11:30 AM

Fishwrap: Frank Shaw; TC50 and the hairdresser; Christmas arrives early . . .

Wrapping up the week . . .

. . . Techcrunch50 came and went. I didn't feel much pressure to do much coverage because TechCrunch gets all the news stories. Things used to be different when conference organizers were separate from the media.

Please see: - Issues When Media Companies Host Conferences

My philosophy is to only publish when I have something original or can add something to a story. The Techcrunch50 companies got plenty of coverage anyway. Threadsy seemed to rise up above the hubbub.

. . . I did pop into the ending reception for Techcrunch50 and ran into a lot of friends. Especially good to see was Sam Whitmore, who runs the excellent Media Survey service. Sam always has keen insights into what is going on within the media industry at a granular level among the reporters and editors.

Here's a quick interview with Sam from a year ago:

- Sam Whitmore at Night: Media Struggling with Media Formats . . .

. . . Many of the Techcrunch50 startups seem to be running in ultra bootstrap mode. Several were relying on whoever they could get to help with publicity, their hairdresser in one instance, a sister, some pals from a coffee shop. It seems in today's "free" social media world some companies think PR can be done by anyone.

. . .Some of my contacts in PR say times continue to be challenging. But there is a bit more hiring going on in expectation of better times in 2010. Retainers continue to be very humble in the $10K to $12K monthly range.

Some companies are inviting up to ten PR firms to bid on new business. That's because they can. Others are demanding as many as ten PR ideas from each firm. A new form of crowdsourcing?

. . . I continue to see lots of people in the valley looking for work or working for free hoping to land jobs once the economy recovers. However, even when the economy does recover, a lot of the jobs won't be back because there are fundamental changes going on in a wide number of sectors not just media and PR but also in software engineering.

. . . It was good to see Frank Shaw, the new corporate communications chief at Microsoft. Mr Shaw comes from Microsoft's long-time PR firm Waggener Edstrom. It's an interesting appointment because he's been involved in new/social media for a long time.

And the way he has handled various issues in the past has been text-book perfect such as this one. But that's because he is involved in blogging, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Too many corporate comms chiefs aren't and therefore they and their staff don't understand the dynamics of these types of media. You've got to be in it to know it.

I'm looking forward to some of the changes and strategies Mr Shaw will be launching. It won't be the same old MSFT, that's for sure.

- Frank Shaw's blog: Glass House

. . . I had a chance to take a look at the latest version of Microsoft's Zune HD this week and it looks great. Excellent user interface, fantastic high-def screen. Combined with the $15 per month music service it's a very nice package. If it only had a texting option it would be perfect for my daughter.

. . . I also caught up with Sabrina Horn, head of Horn Group and Todd Defren, head of Shift Communications. It's always a pleasure to talk with them because they don't spend all their time over here in our fairly insular world and they bring a wider perspective.

- Some Observations On Trends In Media And PR . . .

. . . My recent interview with Bernardo Huberman, head of Hewlett-Packard's Social Computing Lab was popular. And so was my profile of Robert Goldman, a touching and inspiring story of his efforts to save his sister.

- Thought Leader - HP's Bernardo Huberman: Studies Of Mass Social Behavior On The Internet

- Against All Odds - How A Software Engineer Invented A Breakthrough Medical Device In Bid To Save His Sister

. . . About a year ago Sequoia Ventures leaked a presentation it gave to its portfolio companies: "RIP" which called for drastic cuts in jobs and services. It quickly became one of the most hated PowerPoint presentations of all time.

One of my contacts estimates that it led to a massacre, about 50,000 job loses in Silicon Valley as others followed Sequoia's lead. Yet Sequoia was quietly continuing to fund companies. Was it a form of information warfare? That's what I thought at the time: Sequoia BS . . . and the Stepford Wives of Sand Hill Road

A year later it's time for a new presentation, imho: - Pedal To The Metal

. . . This week is Intel's IDF conference focused on developers. I'll be there at the Moscone center. Advanced Micro Devices is hosting some shadow events. I like AMD's focus on graphics performance rather than microprocessor cycles, it's a good strategy when you are up against the behemoth Intel.

AMD is a bit more nimble than Intel but will that be enough to win new market share? We'll see.

Intel's recent reorganization is very interesting. Here's my analysis: - Intel Reorg Moves Maloney Into Key Position

. . . We've been enjoying a wonderful Indian summer in San Francisco with warm evenings. Walking along Market street in the downtown shopping district of San Francisco I was shocked to see Christmas decorations were already lining the street. Up on the lamposts were large illuminated snowflakes. That is too much. It makes me want to boycott rather than shop.

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