Mario Sundar

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

What’s in a title?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.”

–From Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

A job title on the other hand is intended for a specific purpose and even the slightest difference may cause confusion. As recent reactions to my MarketingProfs post — Top 10 CMO Blogs shows, Chief Marketing Officer is definitely one such title.

The genesis of the post was Seth Godin questioning the necessity/existence of the CMO. Combining my reaction to that post with my interest in corporate blog rankings, I unearthed a set of 12 CMO blogs from among the 248 CEO blogs on the new PR Wiki. However there were a few interesting reactions to the listing itself, which I thought I should highlight. Read on…

One thing: I’m not sure I agree with you, Mario, that it’s important for all CMOs to be blogging to the degree that these guys are. So — does a CMO need his or her own blog? — Ann Handley

Ann, thanks for kick-starting an avalanche of reactions. I think CK very well summarized my beliefs regarding C-suite execs blogging:

I do think it’s important for CMOs to blog. But I do agree with Ann that commenting on others’ blogs is equally important.

#1: Gets us close to our markets: I want to see more MDs, MVPs and CMOs interacting with their markets through blogs/wikis/etc.

#2: Interacting with other marketers: Sure there’s much that can’t be discussed, but a lot can–and a rising tide lifts all boats.

#3: They are the voice of the company and to that end, they are an example. That’s not to say have a blog for the heck of it, but get out there and lead by example. — CK

Marianne from the Resonance Partnership Blog‘s comments summarized a few other opinions:

Not meaning to be cranky here,because I really find your list of CMO blogs useful and interesting, (and all of your other lists also), from a research standpoint;

BUT, I also think that lists of “top” whatevers should have some relative meaning.

If there are 12 CMO blogs, what exactly is the meaning of being in “the top 10 CMO” blogs?

Were #11 and #12 just too awful to discuss publicly?

Thanks, Marianne, for your passionate comments. I agree with you that top 10 doesn’t necessarily signify much when there are only 12 blogs, but I think their popularity can be compared with regards to their Technorati rankings. It’s also an incentive for the rest of the C-Suits to start blogging.

Actually here are the other three blogs that didn’t make the cut and they are good:

#11: With a Technorati ranking of 1.195 million each; Robert Amberg & Tiger Beaudoin.

#12: With a Technorati ranking of 1.669 million; Steen Enegaards

Let’s not forget that we’re tracking the emergence of the corporate marketing blog and things are bound to get crowded a few years from now. I assure you, the rankings will be more fun then!

Related thanks to Lewis Green, Antenno Blog, Mike Dunn, Ed Lee, Barret Niehus, Michael O’Connor Clarke, Ellen Weber, David Daniels, John Caddell, & numerous others for joining the CMO conversation.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Flash Forward (Nielsen: 99% Wrong?)

What’s common among YouTube, MySpace, and Google Video? (3 of the biggest rising stars in the web firmament)

Ans: A technology derided by many, including Jakob Nielsen, is turning out to be the darling of the world-wide-multi-media-web 2.0.

Full Disclosure: As somebody from a corporate marketing agency that dabbles in flash design, I’ve got to say, times-are-a-changing in this age of the broadband internet. Flash has circumvented its inherent drawbacks (superficial content, cost concerns, complexity), by becoming the medium of choice for most audiovisual content on the web.

Here are 4 links commemorating Flash-mania!

1. Flash: 99% Bad: Jakob Nielsen’s paints Flash Bad, but reading the essay will show how the times have turned some of his theories upside down. Fascinating!

2. Flash turns 10: Wired News article on the occasion chronicles the rebirth

3. Top 10 Flash Designers on the planet…: and what they think lies ahead

4. Flash of Brilliance?: A flash presentation that is self-importantly titled “The Best Flash Animation in 2006”. Enjoy 2 minutes of pure inventive, ingenious, and creative animation.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Purple Cowasaki and 5 other ponderables

As most bloggers do, i’ve decided to enlist my 6 favorite links of the past month around the topic of marketing/advertising/pr.

First off, for those of you fans of Guy Kawasaki and Seth Godin you’re in for a 10-question treat. Guy interviewed Seth this week on his blog and the result was a marketilicious treat.

Check out why Guy thinks he’s a purple cowasaki here.

Here are a 5 more interesting links that are worth pondering:

(i) Eric Kintz – “How real is Consumer Generated Media?“: 100 million videos/day, 50 million new blogs, 75 million music lovers… where would you rather be as a marketer?

(ii) Tara Hunt – “Fear of Unfamous“: What’s the common anxiety for most creators — catering to their target audience at the expense of creativity?! Read more about how to beat the blogging blues…

(iii) Jeremiah Owyang – “Mainstream Marketers figuring out Blogging“: Has your Fortune 500 company added blogging to the traditional marketing mix. Or are they gonna be late to the party…again?

(iv) Steve Rubel – “Is Steve Jobs eyeing the corporate podcast market?“: As a corporate podcaster myself, this is great news since it adds credibility to the podcasting industry itself.

In related news, check out an innovative primer on podcasting by Ralston360 (via Church of the Customer).

(v) Doc Searls – A 95′ essay on “The New Marcom Game” probably before the Cluetrain. Shows you how some of the ideas originated. Fascinating & prescient. A must-read.

Filed under: Uncategorized

The Anti-Marketing Event

The Event:
Yesterday’s event in Menlo Park was a great opportunity to find out what’s brewing in the minds of the best-of-the-best from tech/marketing/pr in the Silicon Valley. Some of the old friends I met: Shel Israel: Always the “life of the party“, Shel is embarking on a tour-de-globe to craft his new book “Global Neighborhoods“. I look forward to hearing about his experiences once he returns in October. Wishing Shel, the very best!

I also got a chance to meet Tracy Sheridan from Waxxi — the interactive podcasting service, and of course, Jeremiah.

Here are some of the cool new friends I made at this event: Damon Billian (Community Marketing), Jeremy Pepper (PR), Jackie Danicki (who brought together this event), Chris Heuer and Kristie Wells (from BrainJam) , Alan Young, Meredith Dodge, and Ramit Sethi (PBWiki)

The Anti-Marketer:
Jeremiah had a neat write-up this morning on some of the questions we new-age marketers face from the tech-side. There seems to be a preponderance of thought that all “marketers are liars” (Thanks, Seth). Damon, Jeremiah and I, made the case that marketing is changing, re-inventing itself, and we hope to be at the forefront of that. What do you say, fellow marketers?

The debate was very similar to my earlier post responding to Doc Searls’ assertions that Marketing/PR is gonna die. My answer is Nope. Aint’ happening, but marketing IS changing dramatically, and we new-age marketers are glad it is. Also, my second post on MarketingProfs – Top 10 CMO blogs has 10 Comments. So feel free to participate in the discussion on what really is a CMO blog.

Event Pics:
Before I forget, here are Jeremiah’s pics of yesterday’s event. For more, check out all the event pics at Flickr.

Filed under: Uncategorized

The State of the C.M.O Blog

MarketingProfs Daily Fix post

Alrighty then… I’m back at MarketingProfs Daily Fix with my next post — one that combines my two interests: Marketing and Corporate Blog rankings.

I’ve ranked the Top 10 Corporate Marketing Blogs out there in the blogosphere. I was also excited to find our good friend and fellow MP Daily Fix Blogger – Eric Kintz come in at #3. Awesome, Eric. Way to go!

Apart from that, I’ve also initiated a discussion around the topic of C-level executives blogging, so just head over there and participate.

Click here to join the discussion.

Filed under: Business Blogging

Top 10 Geek Brands

Culled from Business Week – Interbrand’s Annual Top 100 Brand Rankings (via Yahoo! Biz):

I was able to gather an assortment of 13 geek brands (read high-tech/software/hardware/etc…) within the top 100.

Special Mention:

#13: Amazon (Rank 68)

#12: Yahoo (Rank 55)

#11: Ebay (Rank 47)

…and now for the Top 10 Geek Brands on the Planet:

#10: Apple (Rank 39)

#9: SAP (Rank 34)

#8: Oracle (Rank 29)

#7: Dell (Rank 25)

#6: Google (Rank 24)

#5: Cisco (Rank 18)

#4: HP (Rank 13)

#3: Intel (Rank 5)

#2: IBM (Rank 3)

#1: Microsoft (Rank 2)

Filed under: Uncategorized

Blogosphere Smackdown – Aug 06

Well, it’s here already. The Blogosphere Smackdown of the month between traditional journalists (who sensationalize) and bloggers (who question that)… and this smackdown involved Digg too. So, here are the juicy details:

The Business Week Smackdown
Contenders: Journalists vs. Bloggers
Time Frame: In Progress


At 29, Rose (read Kevin Rose — Digg) was on his way either to a cool $60 million or to total failure. So far, Digg is breaking even on an estimated $3 million annually in revenues. Nonetheless, people in the know say Digg is easily worth $200 million Business Week

Business Week Cover: “How this kid made $60 million in 18 months.”

$3 million in revenues and they’re breaking even. That means no meaningful profits. That’s the first hint no one has made $60,000,000. Their gross revenues aren’t even anywhere close to that number. And let’s leave out the “people in the know say it’s easily worth” fantasy numbers. And certainly don’t use those numbers to do the math that makes the cover Jason Fried

There is a word for this kind of business journalism, and it is: awful. The reader has no idea who these “people in the know” are; they could easily be people associated with the company who have an interest in inflating its worth Scott Rosenberg

If you like web celebrity smackdowns check out my earlier piece: Top 5 Blogosphere Smackdowns.

Filed under: Business Blogging

Gates takes Apple bait!

I’m not one for hype but I do find it fascinating if a forecast (as conspiratorial as it could be) turns out to be rather prescient. Case in Point: Many of you may have read that Microsoft is getting into the crowded mp3 player market with the launch of their Zune brand.

Microsoft says it’s a “brand” and is thinking about “‘seven or eight’ wireless scenarios” that they could possibly enable on the Zune, some of which are browsing other users’ libraries, buying and downloading songs w/o a PC and viewing a “digital locker”.

It all started w/ Steve Jobs’ baiting MS:

The problem is, the PC model doesn’t work in the consumer electronics industry, where you’ve got all these companies and some does one thing and another does another thing. It just doesn’t work. What’s going to happen is that Microsoft is going to have to get into the hardware business of making MP3 players. This year. X-player, or whatever.

And its true now…An iPod killer from Microsoft? Well, early prognostications yield insight into the possibility that the hunter may become the hunted. What? Why?

Chris Siebold from Apple Matters wrote (in Jan 06) a prescient piece “Want to Marginalize the iPod? Ask Steve Jobs How?” where he states that Microsoft’s foray into mp3 players may be a tad difficult to succeed even for the mighty MS.


If the only thing that is required for Microsoft to decimate the iPod is a Microsoft branded mp3 player then the future is bleak. That assessment is a little too dark. Steve may have made the path to iPod irrelevancy seem straight enough but, if Microsoft takes the gamble, they will surely find the trail full of blind turns, deadly snakes and crumbling footholds.


The logistics, of course, won’t be problematic for Microsoft. They have scads of cash for development and other associated manufacturing costs. Rather, the issue would be with those who already manufacture digital audio players and license Microsoft’s DRM. Suddenly, these manufacturers would find themselves competing directly with Bill Gates and his well-paid minions.

Chris then goes on to conclude that (i) “With this realization, we now see Steve’s comment not as a roadmap but as bait.”, and (ii) that in this scenario manufacturers would naturally choose the market leader Apple over MS, thereby turning the tables on an erstwhile PC giant. It’ll be interesting to see if this forecast will play out exactly as envisioned, but it does make for some interesting drama.

Wow! It’s also mighty impressive to think that tech giant Steve Jobs went all Sun Tzu on Bill Gates, with his strategy. Bring it on… The war of the DRMs is on!

Read Chris’ entire article here and don’t forget to read the comments section. Super-interesting.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Big Fat Geek Party – 080706

08..07..06..Well, that’s not the countdown to the party, rather the day/time. Jeremiah is helping spread the message about another Big Fat Geek Party this coming Monday (August 8th) at 06:00 PM PDT. If the previous party was any indication, this one’s gonna be as BIG and FAT and GEEKY if NOT GEEKIER.

So if you’re in the Bay Area and wanna hang out with the web-geek crowd, then join us

Details posted by Jeremiah Owyang & Jackie Danicki:

Sign up on

British Bankers’ Club
1090 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, California 94025
6PM -?

Hope to see some of you there.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Yahoo! Corporate Blog – The Future?

In keeping with my latest obsession – Corporate Blogging, I give you — Yahoo’s spankin new Corporate blog. It looks like Yahoo!’s design team has reinvented the look-and-feel of the traditional corporate blog giving it a refreshing look with the Yahoo! palette (Yellow, Purple, etc…).

Kudos to “Paul Stamatiou for building this site, Annette Leong for designing it, Richard Morgenstein for shooting its mastheads”, and giving it a standout look-and-feel that dwarfs similar attempts by other corporations. Check out some of the initial reactions including Michael Arrington’s.

If you’re thinking — oh! no, not another corporate blog, Paul assuages your concerns:

I present to you Yodel Anecdotal, the corporate blog for Yahoo!. So I bet you’ve got flashes of Dell’s One2One corporate blog floating around and thoughts pondering whether Yahoo! already has a similar blog. Well I’m here to tell you that Yodel Anecdotal is completely different.

So how is Yodel Anecdotal different from the other corporate blogs on the block?:

Yodel Anecdotal is not the type of blog you visit to check if there’s a new API for that JavaScript library you so dearly love nor is it the kind of blog you go to get info on the company’s earnings reports. It’s what Yahoo! is all about – the culture, the traditions and some dabbling of current hot topics in the general tech realm.

You can also check out a snapshot of the process his team underwent in creating the web atmosphere for the blog. Check out Paul’s post here. Without further ado, run over to Yahoo!’s new official blog: Yodel Anecdotal!

To refresh your memory, my latest Top 10 Corporate Blog rankings placed Yahoo!’s erstwhile corporate blog at #3 and I wonder where Yodel Anecdotal will take them. Stay Tuned to Marketing Nirvana for the next version of my Top 10 Corporate Blog rankings. Wonder if Yahoo! and Dell may sneak in?

Filed under: Business Blogging, Miscellaneous

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