Tainted, Shamed and Unrepentant?

I was at a Tech Conference recently and I enjoyed an entertaining session about reputation management.  The speaker was expert and erudite, one of his strongest takeaways was whilst you can mitigate somewhat how your reputation is seen reputation management won’t change the fundamentals. If you are a mean company who only puts up with customers and really thinks we are all there for your exploitation no amount of reputation management can fix that.
We have seen recent examples where very public mismanagement of self inflicted wounds rapidly developed into a social media circus. As I type we are witnessing the well deserved public destruction of the owner of the LA Clippers. That a curmudgeonly old coot who was “dating” a mid 20s gold digger could be taped by her saying bad things about the very people of color who have made him rich and successful is interesting…but this guy has been found guilty on several occasions of racial discrimination in property letting. That’s a serious offense which he has been fined for. It happened before social media so that apparently gets a pass. If we are going to hold folks like Donald Sterling responsible for socially foul actually illegal acts of discrimination he should have been drummed out of the NBA years ago.
An even more spectacular example of reputation management not being enough to cover real sins happened last week when an unidentified genius at the New Your Police Department asked the public to post pics of them interacting with members of the police.  The only people surprised by the avalanche of pics of police people beating up abusing and generally manhandling members of the public they were supposed to be serving and protecting were the police themselves. It’s shocking that they honestly though that we the people might want to post smiling pics of happy citizenry with jovial cops.
I live in SoCal where the police are what amounts to an occupying army. There are daily stories of the acts of abuse,stupidity and over reach perpetrated by the local police on we the occupied people. Yesterday I watched from the sidewalk as two motorcycle cops in perfect uniform complete with reflective sunglasses purred in perfect harmony along one of my neighborhood streets. As they past me and my dogs the both glanced (again in harmony) in my direction…it was a frankly scary moment (and I’m a middle aged white guy). The SoCal Cops don’t ask questions they empty their guns….as do the New York Cops. The difference is that nobody in the corridors of power in SoCal is dumb enough to pull the same stunt…they know they are widely loathed and are apparently at peace with that.
The problem with social media (as has been discovered by several dictators who have been recently over thrown by their people who used it to inspire, inform and organize) is that it’s not owned or controlled by the government. It’s not possible for the mayor to lean on Facebook or Twitter to play down a story or bury a lead. In the same way that.
In the same way that a bad plumber or purveyor of tainted meat can try to mask their bad acts with carefully placed positive reviews so our governments and their hench-folk can attempt to put the social Jin back in the bottle…fortunately for us it’s already too late for that.

Your New Cable Company : Google


The US is an interesting place. When I first started visiting I was always somewhat confused to find that things like banks, police and schools are run at a surprisingly local level. In the UK there are really only 5 banks serving all 60 million people in the US there are close to 7,000 banks serving 300 Milion. The same goes for TV and radio stations many more per city than the UK equivalents. Other areas in there is much less choice. You are probably limited to perhaps a couple of cable companies who have of In recent years we have seen the cable giant’s go from just being the gatekeepers for TV to essentially controlling out TV telephone and Internet with all the premium content that goes with it.

What is justifiably scaring the cable guys to death is the end user driven movement to “cut the cable”. Folks are just sick to death of paying hundreds of dollars a month to cable giants for content they don’t want and never use. Whilst it’s been reasonably easy for folks to figure out that they really don’t need a home land line (I know literally nobody with one…everyone lives on their cells) historically it’s been harder to dump the cable company in favor of Netflix Amazon Prime and Hulu+ when it’s the cable company providing online access.

Here’s where Google could play a role. For a good while there have been various rumors circulating that Google has been buying up “dark fiber” (that’s not a bond villain) The theory is that they want to get into the business of supplying high speed internet access to households and WiFi to entire cities. As with everything tech San Francisco will get first bite at the cherry but here are 34 other cities in addition to the couple already hooked up who appear to be on the fast track to get Google Fiber. Add to that the ChromeCast device which let’s users enjoy premium services like Netflix on their big screens without any cable company interruption it’s not too hard to see an emerging plan. If you wanted to get a little further ahead of the curve imagine a world where the searches you made on Google are used to individualize content or commercials to every device you run on your Google powered wifi network. Once again Google offers us cool and creepy in the same package. The difference here is that this could save the average household thousands a year with only the cable companies feeling any pain.

Google+ Minus one Boss


It’s too easy to make Google+ much like the kid with bad breath who really wants to get into the cool kids dorm. The popular ding against it is that people go there to create a presence then never go back. The reason it gets any traction is simply put it’s a Google product and if you use many or most of the other parts of the Google empire you pretty much have to have a G+ presence. Google+ has grown rapidly (over 500 million “users” each month) but with the kind of growth that the IRS might claim when they say they “impressed and surprised” by how many people actually filled tax returns by April 15th…We have to do that why be surprised?  Having said that nothing says you have to go there and actually do very much.The majority of people who I know use it, use it as an automatic second or third post location after Facebook and Twitter. Continue reading