Friday, March 11, 2005

CEOs Today: A Three Part Series

Interesting roundtable last night at Stefano's apartment in the east village. Topic du jour -- what sort of opportunities and obstacles do CEOs face today which they may not have necessarily faced twenty years ago.

Obviously, such a question could fill a book, but initially this would seem to me to be a textbook double edged sword. We'll tackle the first part today. Opportunity - wise, things could never be better for new companies in America. Technological breakthroughs like the internet, conference call, and the birth of the blogosphere have expedited (exponetially) the rate at which CEOs and the companies get "out there." You may produce the greatest widgets or have the fastest computer chip, but if no one's heard about it, what good is that, right? My view on this comes from an embedded belief that marketing is the key to success. Great companies stand on three legs -- its philosphy, people, and resources. And that is exactly what you sell. It's never about product. Take the iPod revolution, for instance -- as remarkable a product as that white little gadget is -- do you think revenues would have been as high as they were without that U2 campaign? You couldn't walk across one NYC street without being assualted by those colorful ads...

And Venues - like blogs - make it easier to get the word out. Today, Fortune 500 companies are paying hefty fees to blogging companies to help them tap into this new phenomenon. Here's why, according to TBBC:
In a sense, CEOs would seem to be naturals for blogging. They tend to have strong opinions about things - and should not be afraid of blogging them. There is immense value in the knowledge they have accumulated over years in business, and the value to readers of making that knowledge accessible shouldn’t be underestimated. There’s no fundamental difference between giving a keynote speech in Shanghai in front of 30,000 people and doing a blog read by several million people. A CEO who blogs gives a human face and voice to their company, and can quash the perception that the voice of the company is in fact a fabrication made up of lawyers and spin doctors... it gives them greater visibility and levels the playing field with the big boys, allowing them to establish credibility and thought leadership...the talk-back element of blogging and the network of blogs and blog readers is often an unexpected bonus to what some may originally have viewed as merely a way to broadcast messages. Sun’s Schwartz gets this all too clearly, if the way he has used his blog to circumvent the traditional PR machine is anything to go on.
The blog drive is revolutionary because it is an integral part of the globalization process - yes, I had to say it. Globalization. The borders of commerce have never been as porous as they are in today's fiber-optically-connected cosmos. Remember, the only constant in America is change. Other advances will come and they too will facilitate the ways CEOs penetrate the consumer consciousness. The blog is just the tip of the iceberg.

CEOs Today is a three part series that will branch out over the weekend.

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