world and we are not done by far.

Blogging by itself, would not disrupt mainstream media--you have to attack the business model for something to be disruptive. Search engine marketing is taking hundreds of millions of dollars from mainstream media. The blogosphere is taking a small, incremental amount.

And BTW, both cannot compete against search engine marketing. I had my electricity cut off last week for three days--blogging can't even keep the lights on :-) Unless you have something else to sell--blogging is not (yet) a profession. But it is the most honest form of self-promotion bar none! Because if you can't walk your walk it becomes readily apparent.


by: Tina Lang-Stuart on March 7, 2006 01:30 PM
Thanks, Tom, for acknowledging that some of us PR people can be movers and shakers, too. Yes, I am all for honesty and transparency and - for lights on!

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