Thursday, May 19, 2022
Elon Musk of Tesla, SpaceX and maybe, Twitter, says he can no longer vote Democrat and will now cast his ballot as a Republican. That's curious because his car company is supported by liberals worried about the climate, and Republicans have trapped themselves in the lie that the last presidential election was stolen. Predictably, Musk is being mocked online. One must ask why he disclosed his political choice. He could have remained silent, and it would have been an easier PR challenge to negotiate. Musk is an unusual CEO in that he says what is on his mind without control, and he gets himself in hot water constantly. As a founder-entrepreneur he can get away with that most of the time but regulators are watching him closely, especially the SEC. He needs a PR executive who can stand up to him and tell him when to keep silent.
Wednesday, May 18, 2022
This story on the first woman to command an aircraft carrier is smart Navy PR. It highlights opportunities for women that had been denied for most of the Navy's history while acknowledging the Navy still has a way to go to reach parity. The story also points out that the female captain is not a run-of-the-mill individual. She is a standout in all she has done. (Look for an admiral rank in her future.) Of course, she is a graduate of the Naval Academy and of the service schools for officer advancement. The Navy seems to be saying any woman who applies herself can rise. That is a good message in itself.
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Monday, May 16, 2022
The governor of New York is calling on social media companies to do more in controlling hate speech. This comes after a racist white youth killed 10 African-American people in a Buffalo, NY supermarket. it is convenient to blame social media because the filth spewed online is seriously disturbing. But, did it cause the Buffalo incident? It is hard to know. Investigators are still peeling back the life of the murderer, but that doesn't stop politicians from jumping to conclusions. Social media companies are in the cross-hairs of regulation. They had better act before they are forced by the government to take control of their platforms. But, even if they curate content, that won't solve the problem. The vile speech will move from service to service then to its own platforms. It is whack-a-mole. Technology has yet to come to grip with hate speech.
Friday, May 13, 2022
Cryptocurrency holders have believed in the value of their coins and invested heavily. They are taking a beating in the market. Far from being stable, the coins have proven to be a risky asset. That doesn't stop loyal adherents who are nursing losses. They will continue to buy and expect the market to return to a more normal state. Maybe it will: Maybe it won't. There is no way of knowing. The future of cryptocurrency is murky because it depends on the power of believers to keep prices stable. There is no government backing of the currency nor hard assets to sustain value. Cryptocurrency is secular religion.
Thursday, May 12, 2022
The US Navy wants to scrap new ships that don't work, some with less than three years in service. The ships were designed to handle multiple roles but turned out to handle none of them well. It is a PR headache for the service, which must admit it built them wrong and has lemons on its hands. It is also an indictment of the procurement system. There are too many hands in the design and building of vessels and manufacturers are happy to oblige the demands. After all, it's only money and there is plenty of that in the Federal trough. Or, so they would think. The Navy's excuse for retiring the ships is that it would save hundreds of millions a year, but that ignores the billions it cost to build them. Any way one looks at it, it's a black eye.
Thursday, May 05, 2022
I'll be away until next Wednesday and won't be writing.
Boeing's Starliner crew capsule is set for another test in outer space. The transporter has been a headache for Boeing for the last 10 years with stuck valves, software glitches and communications. It is a PR nightmare but NASA is sticking with it and the company because it needs a second way to get to the international space station now that the Russians have pulled out. NASA is using SpaceX's crew capsule now and it is working well with less angst than Boeing's product. SpaceX has demonstrated that a rocket company with less bureaucracy can successfully compete in the marketplace. It is a warning to traditional aerospace corporations that their days of cost-plus contracts are over. Private enterprise can do it less expensively and more quickly. Boeing had better get it right this time.