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Faculty, Media, Newsroom, social media, UST MBC

What do the best corporate blogs do well?

Target-blog2Earlier this week, friend, colleague and fellow blogger Aaron Pearson asked me to speak to his class at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. The topic? Corporate blogging. Something I know a thing or two about based on my personal experiences with this blog and the lessons I’ve put to good use for my clients.

I actually titled my presentation “Is corporate blogging dead?” I hope we all know the answer to that question. And yeah, I was having a little fun with the title. But, the fact remains that 28 percent of Fortune 500 companies have a public blog. Not a bad number. Especially considering we’re talking about the biggest of the big. What about the thousands of other blogs from midsized and small businesses out there? No doubt, those numbers are fairly large.

So, corporate blogging is NOT dead. Who’s doing it well? Continue Reading

Entrepreneurship, Global Business, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

How are “Fun” Companies Created: Google

Photo Source: Google.com

Photo Source: Google.com

Remember when Netscape, Buena Vista and Excite were our options for internet searches and we had to dial up to get to the internet? Then, we were introduced to the Yahoo yodeler and heard from a talking dolphin in the 2002 Superbowl ad touting the fact he learned to talk using Yahoo. Yahoo grew through acquisition but much of that growth was in response to the more rapid growth of a company called Google.

While giving you the history of Google isn’t the focus of this post, I think it is important to know a few facts about the company in order to understand how it grew to be, in my opinion, a fun company. Here are a few historical highlights:

1995: Larry Page and Sergey Brin begin working on a search engine called BackRub which was housed on Stanford servers.

1997: It was decided that the name BackRub didn’t quite fit the vision of Page and Brin. Their brainstorming resulted in the name Google – a play on words using the term googol, a mathematical term used to described the number 1 followed by 100 zeros. (Perhaps googol also stands for the ultimate goal of Page and Brin in terms of identifying the value of their company.)

1998: Google files for incorporation in California  They also receive $100,000 in funding from Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim which they use to set up work space in a garage in Menlo Park. Page and Brin hire their first employee.

1999: Google moves from their garage office to Palo Alto with a total of eight employees. Yoshka, the company dog, regularly came to work with the senior vice president of operations. The first chef was hired – he previously catered for the Grateful Dead. Continue Reading

Media, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

Microthinking from Microsoft: Lost brand opportunity with Windows Phone

Editors note: With the launch of the iPhone 4S today we thought it appropriate to share some insights on the mobile phone industry. This post is by Evening UST MBA student Vitaly Demin, a strategy consultant at Eames Management Group.

“The total is much greater than the sum of the parts”
-Steve Jobs

Nokia-nokia-windows-phone-series[1]In October 2010 Microsoft released its new generation mobile operating system called Windows Phone. They were just another player in the game after Apple iPhone with iOS and Google Android but they decided not to come up with a different strategy for launching their product (I don’t see much sense in keeping Blackberry in the equation at this point).

iPhone and iOS is a unique combination of superior hardware and the most advanced mobile operating system that comes from one company. Apple managed to conquer the world with this device. Android being a multi-hardware platform operating system is a different case. Google did a great job in becoming the world’s most popular mobile operating system by getting into the race at the right time and making the system free.

So where does Microsoft fit in with their Windows Phone?

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Ethics, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

Do we need a “moral operating system”?

51f180d2818ef83543affce677fe6625d4b20886_113x85Technology gives us  enormous new powers: to know more — and more about each other — than ever before. Think about the amount of data a company like Google has about you: what you’ve searched for, who you’ve emailed, your birthday, address, etc. Now consider the ethics of what a company can do with all that data – or more importantly what they should do.

Google’s In-House Philosopher (and Director of Engineering) Damon Horowitz tackled this idea in a talk earlier this year at TEDxSiliconValley. “Drawing the audience into a philosophical discussion, Horowitz invites us to pay new attention to the basic philosophy — the ethical principles — behind the burst of invention remaking our world. Where’s the moral operating system that allows us to make sense of it?” Check out his talk below, or at TED. Continue Reading

Ethics, Media, Newsroom, OCB Commentary, social media, UST MBC

Secrets are Lies

img-article---lyons-facebook-google_232825188165[1]A million years ago, while attending junior high (that’s like middle school, if you were born in the ‘80s), if students saw two people whispering to one another, someone would start yelling “Secrets are lies!”  Recently, Burson-Marsteller (“part of Young & Rubicam Brands”) found out the hard way that keeping secrets isn’t good public relations practice.

Essentially the case boiled down to a couple of media relations hacks who started pitching negative stories about Google to select media, but without being willing to reveal the identity of their client (Facebook). In fact, keeping a “secret” client represented the lesser of the ethical evils displayed in this case, since the material being promoted to the media turned out to be patently false (lies – but not secrets). To learn more about potential ethical pitfalls in the practice of public relations, read the Public Relations Society of America’s Code of Ethics.

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Newsroom, OCB Commentary

A New Year and a New Love for Google

I have just discovered www.google.com/publicdata, and I think I’m in love. Admittedly, I am “one of those” who can’t wait for the census data to be released. Yes, American FactFinder is one of my favorite websites, and I try not to go there unless I have nothing more pressing to occupy my time because I can spend hours absorbing all the fascinating data. Did you know they have a US population clock that keeps up-to-date population count? At the time of this writing, our population is 310,501,422…actually 310,501,423 and counting.

But, oh my, Google’s public data site buries FactFinder. It has fascinating data not only from our country but dozens of others across the globe! And it’s delivered in a visually compelling format. Let’s say you’re interested in international fertility rates and life expectancy around the world from 1960 to 2008. Take a look here. If you’d like to isolate an individual country, simply check that country on the left before clicking the play button. For a sobering reminder of the tremendous loss of life in Rwanda during the 80’s and 90’s, click Rwanda on the left, and then hit play. Very sobering:

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