Monday, January 22, 2007


One hallmark of human beings is an inability to maintain an objective stance for long. That is, irrationality is part of human make-up, and there are few Spocks among us. This is why I've always thought some of the mathematical theories that drive Wall Street are inherently self-limiting. They depend too strongly on logic and not enough on emotion.

Why am I writing this? Because here is the latest example of irrationality in investing, and it has to do with a client of ours who is alarmed at the amount of money flowing into ethanol.

It has been stated frequently enough in this blog, but let me state it again. PR practitioners should cultivate the art of standing to the side and observing human action without getting swept up in it. Our credibility is fact that we bring to persuasive argument and not hype. When something like ethanol is generating hundreds of stories, and one is sure it is a bubble, stay away from the bubble. Preserve client reputation.

How easy is this to do? When the former PR practitioners of Silicon Valley stop laughing, I'll answer that. It is never easy to suggest to a client to stand back, and it is almost a guaranteed way to lose a client or a job. Jumping on trends is a requirement of much of PR work.

But one should try anyway, it seems to me.


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