Showing posts from February, 2014

Why Google is Smart to Use the Word Glasshole

Google surprised a few people by using the word "glasshole" in their own guide to GoogleGlass etiquette, but using the word that your critics use is actually a good idea in the age of search engines. PR professionals used to be told to avoid the negative words used by adversaries, but if you follow that advice today you have a problem: whenever anyone googles that word they find only the websites of your adversaries and you never get a chance to get your own point of view across.

I discovered this effect in 2010 while I was researching a lecture about Crisis PR. I was looking for information about the NestlĂ© Boycott and realized that all the information that I could find easily on the web came from opponents of NestlĂ© -- the same people who organized or supported the boycott. Later I discovered that there actually was a dedicated site defending the company's position on but it was hard to find because it avoided using the most common label for this action. I tell this s…

The Toothbrush Effect: Why Saying "We Provide Solutions" Isn't Enough

Recently an entrepreneur asked why investors look with glazed eyes when he pitches his startup. "I'm developing a B2B solution for integrating various technologies", begins the pitch. Actually my eyes glazed over, too. Not because it is over my head but because it is effectively contentless. Nowhere does he say what they actually do. "Solution" is too generic since that should apply to any business -- you are hardly meeting the expectations of your customers if you deliver problems.

Sadly this happens far too often. A fairly sizable tech company has a Twitter bio that says "provider of technology solutions that transform the way manufacturers create and service their products". I learned later that the "solutions" they talk about are actually software.

It's not just software companies that do this. I have seen the same problem on many websites and in many presentations. Wearing my freelance journalist hat I often have to get up to speed…