Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

The magic left the building with Jobs

I remember the moment Steve Jobs scrolled through his music and uttered those magical words – “scrolls like butter” – while illustrating the beauty of the original iPhone.

stevejobs1

It’s moments like this that you lived for, as a technology obsessed professional in Silicon Valley. And with Jobs we got to watch the Michael Jordan of technology, courtside, at his best. iPods, iPhones, iPads, the hits kept coming and Jobs made them look great.

So, it’s a pet peeve of mine these days when companies try to rip off Steve Jobs’ launch style. Not Apple’s style because the new PR machinery at Apple leaves a lot to be desired. But what Jobs created, no one else can put together, because it was and will always be classic Jobs.

Jobs in the above video is the same age as Zuckerberg is today. Incomparable!

Why “Public Relations” sucks?

Kevin Roose writes of the Applefication of Facebook PR in light of today’s Facebook press conference.

I’m sitting in the Facebook headquarters, in Menlo Park, in a room filled with the symphonic clicking of keys produced by hundreds of tech bloggers, all writing the same stories and updating the same live-blogs on identical Apple laptops.

Go on…

Zuckerberg has long departed — he was disappeared from a teeming pile of reporters and cameras and out a back door like a sitting president — so now it’s just us and the PR Borg. Oh, the PR Borg. Facebook’s communications staffers are paired up with reporters at demo stations, showing off Graph on a series of computers. The spares are milling around the room. There must be 50 of them — a phalanx of fresh-faced professionals with smiles on their faces and carefully scripted responses to our questions in their hip pockets.

These are today’s news factories. These are things I’d hoped would change with social media but frankly the hand that runs the machine continues to operate with an old playbook. And that sucks…

But wasn’t social media meant to change these things… Hold that thought.

Because no company can ever be Apple with Jobs 

I never went to an Apple event in the Steve Jobs era, but I gather that the pitch is nearly identical: the charismatic founder, the well-paced presentation, the subtle way that certain media outlets are subtly given preference. (This time, major news outlets — this one not included — were given off-the-record briefings about Social Graph.) It’s all drawn from a playbook that was developed a decade ago and has been used to transform a smallish computer company into the largest corporation in the world.

Not so fast. This playbook copied by every large company from Amazon to Facebook forgets three key elements for this communication to work: killer product, charismatic founder, real user values.

The magic with Steve Jobs was his effortless communication. A passionate user himself whose demos communicated his wonder around Apple products that truly changed the way we interact with technology.

Yes, Apple had their PR machinery but the difference was Jobs.

  • The difference was in backing up those missives by publicly sparring, evangelizing and winning over developers or journalists when they called him on it.
  • The difference was a holistic approach at communicating openly to users by treating them as adults.

Wasn’t that the utopian goal of social media? To help companies talk one-on-one with their users. Instead here we are, still mass producing press releases around giant product announcements, trying to reach the lowest common denominator at the lowest possible price. In some cases, at the ridiculously low price of $100.00!

Welcome to the future of social media communication.

[Disclosure: I own public stock in Facebook, I do not own stock in Apple. This blog holds my my personal thoughts on all things marketing and communications since 2006.]

Filed under: Best-of, Facebook, Public Relations, Social PR, , , ,

9 Responses

  1. At the Facebook event there were lots of press writing up their stories. However there were lots of good reporters there. I can tell you that I was clicking signal not noise at SiliconANGLE.com. I had a story up in 15 mins that ended up being the final assessment of the event, it’s impact and more. Smart money reads SiliconANGLE for what’s it means not what ‘s and who’s hot..

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  2. Reblogged this on Marketing & Innovation and commented:
    today’s selection is …
    LinkedIn’s Mario Sundar’s piece is, despite its title, not just about Steve Jobs, it’s about the way that PR is done, and the fact that Social Media wasn’t meant to become what it is now. He describes a PR exercise by Zuckerberg and Facebook officials which lacks both the lustre and pizazz of Apple’s classic keynotes. I am not an Apple admirer I must admit, even though I own Apple products and acknowledge that they are beautiful products, but I’m not in synch with the philosophy behind Apple. Yet, Jobs’s keynotes were undoubtedly personal and performed with style. What is most annoying is indeed, as Sundar remarks, all those who try to mimic Jobs’s methods… not always with great success. As pointed out by Herman Mellville: “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.

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    • Mario Sundar says:

      Love the Herman Melville quote.

      I think there’s a way for Zuckerberg or Bezos to be their own man and communicate like they do.

      As a wise man once said: “Good artists borrow, Great artists steal.”

      Like

  3. Nice post and agree PR machinery today is too much pablum, press junkets, regurgitated bullshit

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  4. blizzerdz says:

    Great post :D I am a huge apple fan, so I reposted it to my website. Here is the link. It links directly back to you :D http://www.faceit-norge.com/post/39136/magic-left-the-building-with-jobs-mario-sundar

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  5. Casey Govero says:

    Jobs had something most people lack. He had vision and understanding of where tech should go. He had a strong business direction and the ability to lead those directions based off of his visions. This is something more CEO’s and business leaders need. They’re often reacting instead of forging their own path.

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  6. [...] cet article de Mario Sundar de LinkedIn qui, malgré son titre, n’est pas uniquement centré sur Steve Jobs, mais plutôt sur la [...]

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