Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for July 2003

Discretion is the better part of valor… for technology in any case

I love technology, it’s a sad and depressing symptom of working for a long time in technology PR.  Of course, the affection I have for technology regularly gets me in trouble.  Too many software upgrades, too many unused PDA’s etc. These are the daily challenges for a technology-lover.

However, sometimes, it’s better to be careful about new technology. Particularly when the information you have is senstive, which let’s be honest for most PR pros it is.

Wireless is gaining a lot of momentum, the ability to suck on a latte while you’re downloading your e-mail, reviewing documents etc. But is your wireless connection secure?

Few people I know who are wireless junkies take appropriate precautions and if you have a read of Erik Sherman’s piece in the New York Times, you’ll see just how easy it is for someone to plug into your connection. Be careful out there.

“Firing it up, I start Microsoft Outlook, connect to the Bryant Park network, agree to the terms and conditions, including agreeing to forbear from hacking, and start to download my mail. Morse is watching the back and forth between my laptop and the network. In under a minute, he pulls up a screen that contains my e-mail server, user name and password. It was that easy.”

Written by Tom Murphy

July 15, 2003 at 7:53 am

Posted in General

The dog, the bullet and the media interview….

We all know great PR involves careful planning, strong execution, strong management and sometimes a little luck.  But key to your success will be the ability of your spokesperson to rise to the media challenge.

The ongoing merger battle between Oracle and Peoplesoft is intriguing. I wrote about it before, but every day the battle gets hotter and hotter and in this particular battle both CEOs are providing exemplary PR service. Take this example:

First, Craig Conway, CEO at Peoplesoft came out with this gem about the proposed takeover:

“It’s like me asking if I could buy your dog so I can go out back and shoot it.” [Bloomberg]

To which the ever-quotable Oracle CEO, Larry Ellison responded in an interview with the San Jose Mercury News:

“I think at one point, `Craigey’ thought I was going to shoot his dog,” Ellison said. “If Craigey and Bear were standing next to each other and I had one bullet, trust me, it wouldn’t be for the dog.”


Written by Tom Murphy

July 14, 2003 at 4:01 pm

Posted in General

Moblogging… Microblogs…

 Trend Watch: Moblogging.  Moblogging is the art of posting blog entries from your cell phone, normally a camera phone, which enables you to post a photo along with the entry. It’s a relatively new merger of blogging and cell phones. They are getting very excited about it over at the Online Journalism Review.

 As a software company, Microsoft has been surprisingly slow out of the gates with the blog phenomenon. Although they have begun to promote blogging as part of some of their server products.  However, one area where Microsoft is leading the way is corporate blogging.  By my (ad hoc) estimates, Microsoft seem to have more bloggers than any other firm and they continue to get loads of ink.  Check out this story from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. For a good listing of Microsoft blogs check out Microsoft-Watch.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 14, 2003 at 9:49 am

Posted in General

Art imitating (PR) life

From Gawker: The Southampton Press reports that:

“In a bizarre echo of the Lizzie Grubman fiasco, a golf cart fashioned to resemble the publicist�s infamous black Mercedes Benz SUV by the North Sea Fire Department for Southampton Village�s Fourth of July Parade struck and injured an 8-year-old boy on Friday.”

To top it off, the golf cart drove off and the boy’s parents are considerng suing, they have retained the same lawyer as some of the casualties of the first incident.

Looks like Lizzie’s exploits are going to continue to haunt her….

Written by Tom Murphy

July 11, 2003 at 12:54 pm

Posted in General

How not to pitch a specialized story

Corporate Babble’s objective is to highlight some of the more obtuse communications-speak that takes place in corporate America. They’ve posted a nice anecdote from the Financial Times’ Andrew Hill.  Andrew once got this exciting enquiry from a PR pro:

 “Who would be the person at the FT who would care that Eastman Chemical is using Yantra’s sophisticated logistics to sell all the components of a toothbrush, not just a few commodity elastopolymers?”

Wouldn’t that just have you itching to find out more?

Written by Tom Murphy

July 11, 2003 at 10:44 am

Posted in General

RSS: what does the media think?

I try not to put too much stuff on this blog about stuff like RSS to avoid boring you through repetition. 

However Jonathan Angel, the West coast editor at Technology Marketing has an interesting interview with Mike Vizard, editor-in-chief at CRN, on how he sees RSS fitting into the traditional publishing business.

I think it’s important that we, as a profession, track how senior editors like Mike are viewing these new technologies.  Whilst much of the new technology will fade away, we need to identify the developments than can and are impacting how we communicate.

Religous wars aside (if you’ve has the misfortune to seen any of the childish bickering amongst the RSS glitterati you’ll know just how easy it is to lose the will to live) if a new technology makes communication more effective, we have to be all over it like a rash.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 11, 2003 at 10:36 am

Posted in General

Some sensible media interview technique

Michael O’Connor Clarke posts some basic tips on dealing with the media that’s worth a read.

The one thing that you can and should control: your mouth.”

Michael links to a posting by Robert Scoble over at Microsoft who has posted his own set of media tips.

“Speak slowly and thoughtfully and with short sentences.”

Written by Tom Murphy

July 11, 2003 at 10:26 am

Posted in General

We're happy to comment now

Ah the wonders of modern software engineering. The comments are back and none have been lost – I think.

Thanks to everyone for their assistance.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 11, 2003 at 8:39 am

Posted in General

Tis the season for online PR bloopers…

People.  It is time we all took stock on the online environment.

Information flows, therefore we must be careful to ensure sensitive information, plans etc. that are within our control are managed. There’s enough information out there that we can’t control, without adding to it ourselves.

Elizabeth Albrycht, who so kindly alerted me to my “no comment” issue, has sent me a link from Internet Week to another PR blunder. 

While AMD were kindly pre-announcing their product plans for the rest of the year, Auto-ID Center, a research group affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has mistakenly released documents from Fleishman-Hillard, on how to “neutralize opposition” and respond to potential privacy concerns from the public and media.

Nice. Personally I can’t wait to see the follow up on neutralizing leaked information.


Now I know that you are all dying to have a look at these documents, because I am. And of course they have been removed from the Auto-ID website, but they are still available thanks to the wonder of the Internet. Here’s the F-H presentation on Managing External Communications (PDF) and other leaked documents are available at the website of the snappily named Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering or CASPIAN.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 10, 2003 at 11:50 am

Posted in General

Sorry, No Comment

Radio Userland has decided, for no obvious reason, that it no longer wishes to take your comments. It’s not personal, honest.

This technical glitch, which was kindly pointed out by Elizabeth Albrycht, will I am sure absorb a lot of what otherwise would be productive time. I just love it when software decides to fall over.

I’m not a departing Userland employee so that removes one possibility, now I just have to nail down, 4,500 other inter-related possibilities.

In the meantime, if you are kind enough to want to comment on any of the trivia you find here, drop me an e-mail.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 10, 2003 at 11:34 am

Posted in General