Tag Archive: Mark Zuckerberg


magnifying-glassWhat’s the difference between pubic relations and public relations?

How about the word “ass” as opposed to “as.”

One tiny little letter in each of these cases, but a ton of difference in context and of course, raised eyebrows.

Is it me and my friends went to the movies or my friends and I went to the movies? Hint “me” is always an object of a sentence. The “me and my friends” version I hear way too many times for comfort.

Some blog posts are harder to right than others.

Make that some blog posts are harder to WRITE than others.

As I finish the process of reviewing dozens of graduating senior public relations portfolios and grading final two-page executive memos, I am constantly reminded about the vital skill associated with the attention to detail.

If you want to succeed in public relations, marketing, investor relations, brand management, advertising, events planning etc., you must sweat the details. The client’s name must be spelled write…err right.

That’s an imperative.

The Microsoft spell checker is useful, but it fails to recognize when the wrong word is spelled correctly.

Trust me the client will clobber you for even one letter being out of place or not capitalized, particularly for a proper noun. The hosting service for Almost DailyBrett is WordPress, two words jammed together with the first letter of each, capitalized. Did you note that DailyBrett is not two distinct words, but two words married to each other and capitalized?

Nike is spelled NIKE. The same is true for NVIDIA. Facebook is not FaceBook. Do you want to misspell the company’s name for Mark Zuckerberg? Trust me even after a disastrous IPO, he still has the requisite amount of nanoseconds to note the misspelling.

Did you hear about the near miss of two planes in the air over DFW?

What is a “near miss?” It’s a collision with tons of flames and falling debris.

And yet that is NOT how we think about a “near miss.” Sometimes these wrong words sound right, and yet they are still wrong.

Ever hear about an untimely death? Sure you have, but when is a death ever, “timely”?

When I was toiling in the trenches for 10 years for LSI Logic, I was once asked by executive management why we wrote our news releases, advisories, contributed articles, briefing sheets in a particular fashion. I replied that we prepared them using AP style. That answer quickly ended the discussion. AP Style is the gold standard for Journalism, whether one is enamored with the wire service’s reporting or not.

Alas, I still have to repeatedly correct the use of over ten million dollars (three AP-style errors in just one little phrase) instead of the correct, more than $10 million.

Think of it this way: the horse jumped over the fence and five is more than four. If you remember this rule, you will never get it wrong.

Who is the subject, and whom is the object. (And you thought The Who was a classic rock band)

I could go on into infinity, but I will resist the temptation.

As educators in professional schools of great universities, we are preparing our students to succeed in a brutal job environment. Public relations and advertising agencies, corporate PR shops, non-profits, events planning firms are being besieged by graduating seniors seeking out jobs, internships and even informational interviews. These newly minted graduates are looking for any and all ways to earn any amount of legal tender.

Are these students writing tweet-style cover letters? Are they writing these letters directly to the hiring manager or to a machine that will swallow them up, never to be seen again? Are they starting these letters with, “To Whom It May Concern?” Please, no.

When it comes to their curriculum vitae (if you don’t know what the Latin stands for, look it up), are students listing their academic credentials first or their directly related work experience no matter how meager? Graduating seniors need to immediately transition themselves mentally to being professionals.

resume1

Do you (student) work well with people? Are you going to tell a hiring manager just that? Please don’t with sugar on top.

What is the Return on Investment (ROI) in she or he “works well with people” statement? Why would any employer spend precious SG&A dollars for someone who works well with people? What’s in it for the employer?

A student must differentiate herself or himself. Tell the perspective employer what you have done and what value you bring to the party.

Think of it this way: the tweet-style cover letter is used to quickly (about 4.3 seconds for recruiters…but who is counting?) entice the employer to read the resume.

The resume or curriculum vita (CV) is intended to secure an interview.

The interview leads to a job offer.

The job offers lead to an HR packet being overnighted to your domicile.

Even with that plan, you still have to be ready for an employment curve ball. What if you were asked to either submit a LinkedIn URL or a CV? Which one would you choose? Think of that choice as a one-and-zeroes binary code, social media trap.

And if you don’t have a LinkedIn URL, get one pronto.

And when you do, sweat the details of your Linkedin page…err LinkedIn page.

https://www.apstylebook.com/

http://www.linkedin.com/

“If it’s too loud, you’re too old.” – Too many authors claiming credit

For years, I dreamed of freedom of music…in particular unrepentant rock ‘n roll with the volume cranked.

nikeipod

Mumsy went to Julliard. I can’t find middle C.

She swoons to Mozart, Goodman, Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and Old Blue Eyes.

Give me Mick, Keith, Robert, Jimmy, Pete and Roger…loud. (How was music even possible before the invention of electricity?).

My childhood/adolescent home was not kind and accepting to What Is and What Should Never Be (Led Zeppelin 2:2).

Now through the miracle of digital technology, all of these rockers now live within the friendly confines of my one-inch my iPod. I can play them as spirited as I want…at least for now.

Soon after the smoke died down at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Shanksville, many become increasingly concerned about individual liberties.

Would the TSA strip-search granny? Was the Department of Justice looking over the list of our library books? Was the NSA eavesdropping on Arabic cell-phone conversations with Al-Qaeda? These concerns dovetailed with the presidency of one, George W. Bush.

Soon after a new president took office, the concern was redirected against private sector capitalists, including a particular chief executive, the one with a hoodie, Mark Zuckerberg.

Was Facebook, prepping for and executing the world’s first kicking-and-screaming IPO, profiting off our freely volunteered demographic information and thus violating our cherished privacy?

Recently, I have been reading about the latest health concern raised by New York’s “Republican” nanny Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

bloomberg

Fresh off his enjoined campaign targeting sodas more than 16-ounces, Hizzoner is now taking aim at loud music via ear buds. No one else hears it, but still mayor-dearest wants to intrude. For now, he is focusing on a public service campaign warning us of the auditory dangers of iPods and MP3 players.

Deep down inside, you know he wants to regulate the volume of digital music players. Is there another way the Gotham Big Brother can save New Yorkers from themselves?

This all brings up a very basic question: When does regulating on behalf of the overall “public good” cross the line and become “tyranny?” Do we believe that “tyranny” is only the province of the U.S. security apparatus and multinational corporations? Or can tyranny be disguised as “public good” by those who occupy positions of power in our ever-expanding, taxing and regulating federal, state and local governments?

Lately, I have contemplated placing plastic supermarket bags and water bottles under my pillow. I used to take them for granted, but that is no longer the case. In a little more than six weeks, I will no longer have the liberty to carry my groceries out of a Eugene, Oregon supermarket in plastic bags, even though they are stronger and more efficient. Sniff…I am already starting to miss them because they have become symbols of a soon-to-be-lost individual freedom.

On May 1 (the same day the tanks and missiles were proudly displayed for decades under waving red banners in Moscow), the City of Eugene under party chairman…err…Mayor Kitty Piercy and her colleagues will celebrate a ban against plastic bags. We can buy renewable paper bags (the trees will give their all) from these very same stores for a nickel each, but that is not the purpose of this social-engineering exercise. Instead, this campaign is to “encourage” us to bring our own bags to the store.

What will happen to those who already proudly proclaim and pontificate far and wide about how special they are because they shop with their sustainable, renewable, organic, fair-trade, shade-grown, gluten-free hemp bags? Will they no longer be able to exalt their near-exclusive virtue? Will they smoke their bags instead, and demand that government decriminalize, regulate and tax them?

The most sinister threat on the horizon comes in the form of domestic drones (unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs). You can already buy them on Amazon and the FAA is opening up US airspace under 400 feet for their use. UAV merchants see America’s 18,000 law enforcement agencies as potential customers. Mayor Bloomberg, the #17 ranked billionaire on the planet, could personally corner the market on domestic UAVs to make sure we are all being good. Mayor Piercy could have her own drones to make sure we are not even thinking about using plastic bags or bottles.

drones

National Geographic reported that news agencies are potential customers for UAVs for “scoping out public events and celebrity backyards.” Hmmm…Does that mean the National Enquirer will be a potential purchaser and user of UAVs? Don’t bet against it.

And what precisely is going on in those celebrity backyards?

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/06/17212455-2-loud-crew-bloomberg-targets-nyc-teens-who-blast-music-through-their-ear-buds

http://www.ydr.com/nation-world/ci_22731695/nyc-mayor-bloomberg-takes-aim-at-loud-headphones

http://news.msn.com/us/judge-invalidates-nycs-ban-on-large-sugary-drinks

http://news.msn.com/us/nyc-prepares-for-tuesdays-limit-on-size-of-sugary-drinks

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Bloomberg

http://rgweb-c.registerguard.com/web/news/sevendays/29466805-57/bags-plastic-ban-eugene-bag.html.csp

http://www.eugene-or.gov/index.aspx?NID=2060

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/6/domestic-drones-hunt-gun-carriers-america-homeland/

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21571879-civil-libertarians-are-still-worried-heres-looking-you

http://news.msn.com/us/are-you-being-watched-the-future-of-domestic-drones

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/26/opinion/the-dawning-of-domestic-drones.html?_r=0

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=drone&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=4306923347&hvpos=1o1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=20224406211927834130&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&ref=pd_sl_34tzkjlobk_b

(Almost DailyBrett Note: The following is the text of my Facebook message in which I had the privilege of spending $100 to send it directly into the inbox of Facebook Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Elliot Zuckerberg).

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg:

Your company’s gracious offer, bestowing upon me (and other mere mortals) the privilege of spending $100 to send a Facebook message to your personal in-box, left me in a serious quandary.

On one hand for the same $100 I could conceivably purchase three shares of Facebook stock for $31.79 a share, leaving me with $4.63 to cover a Grande mocha with no whip cream from Starbucks. The obvious value for me would be three shares of your overhyped and underperforming stock, well below the $38 IPO price, in addition to 330 calories to my waist line.

Or I could spend the same amount with no guarantee that you would actually condescend to read my message, but maybe you will.

zuckerberg

This choice reminds me of Monte Hall’s “Let’s Make a Deal” (e.g., a popular television game show that was way before your time). The three shares of NASDAQ: FB and one mocha would constitute the equivalent of a Volkswagen bug sitting on the stage. My $100 to send a message to you would be the equivalent of the “door.” There may be a brand new Lincoln Town Car behind that door or maybe a donkey.

Okay I will go against a bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush admonition, and I will spend $100 to help FB’s top and bottom lines by sending a message directly to your inbox.

As other commentators have noted, one can send a similar message to the President of the United States or the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for free, but you (and your crack public relations pros) are deigning to permit the riff-raff to spend $100 (each time) to send a message that will actually pass under your hoodie shrouded eyeballs. I have never felt so special.

My first question: Can you give me an exclusive preview of your mysterious (“Come See What We’re Building”) software or hardware announcement this coming Tuesday? After all, I just paid you three figures…

Oh…You can’t do that. Something about selective disclosure of material information, which would get us both in trouble with the almighty Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). Never mind. For your sake, I hope this announcement lives up to the hype.

Another question: Would you consider taking my $100 and heading down to Brooks Brothers (there is one in Santana Row in San Jose and another near Union Square in San Francisco) and actually dress the part of a CEO, particularly when you are trying to raise money from investors?

What’s that? You say that Steve Jobs was able to dazzle the world in a black turtleneck, so why shouldn’t you be able to do the same in a hoodie?

Can I submit to you that Steve had a long-standing track record of success at Apple (e.g., Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad) that slightly exceeds your success at Facebook?  Yes, I know how proud you are of Facebook’s market valuation of $68 billion. Can you even imagine how proud they are at Apple with a $489 billion market cap?

My point is that Steve Jobs earned the right to wear the turtleneck. I don’t see that you have earned a similar level of achievement to adopt the same cavalier attitude toward your stakeholders…that would include little ole me.

What really confounds me is that seemingly no one from your public relations team objected to the idea of charging Facebook subscribers $100 just to write to you. Let’s see your company reported $4.3 billion in annual revenues. Facebook recorded $714 million in net income. And you are personally worth in the neighborhood of $9.4 billion with a “b” and still you want to charge your customers $100 just to send you a line?

Facebook started with the cool idea of connecting people to their friends online. You have 1 billion subscribers or one-out-of-every-seven people on the frickin’ planet. Is it cool or arrogant to charge someone three figures just for the privilege of writing to you? I will leave that to you to decide.

P.S. My check is in the mail…

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100372793

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/the-cost-of-contacting-mark-zuckerberg-steve-jobs-14966751

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2025158/facebook-lets-some-people-email-mark-zuckerberg-for-100.html

http://tvgrapevine.com/articles.html/_/misc/media/facebook-stunned-and-amazed-by-mark-zuckerberg-r2380

http://www.itechpost.com/articles/4910/20130112/facebook-charging-100-send-message-mark-zuckerberg-here-official-clarification.htm

http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000140473&play=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Zuckerberg

http://data.cnbc.com/quotes/FB

Suppose an industry staged an annual forecast and awards dinner (e.g., SIA on November 29), and virtually no one gave a particle?

Considering that I worked directly for the Semiconductor Industry Association for two years, and later for a company run by one of its founders for a decade, it is difficult for me to say this, but I must: Semiconductors are now (and maybe forever) a taken-for-granted commodity.

sleepingaudience1

Would you like some salsa with your chips?

Yes, they power every digital and the remaining analog gadget under the sun just like ground beef, chicken or carnitas are essential for making tacos, burritos and enchiladas. Everyone knows this.

So what else is new?

The semiconductor industry is going to be flat this year at $300 billion. It seems like the industry is always at $300 billion. I wrote a speech in 1996 projecting a $300 billion industry in 2000 or 12 years ago for those of you scoring at home.

One company, Wal-Mart alone at $464 billion in revenues (and growing) is larger than the entire chip industry. This is not news.

Earlier this month, the stately Economist published a cover piece “The Survival of the biggest; The internet’s warring giants” about Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google with peripheral mention of Microsoft.

What happened to Intel, let alone AMD?  They didn’t even make the cutting-room floor.

What happened to the wonders of (Gordon) Moore’s Law (intellectual property content doubling on the same-sized piece of silicon real estate every 18-24 months)? Anyone want to hear that story for the umpthteen time?

What happened to the epic tales of the fight against the evil predatory-pricing, two-headed monster in the form of Japan’s “Business is War” government/industry?

All these stories are now contained in a coffee table book coming to a deep-discount rack near you.

The “Mass Intelligence” Economist references the great technology fights of yesteryear: IBM and Apple in the 1980s in PCs, and Microsoft and Netscape in the 1990s in web browsing. The U.K. popular “newspaper” displays a map, vaguely similar to England, Normandy, Bavaria, Prussia und Dänemark.

England is the “Empire of Microsofts.” Normandy is “Appleachia.” Bavaria is “Google Earth.” Prussia is “Fortress Facebook.”  Dänemark is “Amazonia.” There are small islands occupied by RIMM (Research in Motion) and Nokia, and a nest dedicated for microblogging, “Eyrie of Twitter.” The lowly chip is nowhere to be seen on this map or in the expansive article. Intel is not even afforded a shrinking iceberg.

Some may want to dismiss my musings contending that I am only focusing on one article in one magazine, albeit an incredibly influential publication. They will say the article can be seen as a mere anecdote. These critics could be correct. However, in this case I humbly opine the anecdote represents a trend. For the metaphor types: It is the sick canary inside the mine.

Certainly, there are 250,000 Americans employed in semiconductor innovation and (some) manufacturing. With all due respect to the engineering types in particular, they are mere role players. They are throwing the screens and opening up holes in the line for the superstars: Tim Cook of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Larry Page of Google.

The chip is essential, but so is the sun. They are everywhere. The sun is there. What is commanding attention are mobile platforms and the software that makes them do what they do. Algorithms über alles!

algorithms

Rarely did a day go by in the 1990s and the post-Bubble era when the San Jose Mercury, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times (not suggesting equivalency of influence) would write another gushing, fawning piece about “The Chip Giant,” Intel. No one could accuse the media of shorting the stock.

Today, Intel is trading at $20.52 with a market cap of $101 billion. Ten years ago on this date, the company’s stock traded at $17.58…sounds like a good stock to avoid. Even with all angst, Sturm und Drang about Facebook’s IPO FUBAR, the company still commands a $28.24 stock price and $60 billion in market capitalization. All things considered, this is not bad for a company publicly traded only since May 18 and which was founded in a Harvard dorm room less than one decade ago. If only Intel could grow this fast.

Don McLean in American Pie asked: If the music would ever play again? For the chip industry, the band could start playing if the industry starts growing again; if it comes up with a new way of making chips (e.g., nanotechnology); if it spearheads a new revolution. Incremental changes won’t cut it. And staying stuck in neutral at $300 billion will elicit the same yawns but only 10 years down the road.

Silicon Valley is called “Silicon Valley” for a particular reason that was germane decades ago. Let’s just hope no one seriously suggests changing the name to “Algorithm Valley.”

http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4374705/SIA-expects-flat-chip-sales-in-2012-

http://data.cnbc.com/quotes/WMT

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21567355-concern-about-clout-internet-giants-growing-antitrust-watchdogs-should-tread

http://www.economist.com/news/21567361-google-apple-facebook-and-amazon-are-each-others-throats-all-sorts-ways-another-game

http://www.sia-online.org/events/2012/11/29/public-event/35th-annual-sia-award-dinner/

http://www.lyrics007.com/Don%20McLean%20Lyrics/American%20Pie%20Lyrics.html

One team is winning and the other is losing.

The respective IPO dates of two rival social media platforms are only separated by one year and one day, but the reception by Wall Street investors could not have been more different.

As a result I completely unfriended Facebook today, selling my remaining shares of “FB,” while maintaining and considering adding to my position in LinkedIn. The LinkedIn connection has been slightly lucrative, thank you very much.

According to the Wall Street analysts, the heavy sell off in Facebook is attributable to the company not presenting a convincing argument during Thursday’s conference call on how it well monetize mobile platforms. Closer to the heart of the matter: Facebook is not providing guidance to investors going forward, making it difficult for buy-and-sell side analysts to build their financial models.

From this humble perspective, it seems something more basic is coming into play: Schadenfreude.

There are a growing number of people, who resent Mark Zuckerberg, his hoodie, the “Social Network” and his billions. Can we simply chalk it all up to old-fashioned jealousy of those who achieve? As the leader of the free world recently said, “You didn’t build that.” Au contraire.

zuckerberghoodie

As many of us know, it all started in Harvard’s Suite H-33, Kirkland House (Isn’t Harvard private? Do the public roads leading up to the campus negate all student and faculty accomplishments?). Zuckerberg is an entrepreneur with a dream that succeeded beyond his fondest dreams as 900 million subscribe to Facebook. And with this success came private equity, in fact too much private equity. Zuckerberg was essentially forced by SEC rules to go public. It may have been the world’s first kicking-and-screaming IPO.

During the investor tour leading up to Facebook’s May 18 (NASDAQ: FB) public offering, there were complaints that Zuckerberg sported his trademark hoodie rather than standard-issue Brooks Brothers suit with the Thomas Pink shirt and cuff links. Has this man no decency?

And just yesterday Maria Bartiromo and the other talking heads on CNBC were conjecturing whether Zuckerberg would even show up for his company’s first-ever investor conference call. Maybe analyst calls are not cool enough for the 29-year-old founder and chief executive of the world’s largest social media platform. Zuckerberg showed up, but the stock still closed today at $23.70, miles below its $38 IPO price. One analyst has set an 18-month $40 price target. I will hold off in placing an order.

Contrast the disastrous performance of the Facebook IPO with a similar public offering a year earlier by LinkedIn. The latter came with virtually no investor frenzy, but the results are impressive.

LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) went public on May 19, 2011, debuting at $45, quickly jumping to $85 and closing today at $103.42. Not bad.

One key differentiator between LinkedIn and Facebook is the former is targeted almost exclusively toward business. Need to find a job? Open and populate a LinkedIn profile. Be sure to include the details of your resume (curriculum vitae), your academic background, your recommendations, your PowerPoints, your blog and even your mug shot. This URL is one-stop shopping for recruiters.

linkedin

Want to research a recruiter, a hiring manager, a business partner, a customer, just simply head to the LinkedIn search engine. In a few key strokes, you know where she or he went to college; how long she or he has held the present position and where she or he has been before. This site is a great way to do your homework and to be prepared.

Another key differentiator is your “connections,” their connections and the connections of their connections. Who do you know? How important are your connections? What do your connections say about your readiness for a job, particularly a rain-making position that benefits from a deep roll-a-dex?

Almost DailyBrett opines that “connections” are more important in the eyes of Wall Street than “friends” and “likes.” Sure, Zuckerberg has access to the living patterns of almost one-seventh of the planet and $50 billion in market capitalization. LinkedIn only has a mere 161 million subscribers and only $10 billion in market cap…and yet Wall Street better understands the LinkedIn business model. Facebook in contrast offers friends and FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt).

Most of all there is no uncertainty whether LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman will participate in his company’s conference calls. Thumbs up.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/does-wall-street-hate-facebook-192938528.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443931404577551344018773450.html

Is all the fuss about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s “hoodie” much ado about nothing or does it represent the latest culture clash between those living in God’s time zone and those residing west of the Hudson River…in particular the left coast?

zuckerberghoodie

The tissue rejection between those who actually create value by means of real innovation on the West Coast (e.g., Silicon Valley) and those who basically generate nothing but throw their money around on the east coast is not new.

Yes, Zuckerberg is originally an East Coast creature (Exeter Academy in N.H. and Kirkland House, H-33 at Harvard), but his social media company is located on the west side of Silicon Valley, not the upper west side. Zuckerberg is definitely seen as left coast…particularly to the investment banker types dreaming of their summer holidays in the Hamptons.

And yet those on both sides of the great divide with the forgotten flyover states in-between definitely need each other whether they are prepared to admit it or not. There were the days when the Silicon Valley types could virtually ignore New York unless and until they decided to take their enterprises public. And who needed Washington, D.C., which was seen as more trouble than it was worth.

That all ended when Japan Inc. decided to wage a different war against America, not with carrier-based Mitsubishi dive bombers, but instead with predatory pricing (e.g., dumping). First, the American color TV industry bit the dust. And then the US chip industry was in Japan’s crosshairs.

Silicon Valley needed to be introduced to Washington, D.C. in a big way. With the assistance of the denizens within the Beltway, the Japan threat eased and eventually evaporated in a recessionary spin. Silicon Valley lived on, but the clash of West Coast and East Coast cultures continued.

It was that region with Stanford University on the west and Cal Berkeley to the east that gave the world, “casual Friday.” And with it came the angst associated with what exactly do you wear on a casual Friday. It was simply lame to get it wrong. To many in the east, did it mean not wearing the Hermes’ tie to work or maybe ditching the pinstripe vest?

Steve Jobs was the next incarnation of Silicon Valley’s total disdain for the Brooks Brothers types in the East. He wore Issey Miyate black turtlenecks and jeans. He eschewed the podium, pinned on the lavaliere mike and held a conversation with Apple’s enthralled Kool-Aid drinkers with PowerPoint presentations serving as his teleprompter.

jobswithipad

And now there is 28-year-old Zuckerberg with his hoodie. Horrors, he wore it to meetings with investment bankers as Facebook management was making the rounds in advance of the company’s March 18 IPO. Who is this guy to wear a hoodie? Is he taunting the monied interests? Does he show no respect?

The questions that come to mind are whether Zuckerberg doesn’t get it or do the investment bankers not get it? Is one right and one wrong, and if so which one?

On one hand Zuckerberg et al. are seeking capital to compete against Google and whatever competitors arise over the years. On the other hand, Zuckerberg controls 55 percent of Facebook stock. This is his company. And maybe, just maybe, it is the buttoned-up investment bankers that need to lighten up and get with the program.

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) wants to be cool and took a substantial risk to its coolness by joining the more than 5,000 companies that are listed on either the NYSE or the NASDAQ. Now his firm has to file quarterly earnings reports, issue annual reports and even hold shareholder meetings. Are these cool?

Maybe in the end analysis the hoodie projects an image, even if it doesn’t meet the approval of the fashion snobs. Many post-market pundits seem to be engaged in Schadenfreude, snickering that the actual Facebook launch (garnered $104 billion in market capitalization in the face of a down market) was less than stellar. And yet the NASDAQ computers were tied up for hours trying to process all the buy orders for Facebook. Seems like a contraction, doesn’t it?

Or as Yogi Berra said about why he no longer went to Ruggeri’s in St. Louis: “Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304371504577406142515388550.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/beyond-hoodie-zuckerberg-post-ipo-172345560.html

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/11/why-is-everyone-focused-on-zuckerbergs-hoodie/

http://gawker.com/5848754

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/historic-facebook-debut-falls-flat-005334494.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yogi_Berra

Quick name the chief executive who was asked to serve as the opening speaker at the ultra-exclusive Davos/Klosters (World Economic Forum) powerfest last week?

And while you’re at it, ask yourself who has more to say about an entire continent’s economy, common currency and way of life than any other chief executive?

Could this be the same chief executive that oversees the fifth most powerful economy in the world with a 5.5 percent unemployment rate (the lowest jobless rate for this particular nation in two decades) and a Standard & Poors AAA bond rating (certainly nothing to be sneezed at in this economy…Gesundheit)?

The answer to this question ist Deutschland’s Kanzlerin Angela Merkel. This brings to mind the next question: Is this “skirt” the most influential chief executive in the developed world (didn’t say the most powerful) eclipsing all of those that compete in blue “suits,” white shirts and power ties? One could certainly make this argument, maybe for the first time since the Earth cooled.

merkel2

This week’s Economist and many other internationally oriented publications have focused even greater attention with each succeeding week on Chancellor Merkel. This week, the Economist proclaimed in a headline, “Merkel at the Top.” She may have to humbly concur with that conclusion as she was delivering the Davos keynote at a snowy Swiss mountain resort.

By entering into this discussion, I am not neglecting the obvious competing influence on this side of the Atlantic. There is no doubt that Mark Zuckerberg and his 800 million subscribers (third largest “country” in the world) deserves his due recognition…Does he ever wear a suit? Today, Zuckerberg’s Facebook (future ticker symbol, “FB”) issued its SEC mandated S-1 filing setting in motion the most long-awaited IPO since the formation of the Holy Roman Empire. But does a reported $10 billion market capitalized IPO translate into long-term influence?

Merkel’s Germany has already gone public (about 900 years ago), so it holds no sway over competing underwriters let alone warring stock exchanges all vying for the prestige of listing a high-visibility stock. Zuckerberg wins that competition in a nanosecond.

zuckerberg

At the same time one might ask: Does Zuckerberg directly influence the economic fate of 500 million Europeans and the future of a common currency?. He may be personally XX times wealthier than Merkel, but he does not hold the balance of an entire continent in his hands, no matter how well he understands social media software algorithms.

Some may conclude that I have overlooked the present occupant of that white house on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. Perish the thought. The power of the presidency is the presidency. Having said that, President Obama would be getting his knickers in a twist to be able to run for re-election based upon a AAA bond rating, low unemployment rate, decreasing budget deficit and increasing economic growth. He has none of these cards to play, but Merkel does…maybe that is why she is running 12 points ahead of her nearest competitor, Peer Steinbruck of the Social Democrats.

What is particularly noteworthy about the former physicist, who grew up on the wrong side of the Wall, is that she is not a horn blower. The Europeans seem to hold as many summits as the Republicans stage debates, and yet Merkel’s steady style seems suited (skirted?) for these gatherings.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy (like Obama , facing a tough re-elect) has been forced to accept the junior partner role to Merkel, ironically the Chancellor from the “Fatherland.” As Charlemagne wrote in The Economist, “It is an old tenet of European politics that the Franco-German partnership is necessary to disguise German strength and French weakness.”

Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney has criticized Obama stating that the president wants to convert America into a European-style social welfare state. Emulating basket case Europe is not a pleasant vision, but duplicating Germany’s economic accomplishments under Merkel looks mighty inviting right about now.

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gm.html

http://www.economist.com/node/21543540

http://www.economist.com/node/21543159

“I stand ready to lead us down a different path, where we are lifted up by our desire to succeed, not dragged down by a resentment of success.” Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney

Is Suite H33, Kirkland House at Harvard University the most famous dorm room in the nation?

Or maybe it is located in Dobie House at the University of Texas in Austin?

Or should we focus instead on a garage, maybe one located in Palo Alto, California?

As we struggle to escape the clutches of an increasingly stubborn economic downturn, perhaps we should be looking for a new kind a “stimulus” in the form of more dreamers, achievers, inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs.

Mark Zuckerberg wrote the algorithms as seen in the film, The Social Network, that would eventually turn into Facebook on a whiteboard in a cluttered Harvard dorm room in 2003. Today, Facebook has more than 800 million subscribers, making this social media community the third largest “country” in the world. More than 3,000 people work for Facebook and a potential second quarter IPO is in the offing. If so, it will be the ultimate ka-ching.

kirkland

Michael Dell started building and selling his own brand of computers for fellow UT classmates for under $1,000 each in 1983. There was no need for a middle man, and thus a business strategy was born. Today, Dell has $61.7 billion in annual revenues, a market cap (share price x number of shares) of $28.5 billion and employs 100,300 worldwide.

Bill Hewlett and David Packard started in 1937 what would eventually become Hewlett Packard in a tiny one car garage at 367 Addison Street in Palo Alto, CA.  To many this little garage is considered to be the birthplace of Silicon Valley. Today, HP is one of the largest technology companies on the planet with $127 billion in revenues, a market cap of $52.5 billion and employing almost 350,000 souls worldwide.

Certainly these are not the only entrepreneurs that have been successful as there are many more, some of them coming to America without the ability to speak English, but they all had the capacity to dream.

For more than a decade, I worked for one of those entrepreneurs, Wilfred J. Corrigan. He is now the fifth most famous person to hail from Liverpool, UK. No one knew him when he came to America with no income, flying his bride from the fjords of her native Norway to the Sonoran Deserts of Arizona. He worked on the assembly line for Motorola in Phoenix. Eventually, Wilf became the CEO of Fairchild; later losing the company in a hostile takeover attempt. He spent a year under a no-compete contract. And then started LSI Logic in 1981.

Wilf Corrigan, CEO of LSI Logic

The company eventually grew to $2.7 billion in revenues with 7,700 employees and made the essential processor for the two generations of the Sony Play Station. It all started with a dream. And as a result of Wilf’s dream, thousands were working directly (employees) or indirectly (e.g. distributors, partners, suppliers) and thousands of B2B customers and their customers were being served (e.g. video game players among others). Wilf succeeded, failed and succeeded again. He is part of the 1 percent that you may have read about.

As we survey the economic landscape looking for answers, there are some who believe the key lies in leveling the playing field, particularly those who achieve. As they say, no good deed goes unpunished.

According to the independent Tax Policy Center, 46 percent or about 76 million will not be liable for federal income taxes in 2011. That’s a whole lot of people for whatever reason, who are not achieving, some of which could be achieving a whole lot more. Granted, the ones who are employed are paying payroll taxes and contributing to Social Security.

What would happen if this 55-45 percent taxpaying to no taxpaying ratio was shifted to a 65-35 percent taxpaying to no taxpaying ratio under existing tax rates? What would happen if for example, 20 million more Americans were liable for federal income taxes without raising or lowering rates? What would be positive net income to the federal Treasury? If these 20 million would earn enough to pay taxes, would they also increase their own economic activity? What impact would that increased activity have on the federal Treasury, but also the account statements for states and municipalities?

After 15 years working in the Silicon Valley, I learned to believe in innovation and entrepreneurship. The net results are good products, good paying direct and indirect jobs. The ideas are out there. There are also risks. As a result, some will succeed and some will fail. That is the tyranny of the marketplace, but it is also the opportunity. We need to start listening to the conversations and ideas germinating from dorm rooms and garages. Who knows, the next Facebook, Dell or Hewlett Packard may be taking form.

And with these new ideas turned into new companies comes more job opportunities for the 46 percent that are not liable for federal income taxes.

Sure beats throwing money at a Bridge to Nowhere.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lB95KLmpLR4

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/sep/12/social-network-facebook-mark-zuckerberg

http://www.kirkland.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do

http://content.dell.com/us/en/corp/brand-entrepreneurship

http://www.cs.utexas.edu/news-events/news/2011/michael-dell-speaks-during-return-campus

http://www.biography.com/people/michael-dell-9542199

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HP_Garage

http://money.cnn.com/2011/04/14/pf/taxes/who_pays_income_taxes/index.htm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/28/46-percent-of-americans-e_n_886293.html

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2005/10/the-bridge-to-nowhere-a-national-embarrassment

“Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture a little of the glory of, well time slips away and leaves you with nothing mister but boring stories of glory days.” Bruce Springsteen, Glory Days.

glorydays

Remember the PC/Internet connectivity era?

The one that ended about a decade ago?

Remember when investing in Intel (NASDAQ: INTC); Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT); Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) was close to automatic profits on Wall Street?

Of course, you wanted to invest in these stocks and so did everyone else…but over time the world changed: Pentium processors became a commodity, just like all other semiconductors.

Microsoft operating system announcements became less-anticipated and the results less than stellar…most of all they were being used for ubiquitous PCs.

Cisco makes switches and routers. They work. The Internet works. Thank you very much…and just this week the company laid off 6,500 workers.

And Dell? Well, Dell produced a great model for inventory…How about big-time results?

If you are engaged in public relations, marketing, employee communications and social media for these four companies, you are probably singing Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days,” if you are singing anything at all.

So what is the connection between music and technology public relations?

Two days ago CNBC after-market anchors were hyperventilating about another blow-out quarter for Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), they really had nothing negative that they could say about the company as the stock reached $400 a share for the first time. Reportedly, the company sold every iPad that it made.

And then one of the talking heads asked the rhetorical question: “What happens when the music stops?”

For companies such as Apple, search engine Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), social media Facebook, cloud computing Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) and social media LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD), it is downright heresy to suggest that the music will stop someday…but based upon history it will because in virtually all cases it has to.

Ten years ago, Apple was trading at $9.07 per share. Today, Apple is listed at $387.90. Anybody remember Gil Amelio? Hint, he was the guy running the show before the resurrection of Steve Jobs. Remember all the hoopla about Blackberry’s and Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM)? The music stopped.

Ten years ago, Google didn’t exist. All the search discussion focused on Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO)…but the music stopped for Yahoo as Google went public in 2004 at $101 per share. Today the Google is trading at $606.78: Yahoo at $13.61. And just this month, the company introduced Google+, taking dead aim at its chief competitor, Facebook.

Facebook didn’t exist 10 years ago. Its eventual founder Mark Zuckerberg was a secondary school student attending Phillips Exeter Academy in Massachusetts. He was still a couple of years away from that famous dorm room at Harvard University.

Ten years ago, Salesforce.com was privately held and still going through the growing pains of a two-year old company. The company went public in 2004 at $15 per share. Today Salesforce.com trades on the big board at $149.16.

LinkedIn.com was the first social media company to go public, debuting two months ago at $45 per share and today trading at $101.02 per share. The biggest question is whether the shadow of Facebook will stomp on little ole LinkedIn, if Zuckerberg et al decide to take Facebook public.

The music is playing fast and furious for Apple, Google, Facebook, Salesforce.com and LinkedIn. Times are good. Reporters/editors/analysts/investors can’t get enough of Jobs, Zuckerberg, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google and to a lesser extent Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com and Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn.

Now imagine for comparison reasons if you were managing public relations/marketing/employee communications/social media for Intel, Microsoft, Cisco and Dell. These used to be hot jobs; not as much today…Keep in mind that a job is a job in this economy.

Ten years ago, Intel traded at $29.97; today, $22.69.

Microsoft was priced at $33.60; today $27.10.

Cisco was a $20.61 stock 10 years ago; today $16.39.

Dell traded at $27.61 a decade ago; today, $17.46.

dell

Anyone want to hear another story about Moore’s Law? How about the genius of Bill Gates and Paul Allen? Bet ya it’s a whole lot easier to get an interview with John Chambers of Cisco, but does he really want to talk about layoffs? And how many Silicon Valley-based reporters are accumulating frequent flyer miles to spend time with Michael Dell in Austin?

The point of this Almost DailyBrett exercise is to remind PR types that nothing lasts forever. If things are going great, don’t get giddy. If things are heading south, keep your wits about you. And if you have stock options in a high-flying company, start selling in increments as the stock moves upward. There are two kinds of remorse when it comes to options; the one that you sold too early…and then there is the other one.

And never lose hope. Apple was a dead company before Steve Jobs came back. But also don’t be guilty of drinking your own bath water. In most cases as Don McLean once wrote in “American Pie” there comes a day “when the music died.”

DISCLOSURE TIME: The author of Almost DailyBrett presently owns shares of Salesforce.com and LinkedIn. Decisions regarding the impartiality of my rhetorical ramblings are left to the discretion of the reader.

http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2011/07/19Apple-Reports-Third-Quarter-Results.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salesforce.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linkedin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phillips_Exeter_Academy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gil_Amelio

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