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Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Roose’

Yes, Wall Street Still Has a Big Perception Problem

Got 15 minutes to spare? Listen to this NPR ”Planet Money” clip in which New York magazine financial writer Kevin Roose gives us a hint as to why the insular world of big finance no longer appeals to Ivy League MBAs as much as it used to. In short, The Social Network is this generation’s Wall Street.


Roose says:

“The sex appeal is in Silicon Valley now. It has the…cultural cachet that Wall Street used to have…the tech industry is making things…”

That’s a key insight: tech makes things while Wall Street “re-bundles” things—at least according to popular opinion.

Younger bankers want to change all that. While all evidence indicates that the old generation is perfectly fine with being feared, the new generation “wants to be loved.”

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Can Bad E-Mail Etiquette Make for Better Pitches?

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According to New York magazine econ writer Kevin Roose’s new LinkedIn Influencers post, the answer is “probs :-/”

Roose begins by writing that Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel‘s casual emoji email response to Mark Zuckerberg didn’t just make him look “arrogant”. It also clarified that this was a conversation between equals: no “”Hope all’s well” or “love your company”—just a simple “Thanks :) would be happy to meet.”

The point is that Spiegel, in his own way, played hard to get and made himself more appealing by dialing down the excitement most startup CEOs would feel after receiving an email from the guy who founded Facebook. Instead of waxing reverent, Spiegel addressed Zuckerberg like he was just another West Coast tech guy in his 20s. Oh, wait…

It’s the rare exception that proves the “adopt a formal tone in business comms” rule, but Roose notes that it can also apply to PR pitches.

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Will Instagram’s New Messaging Service Be a Useful Promo Tool?

In a direct attempt to fight off challengers like Snapchat, Instagram announced today that it would launch a new “direct messaging” service that allows users to send pics to one another. New York mag’s Kevin Roose writes that it means you can now “annoy specific, targeted friends with your brunch Instagrams“, but there might be a little more to it than that.

The feature would have been its own app, but parent company Facebook wanted to empower users to share images, aka “moments”, without adding them to the main feed or downloading any completely new apps. Our first thought was that we could use the new feature to send this image of a perfectly named but sadly defunct local business to the very few people who would appreciate it.

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But then we realized that everyone loves I Want a Breast Pump, because “It’s Doubley Good!!!

Seriously, though…

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Do Tech Blogs Give Free PR to Silicon Valley? Valleywag Says Yes.

A couple of months ago New York magazine’s economics writer Kevin Roose asked whether tech journalists are generally afraid to write “objectively” and/or criticize their subjects. In other words, do the sites reporting on Silicon Valley residents—from Google-sized giants to tiny dorm-room startups—simply rework press releases penned by the companies they cover?

Interesting question; for one site, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

In a New York Times interview, blogger Sam Biddle of Gawker Media’s “tech industry gossip dartboard” Valleywag states that his goal is to make light of the digital world’s “lack of self-awareness” in the midst of so much overwhelmingly positive publicity. He specifically says that many other sites “[do] the bidding of the industry” they cover by hyping every single product rollout as the greatest thing since electricity and refusing to cast any related “thought leaders” in a less-than-flattering light.

Sounds a little dramatic, but he may be onto something here…

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Why Yahoo’s Summly Acquisition Was a PR Stunt

Photo via Suzanne Plunkett/REUTERSYou may have heard today that Yahoo, which is in the midst of trying to “sex up” its brand image, just bought Summly, a “news summary” app created by a 17-year-old British kid named Nick D’Aloisio, for a whopping $30 million. But was Yahoo really expanding its product portfolio, or was the company just buying a bunch of good publicity? We’re firmly in the latter camp — and we’ll explain why.

The real value of this app has to be less than the selling price, especially when it faces competitors like Pulse, Flipboard and Pocket. But the move scored the company a first-page New York Times story with the headline “He Has Millions and a New Job at Yahoo. Soon, He’ll Be 18.” Compelling, no? He’s bold, he’s young and he’s a millionaire with his own Wikipedia page. He certainly doesn’t sound like the typical Yahoo user — and that’s the whole point. New York Magazine’s Kevin Roose notes that the last acquisition to get this much media hype was Facebook buying Instagram for a whole lot more money.

So it’s all part of Marissa Mayer‘s carefully planned image makeover.

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Will Facebook’s ‘Graph Search’ Affect PR Campaigns?

Facebook Graph Search Mark ZuckerbergExcuse us for being a little skeptical about the relevance of Facebook‘s new “Graph Search” function, presented to reporters yesterday by the company’s communications staffers on demo stations that New York Magazine’s Kevin Roose calls “PR Borgs.”

Seriously, though: Why would we want to search for “pictures that my friends took in Canada” or “dentists’ offices where my friends have checked in” or “single women in Park Slope who know one of my friends and like Game of Thrones“? (OK, that last one might make sense if we were still single.)

The more we think about it, though, we feel like graph search–which really needs a new name, BTW–could infringe upon the territory of other social networks, primarily LinkedIn, Foursquare, Yelp, dating sites like Match.com and the big one…Google.

What does this mean for the PR world?

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A Brief and Terrible History of Black Friday

Black Friday We know, we know–we too plan to jump out of the nearest window if we have to hear the phrase “Black Friday” one more time. But as we scrolled through our news feed this morning we grew curious: what is the history of this horrible retail plague that empowers stores to sell lots of stuff by driving people up the wall with anxiety? And how did it come to haunt us so?

According to various trivia sites, the earliest roots of this sociological nightmare may lie with the very first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, held on the Friday after Turkey Day in 1924. Wait, you mean the shameless commercialization of the holiday season began with…a shameless commercialization of the holiday season? Color us shocked!

Retailers weren’t satisfied with these blatant promotional extravaganzas. Why? Well, once upon a time, Thanksgiving always fell on the final Thursday of the month. That Thursday sometimes occurred during the fifth week of November, leaving stores with fewer days to promote their Christmas sales.

So what did they do? They corralled their lobbyists, who convinced then-President Franklin Roosevelt to move the official date up one week. The change was more controversial than you might expect; citizens protested, and the United States essentially celebrated two Thanksgivings until Congress passed a law right after what must have been a very frustrating Christmas in 1941, officially changing the date to the fourth Thursday in November.

By the time the 60′s rolled around, Black Friday had already turned into something approaching the freakout we know today, but the name doesn’t refer to that dark holiday cloud that arrives each year to herald impending doom.

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Goldman Sachs PR Chief Dishes on Damage Control

Many media outlets have labeled Greg Smith’s investment banking expose Why I Left Goldman Sachs disappointing; some in the financial industry have gone so far as to call him a classic “con man”. That doesn’t mean Goldman’s top PR guy Jake Siewert can rest easy.

A veteran of the Clinton administration and former adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Siewert signed with Sachs earlier this year to help the firm’s principals “put the mistakes of the financial crisis behind them” and improve their company’s public image.

Mere days after Siewert’s hiring announcement, The New York Times published Greg Smith’s defamatory op-ed decrying the Goldman Sachs culture of greed as “toxic and destructive”—so you might say he hit the ground running.

Most of Siewert’s damage control efforts over the past six months have amounted to “off the record” conversations defending the firm’s reputation, but yesterday he sat down with New York Magazine’s Kevin Roose to discuss the politics and challenges of reputation management.

We won’t reprint the entire interview, but here’s an interesting tidbit on why Goldman chose to shoot the messenger:

“Why not just issue a generic statement saying, ‘Goldman Sachs is committed to serving its clients’ needs’ and leave it at that?

That hasn’t worked out so well in the past. And frankly, we didn’t know what was in the book.”

Siewert is predictably guarded, but it’s still worth a read.

PR pros: How big is the challenge facing Siewert? Was Goldman right to attack Smith?