Friday, November 25, 2022


Russia's largest tech company, Yandex, wants out of the country.  The war in Ukraine has affected its business and its stock is in the dump. Chances are good that Putin won't agree with a move.  He needs as much industry as he can get to sustain his efforts on the battlefield.  This leaves Yandex caught in an international bind, and there isn't much the company can do to resolve it.  PR and marketing can't help.  Communications at best can only be backchannel with the Russian government.  Public protest will bring the force of Putin down on the company and its business will suffer deeply.  This is a time when even strong leadership is flummoxed.  Yandex can only ride the situation out and hope for the best.   

Thursday, November 24, 2022

The Perils Of Suppliers 

Apple is suffering from labor riots at its Chinese supplier, Foxconn. Workers at a large factory with tens of thousands of employees erupted in protest over pay and being forced to live with those who have caught COVID.  Foxconn apologized for causing a pay mistake, but it was too late to reach production goals for the month. Meanwhile, Apple has a PR problem with critics of its Chinese presence gaining attention.  There isn't much Apple can do.  The Foxconn operation is much too large to move somewhere else quickly outside of China.  Apple over a period of years will need to reduce gradually its exposure to the country and supplier while navigating tensions between the US and the country.  It is and will be a hard job with multiple threats to the company's reputation.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022


The Associated Press fired the reporter who got the story wrong about the errant missile that landed in Poland. The journalist violated AP's anonymous sourcing standards in his article that blamed Russia for the missile strike that most likely came from Ukraine.  The AP places an iron value on accuracy as well it should.  Would that all media follow the same rules of getting stories right.  But, they don't have to do so, and many misinform the public regularly.  In the internet age, lack of accuracy is an international problem and not just a correction in a local newspaper.  Stories fly around the earth in minutes.  Errors compound public confusion over issues and can prompt unwanted action.  The AP rightly understands the need to get the facts right each and every time.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

The Future Hasn't Arrived 

Amazon's Alexa, the smart voice-assistant, has been deemed a "colossal failure."  It has cost the company $10 billion in losses this year alone.  Why?  Amazon had planned for the devices to produce revenue by added services and advertising, but that is not the way consumers are using them.  They are, rather, asking about the weather and the time, neither of which can be monetized.  But, Amazon is not alone.  Google's Assistant and Apple's Siri aren't doing well either.  Voice assistants are part of a future that hasn't arrived and might never.  That's a shame because they are a great idea, but the public isn't ready even though tens of millions of the devices have been sold.  Yet another product that is fated for the dustbin of technology.  

Monday, November 21, 2022

Sore Loser 

I had written previously about the importance of concession when losing a political race.  Here is an Arizona candidate who is refusing to concede.  We expected it, and it has come to pass.  The state's governorship will be in turmoil for a while, but there is little likelihood that Kari Lake will overturn the results.  She is a divisive figure and it was smart for Arizona voters to turn her down.  Lake is destroying her reputation daily and insuring that she doesn't have a political future.

Friday, November 18, 2022

A Bully Meets His Match 

Elon Musk bullied Twitter employees to get them to work long, hard hours.  They responded by quitting in droves to the point where the social medium is in danger of failing altogether. As one person put it, he didn't want to slave to make the richest man in the world richer.  Musk has met his match with Twitter, and it looks like he is losing.  It will be an expensive lesson -- tens of billions of dollars.  He set himself up for this failure by his erratic behavior and wounding tweets.  It shows that even the most successful entrepreneur can reach too far.  Musk's reputation is deeply damaged and the public relations for Twitter irreparably harmed.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

NASA Has Done It Again 

This video sequence of the Artemis 1 Orion capsule with earth in the background is yet another PR triumph for NASA.  It almost makes one forget the over-budget, troubled rocket program that was years overdue.  NASA is trying hard to focus the public on the near future when astronauts will return to the moon and set up a base there.  It will be a return after more than 50 years but with technologies unheard of at the time of the first moon landings.  NASA is counting on the public -- and Congress -- forgetting the cost, and chances are, both will in a spirit of high adventure and science.  There is competition as well.  The Chinese have successfully sent a spacecraft to the dark side of the moon and have geared up a significant space program.  The Russians can never be counted out.  Other nations as well are eagerly entering space exploration.  NASA, of course, wants to remain a leader.

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