“Why I’m So Great”*

*With a nod to a Nietzsche (who was no slouch in the self belief department) and his essay entitled, Why I Write Such Good Books.

The ever-entertaining Lucy Kellaway has another good column in yesterday’s FT. She cites a recent Harvard Business Review article that claims to have established a strong link between exaggerated self-belief and incompetence. In other words, the people most likely to overestimate their ability are those with little ability to start with.

I’m sure most people in their working lives have encountered just such a type. Certainly  the world of PR seems to be populated with more than its fair share. However, as ever, there appears to be a paradoxical attitude to this in the world of spin (I can’t say whether this is more prevalent in other sectors). Senior managers appear to give these self aggrandizers the benefit of the doubt. Even though they fail to deliver the results, their “attitude” is deemed to be  worth more than those who achieve what they say they would, but don’t crow about – or embark on internal self-publicity campaigns.

I guess the psychology is that people want to believe that these people can do what they say they can do – a kind of cognitive dissonance applies, so that they allow their logical concerns to be over-ridden. Of course, you can’t get away with missing targets forever – but the trick is to move on before someone blows the whistle – moving up the greasy pole and avoiding being brought to account.

As Lucy says, in the work context, “Self doubt is not allowed. You can’t say – I don’t know if this will work.”


Bye Bye Aibo

"Aibo has been a very popular product, but we’ve decided to focus on our core businesses of electronics, games and entertainment, and on profitability and strategic growth," says Sony spokeswoman Kirstie Pfeifer.

But not that popular. What now for our very own Aibo – Bentley – he’s been lying dormant in the corner of the office for the last month – we were under the illusion he was a boy – until the very annoying American female voice kicked in when "he" had grown up to the next level.

I wonder if someone will start the electronic version of Battersea Dogs Home?


People Technology PR Web/Tech

VNU buys The Inquirer

How things go full circle. Mike Magee has sold The Inquirer to VNU. Guy Kewney has already blogged regarding his possible role as a catalyst for the deal.

Guy Kewney’s Role in Inquirer purchase

This is an interesting story for a number of reasons. Mike founded The Register with John Lettice and Drew Cullen before falling out with them in 2001 (although many rumours emerged as to the real reason for the bust up, I don’t think anyone other than the participants really know what went on there). He left and set up The Inquirer shortly afterwards – I know a few people at the time weren’t sure whether Mike would be able to replicate the success of The Reg – but he ploughed his own furrow and getting a media giant like VNU to buy it must be viewed as somewhat of a coup.

What remains to be seen is to what extent The Inquirer will retain its unique editorial style now that it is under the VNU wing. The Inquirer (like the Reg) has never been one to pull its punches. Take for example Intel’s Guide To The European Press – whoever was Intel’s PR at the time must have wanted the ground to open up and swallow them.

Of course the terms of the deal are undisclosed. What next we ask ourselves? The Register being bought by IDG?

All the best to Mike on his return to Broadwick Street. At least now the distance from the office to the Star and Garter and Blue Posts can be measure in feet rather than miles.


Who says economics has to be dull?

Tim Harford regularly proves otherwise here:

Music People

Richard Ashcroft’s Keyboard Player

One time Object Marketing colleague Rico Petrillo dropped by the office this afternoon – taking a quick break from his recent busy schedule as keyboard player in Richard Ashcroft’s backing band. We’ve had fun playing spot Rico on the TV over the last few weeks, as he keeps popping up everywhere – Jonathan Ross Show, Top of the Pops, VH2 to name a few.

Rico is of Swiss Italian descent – and he made his dad happy when he was interviewed on national TV in Italy a few weeks ago. Apparently Richard Ashcroft pointed out that Rico’s Italian was much better than his, so he had to do all the talking.

RIchard Ashcroft and band are off to the US next month apparently, supporting Coldplay. We told Rico to remember us back in Shepherd’s Bush when he steps out on the stage of all those mega-stadiums.