Current Affairs

PR – North Korean style

Web site of the week has to be NK News –

Many examples of how to put a positive spin on everything. For example, the country is suffering from chronic electricity shortages. What is to blame? An inefficient centrally-planned economy? Diverting a huge portion of the GDP to the military? Absolute refusal to open the country to foreign trade and capital, along with infusions of technology and ideas?

Oh no. “It is entirely attributable to the moves of the U.S.-led imperialist allied forces to stifle the DPRK.”

The random insult generator (example above) is a joy. “You sycophantic
hooligan!” had a stange, paradoxical charm about it.

More explanation below (from the site itself).

NK News is a searchable database of North Korean propaganda. This site
contains nearly every article published on the KCNA’s website, in English
and Spanish, since Dec 2, 1996–over 50 MB of hard-core Stalinist
propaganda! And each article written in that unique and indelible style of
the KCNA.

Need help getting started? There’s a list of suggested searches to offer
you some ideas. Also, don’t forget to visit the Hall of Fame, a shrine to
some all-time KCNA classics.

Feeling a bit full of yourself lately? Try lowering your ego with the
Random Insult Generator. Then there’s the all-important Gregorian-Juche
Era conversion tool, to help you manage your busy calendar.

To find out more about this site, read the NK News Mission Statement, as
well as the FAQ and site backgrounder. And finally, don’t forget to sign
in at the guestbook.

Technology PR

The kind of thing that makes PR worthwhile

A worthy accolade for one of our long standing clients.



Andrew Smith
Object Marketing
Tel: (020) 8762 9292


LONDON, UK – 16th August, 2005 – Hyperion Essbase has been named as one of the 10 most influential technology innovations of the last 10 years by Information Age magazine in its August 2005 issue.

Hyperion Essbase was ranked in the top 10 along with Netscape, Blackberry, Google, virtualisation, Voice Over IP (VOIP), Linux, XML, the Pentium processor and ADSL.

Writing in Information Age’s 10th anniversary issue, editor Kenny MacIver said: “Hyperion Essbase was the multi-dimensional database technology that put online analytical processing on the business intelligence map. It has spurred the creation of scores of rival OLAP products – and billions of OLAP cubes.”

Mike Shelton, Managing Director, EMEA Northern Region says: “This is a fantastic accolade for Hyperion Essbase. Information Age is one of the most respected and influential magazines in the IT industry. The fact that Hyperion Essbase is seen as one of the most innovative technologies of the last 10 years is clear recognition of its importance and impact on end user organisations. Hyperion Essbase is ample demonstration of our ability to continue to deliver one of the very best Business Performance Management and Business Intelligence products available. With the introduction of Hyperion Essbase 7X last year, we made the most significant advancement in analytic technology since the company introduced the original Essbase in 1992. We’ve enabled our customers to leverage the legendary power of Essbase to perform both traditional financial analysis as well as line of business analysis, all in one product while maintaining our historical market leading advantage in query performance.”

Technology PR

Which tech PR agencies are going bust in the next 6 months?

Tim Dyson is teasing us all by predicting that a couple of very well known tech PR companies are likely to go bust in the next few months.

As Dyson says: “The firms won’t be small fry, they’ll be businesses that have been around a while and have taken steps to build up internationally. Their demise will be a result of two equal and opposite forces: a drive in one direction to go global while at the same time being driven in the other direction to be more local. These are tough pressures for medium sized businesses to take on at the best of times. The agencies I see being at risk are ones that became too dependent on one or two clients and equally a handful of their staff. If this mix changes even slightly in such businesses, the results are not pretty. Take a look at the big pieces of business in the tech PR market to move and then also at what staff moves have taken place and you might see what I mean. I won’t name names right now as I’d actually prefer it if these businesses stay alive but let’s put it this way, if they’re still alive in six months I’ll be shocked.”

So – shall we play the game of who is going to disappear?

Technology PR

Blockbuster – what were they thinking?

This one really does make me wonder. Apparently Blockbuster has made a $57m (£31m) loss in the second quarter – mainly attributed to its decision to drop “late fees” for people failing to return videos on time.

For those with a long memory, this will come as no surprise.

In 1997, Wired magazine had a cover feature on Blockbuster and why it was well aware of the (then far off) possible impact the Internet might have on their business.

I forget the man quoted, but even then, they admitted that fully 75pc of their profits were as a result of late return fees. So why are they so surprised now?

I guess what’s hard to understand is that here is a company that seemed to be well aware of the threats to its business years ago – and yet seems to have played at King Canute – for example, why on earth did they pursue earlier this year in an expensive bid to buy smaller rental chain Hollywood Entertainment?

As Nicholas Negroponte would have noted all those years ago (more nostalgia), they have been in the business of shifting atoms not bits.

It just seems bizarre that somebody, somewhere along the line didn’t notice something awry in their strategy.

Technology PR

Made In China –

Remember the days when the phrase “Made in China” was synonymous with cheap and cheerful?

Not anymore. The Friday flotation of Chinese search engine Baidu has brought back the dot com boom days to the Nasdaq. The stock more than quadrupled by the end of play Friday, instantly creating the most valuable Internet company in China. The shares were priced at $27 but opened at $66 and then soared to $122.54.

And lets be honest, who had heard of Baidu until now?

The role call of mintedness:

Chief executive, 36-year-old Robin Li, now worth close to $1 billion, easily making him one of China’s richest entrepreneurs.

IDG, one of Baidu’s earliest investors, watched the stake it acquired for $1 million a few years ago jump to more than $150 million.

The 28 percent stake that Draper Fisher Jurvetson acquired over the last few years for about $12 million is now valued at close to $1 billion.

And why does this feel like 1999 all over again?

Because Baidu is a four-year-old company that had just $13 million in revenue last year and about $1.4 million in profit. The company is now valued at close to $4 billion. For “Internet”, substitute the world China – and no doubt any Chinese tech related venture over the next 6 – 12 months will get the same treatment….

Technology PR

Google in PR own goal incident

This really is a beauty – would seem that Google are refusing to talk to any reporter from CNET for a year – because they ran a story that contained personal information about CEO Eric Schmidt – which was gathered by using Google itself!

The ironies aboud. And surely Google themselves must realise the PR damage that will be done by this – talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

More here:


Half of marketing and communications staff face burnout

An interesting piece by Joe Lepper in Brand Republic yesterday. Apparently around half of those working in the marketing, advertising, sales and PR sectors in the UK are at risk of burning out, according to a new survey.

The research, by recruitment firm Hudson UK, found that 44% of those in the sectors had experience of one or more symptoms of overwork and burnout.

The survey was carried out in May by The Survey Shop and included interviews with 107 workers, employers and human resources staff in the marketing, advertising, sales and PR sectors.

Around a half of employers and employees thought the situation had worsened in the last five years.

The anecdotal evidence appears to support this – the pressure to get more out of people for less reward is widespread – no surprise then to see higher levels of absenteeism and people leaving the industry altogether (see previous posts on the subject).

It does suggest that traditional agency business models and approaches just don’t work any more. There has to be a better way.


Nova Scotia – the book

My good chum Andrew J. Wilson has co-edited Nova Scotia, "an intriguing collection of stories, from a variety of established and up-and-coming writers, crossing all genres, with stories set in the past, present, future and parallel worlds. Some stories are very funny, some are moving, others are thought-provoking, but all of them, are a tribute to the Scottish imagination."

More here: