SiliconANGLE http://siliconangle.com Extracting the signal from the noise. Sat, 01 Aug 2015 04:58:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.3 Wikibon CTO urges caution over 3D XPoint memory tech http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/08/01/wikibon-cto-urges-caution-over-3d-xpoint-memory-tech/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/08/01/wikibon-cto-urges-caution-over-3d-xpoint-memory-tech/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 04:58:12 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=240954 Intel Corp. and Micron Technology Inc., set the IT world abuzz this week when they unveiled their new 3D XPoint memory tech that offers up to 1,000 times the performance and endurance of regular NAND flash. The companies are touting 3D XPoint as a “breakthrough in technology”, but big question marks remain over its ability to surpass DRAM, NAND flash and processor chips in the enterprise, writes Wikibon CTO David Floyer in his latest piece, “Intel and Micron take the Plunge with Non-volatile 3D XP”.

3D XPoint is being lauded by its creators as a “new class of memory tech,” but Floyer urges caution, saying that Intel and Micron will need to generate significant volume demand for the product if it’s to succeed in dislodging conventional memory technologies.

In their announcement, Intel and Micron said they would initially target 3D XPoint at high-performance SSD storage in the data center. However, 3D XPoint is unlikely to become a replacement for NAND Flash for the forseeable future, unless the companies can produce it at a significantly cheaper cost. As such, Floyer doesnt expect the technology to surpass Flash in the enterprise IT market any time soon.

Instead, 3D Xpoint’s best prospects for success seem to be as a replacement DRAM, starting in consumer products, where its power efficiency makes it a far superior option, Floyer writes. According to Floyer, the most likely use case for 3D XPoint will be in mobile devices and wearable tech, where it could significantly improve the battery life of such gadgets. Even so, these gains would need to be substantial enough to justify rewriting operating systems to take advantage of 3D XPoint’s non-volatile qualities.

Floyer says that ultra-small devices and military applications the most likely volume market for 3D Xpoint, as everything can be manufactured in a single microchip. However, he warns that the time to volume in these markets would take at least five years, if not longer.

One key question that could affect all this is whether or not Intel will allow 3D Xpoint to be used with ARM processor chips. On the one hand, Intel could decide to keep the tech exclusively for its x86 chips and take one last crack at penetrating the mobile market. However, Floyer believes that such a strategy would almost certainly fail. As such, Intel may well decide to let Micron provide 3D XPoint on ARM processors and go after the mobile space alone.

What with so many uncertainties at the moment, Floyer recommends enterprise professionals take a “wait and see stance”. Everything depends on whether or not 3D XPoint can gain traction in the consumer and/or military markets first, the analyst argues. If and when that happens, enterprise adoption would likely follow 2-3 years later.

Floyer’s full report is available on the Wikibon Premium Website.

]]>
http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/08/01/wikibon-cto-urges-caution-over-3d-xpoint-memory-tech/feed/ 0
Microsoft investment helps push Uber valuation up to $50 billion http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/microsoft-investment-helps-push-uber-valuation-up-to-50-billion/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/microsoft-investment-helps-push-uber-valuation-up-to-50-billion/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 22:12:35 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=241252 Despite all of its regulatory headaches and almost being involved in a new French Revolution, ride sharing company Uber Technologies Inc has continued its meteoric rise as one of the most disruptive services in recent history, and now sources speaking to The Wall Street Journal claim that the company’s valuation now exceeds $50 billion, matching Facebook’s record valuation as a venture backed startup in just six short years.

Sources told WSJ that Uber has just closed its latest funding round for $1 billion, bringing its total funding up to $5 billion. Companies said to be included in the investment round include Microsoft Corp and Indian media company Bennett Coleman & Co, fulfilling Uber’s plans to forge more high-value technology partnerships and expand its coverage outside the U.S.

While Uber may be the hot tech company of the moment, it has also been diligently planning its future, which could include the purchase of an entire fleet of self-driving cars. A Tesla Motors board member claimed earlier this year that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said he would buy 500,000 self-driving Tesla cars if the company managed to build them by 2020.

While this could have been an offhand comment by Kalanick, self-driving cars could pose some serious competition for ridesharing services like Uber in the not too distant future, and the company could follow the example of fellow $50 billion club member Facebook, whose motto seems to be “If you can’t beat ’em, buy ’em.”

Regarding its rumored valuation, an Uber spokesperson said, “We aren’t commenting on additional speculation.” Microsoft and Bennett Coleman have also not confirmed their involvement in Uber’s recent funding round.

Image courtesy of Uber Technologies Inc
]]>
http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/microsoft-investment-helps-push-uber-valuation-up-to-50-billion/feed/ 0
Telcos challenged by transition to Cloud | #HPDiscover http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/telcos-challenged-by-transition-to-cloud-hpdiscover/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/telcos-challenged-by-transition-to-cloud-hpdiscover/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 22:00:24 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=240610 With the “ITification” of telcos an ever-present hot topic in the industry, Hewlett-Packard Co. continues to address the needs of the communications and media industry.

“We’re putting a bunch of assets together to go after this business,” Saar Gillai, SVP and GM for HP’s Communications Solutions Business, told theCUBE, SiliconANGLE’s Media production team, at HP Discover 2015 in Las Vegas. “It’s a big business for HP, a big opportunity.”

Telcos challenged by decreasing ROI

According to Gillai, telcos have built good solutions and good networks over the past two decades but are now challenged by decreasing ROI. Outsiders, such as WhatsApp and Apple, monetize telco services without payment to the provider, and the explosion of bandwidth usage by consumers requires the investment of more resources for the same or less return.

The solution, according to Gillai, is to move into the Cloud environment. However, “You have to change the whole paradigm,” he said. “It’s not that different to what’s happening in Enterprise, but there are a lot more constraints. This is not a one type fits all, this is about building solutions with our partners for our carriers who ultimately have the final choice in how they want to build it.”

As part of the Open Platform for NFV Project, HP has strong partnerships with other players that are going after the telco business, including Brocade, China Mobile, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, Intel and Nokia, as well as 150 or more independent software vendors writing apps for this area.

“Carriers buy solutions; they don’t buy boxes,” Gillai told theCUBE. “We believe if we have a vibrant, open eco-system, it will help everybody.”

Watch the full interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of HP Discover Las Vegas 2015.

Photo by SiliconANGLE

 

]]>
http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/telcos-challenged-by-transition-to-cloud-hpdiscover/feed/ 0
IONU says it has a better idea about data encryption http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/ionu-says-it-has-a-better-idea-about-data-encryption/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/ionu-says-it-has-a-better-idea-about-data-encryption/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 21:00:04 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=241249 IONU Security, Inc. (pronounced “eye on you”) thinks it has a better way to make data encryption viable in the enterprise while plugging one of the persistent holes in the ways in which most organizations implement encryption.

The flaw in most current schemes is that data is typically decrypted once it arrives on a host machine or cloud server for use by local programs. That forces organizations to use firewalls, proxies and gateways to block intruders. However, many security experts now believe that intrusion prevention is all but impossible. The only effective approach to security is to make the data unreadable at all times.

That’s what IONU proposes to do with its data isolation approach, which creates a logically separate and secure “zone” where data is insulated from the outside world.  Data is fully usable while in a zone, but is encrypted  while in transit or not in use by programs.

“Data is always encrypted except when you’re working on it,” said Dave Bennett, chief technical officer at IONU. Data is unencrypted for loading into Microsoft Word, for example, he said, but automatically encrypted when saved to disk.

Bennett said his company’s technology is ideal for cloud environments, where data is typically unencrypted once it is stored on cloud servers. In the case of Dropbox, for example, “you’re going to use SSL to communicate your data to Dropbox and then Dropbox is going to receive your data, decrypt it and store it in its cloud storage structure,” he said. ”If I can get access to the Dropbox keyps, I can get access to all of your files.”

IONU addresses this shortcoming by not storing the full encryption keys in one place. Data can only be decrypted by a combination of keys from the server and client or between two parties in an email exchange, for example. No single entity has enough information to access encrypted data. “An intruder would have to both client and server to get data and even then it would only apply to the device they hacked into,” Bennett said. The result is that data stored using the IONU encryption scheme can never be downloaded or otherwise extracted while in a clear state, and is never decrypted on a cloud server. All of this is transparent to the user, who simply has to fill out a simple form to  obtain an encryption key.

IONU is making its technology available as a free download, with a pro service available for businesses.

]]>
http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/ionu-says-it-has-a-better-idea-about-data-encryption/feed/ 0
Storage, social media expert sees positives in HP split | #HPDiscover http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/storage-social-media-expert-sees-positives-in-hp-split-hpdiscover/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/storage-social-media-expert-sees-positives-in-hp-split-hpdiscover/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 20:00:48 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=240121 The HP split into two companies — HP Inc., for personal systems and printing, and HP Enterprise, for technology infrastructure — continues to create buzz in the industry. But according to Calvin Zito, noted blogger and storage and social media expert for HP, the breakup will have a positive outcome.

“The spit lets HP Enterprise focus on what we do, and focus is a good thing,” said Zito. “It’s going to allow us to do things with profits that align to the gross margin of that business instead of having to look at a lower gross margin business, potentially holding back on investments because we have a broader portfolio that we have to manage financially.”

Benefits of 3PAR acquisition

Zito sat down with theCUBE cohosts Dave Vellante and Jeff Frick to discuss the state of the industry, HP’s latest announcements and established relationships, such as HP’s 2010 acquisition of storage company 3PAR, Inc..

“3PAR has inherent features that make it ideal for Flash,” said Zito. “It’s a mesh-based controller that they’ve designed to serve iOS as fast as it can and protect the data. It’s a great platform, whether for flash or spinning disks.”

Watch the full interview below, and be sure to check out more coverage from theCUBE, SiliconANGLE’s Media production team, at HP Discover Las Vegas 2015.

Photo by SiliconANGLE
]]>
http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/storage-social-media-expert-sees-positives-in-hp-split-hpdiscover/feed/ 0
Nvidia forced to recall 88,000 Shield Tablets due to battery fire hazard http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/nvidia-forced-to-recall-88000-shield-tablets-due-to-battery-fire-hazard/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/nvidia-forced-to-recall-88000-shield-tablets-due-to-battery-fire-hazard/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:20:32 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=241214 Nvidia Corp is instituting a recall tens of thousands of its Android-based Shield Tablets due to concerns that the device’s batteries could pose a serious fire hazard.

According to a report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Nvidia has received reports of at least four cases where the batteries in the Shield Tablet overheated, damaging the device and, in two of the reports, the floor below it. Both the CPSC and Nvidia warn consumers to stop using the tablets immediately until a replacement can be obtained.

The recall affects 88,000 devices that were sold in the U.S. and Canada between July 2014 and July 2015, and Nvidia has released a boilerplate statement saying that it is “coordinating with appropriate governmental agencies to ensure that the recall follows established industry practices.” The official website for the tablet currently displays an error message, and it appears to be unavailable for purchase from Amazon, though some other online stores like Newegg are still selling the device.

Consumers who purchased a Shield Tablet are eligible to register for a free replacement, but there is currently no timeframe listed for when the new devices might become available.

If you own a Shield Tablet and would like to find out if your device is included in the recall, you can visit Nvidia’s recall website or call their hotline at 1-888-943-4196.

Major problem for Nvidia, or minor speedbump?

Nvidia has traditionally been a manufacturer of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) for PCs and various chipsets for other systems, but the company has recently started becoming involved in the production of its own complete hardware devices, including Shield Portable and Shield Android TV.

The current recall could be a serious blow for the company’s reputation as an up-and-coming hardware maker, but Nvidia spokesperson Hector Marinez points to the batteries as the main issue rather than Nvidia’s devices themselves.

“Products containing lithium-ion batteries have been the subject of numerous recalls across the electronics industry,” Martinez told Reuters. He also stated that the costs associated with the recall would not be serious, and an analyst told Reuters that the recall would probably cost Nvidia roughly $1 million.

Photo by pestoverde 
]]>
http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/nvidia-forced-to-recall-88000-shield-tablets-due-to-battery-fire-hazard/feed/ 0
First Total War: Warhammer gameplay footage reveals sprawling battles and Human on Orc action http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/first-total-war-warhammer-gameplay-footage-reveals-sprawling-battles-and-human-on-orc-action/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/first-total-war-warhammer-gameplay-footage-reveals-sprawling-battles-and-human-on-orc-action/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 18:30:39 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=241168 From the 2000 release of Shogun: Total War through this year’s release of Total War: Attila, Creative Assembly’s Total War franchise has stuck to real-world historical scenarios for nine mainline games and a hand full of spin-offs, but the upcoming tenth game in the series, Total War: Warhammer, will see a drastic departure from the realism of previous titles. Total War: Warhammer, which is due to release in 2016, is set in the grim Warhammer fantasy universe created for Games Workshop Group PLC’s popular tabletop wargame series.

Yesterday, Creative Assembly released a video of “The Battle of Blackfire Pass” campaign from the game, which showcases over 10 minutes of the fantasy action and unique landscapes the game has to offer.

“The armies from Warhammer fantasy battles give us so much diversity to work with,” one of the game’s developers said in the video. “The playable races in the game are going to look and play really, really differently in both campaign and battle.”

He added, “And looking out over Blackfire Pass for a second here, you can just see the kind of fantastical landscapes that we have never been able to do in a Total War game before, and this is just one geographical parts of the old world.”

The Total War games share many similarities with nation-building series like Civilization and Europa Universalis, but the Total War series sets itself apart with its focus on strategic, real-time combat. Battles in Total War games require clever tactics that take advantage of the strengths of various combat units, as well as the location’s landscape and weather.

Many traditional combat units appear to have made their way into Total War: Warhammer, including cavalry, artillery, foot soldiers, and so on. But the game will also take advantage of the Warhammer universe’s fantasy elements such as spell-casting orc shamans, giants, trolls, and kamikaze goblin flyers that launch themselves from catapults. The game also includes flying units like griffons, which can be used to swoop in behind enemy lines.

The footage shown by Creative Assembly is labelled as “pre-alpha,” so some elements of the gameplay could still change between now and release. You can watch the full video of the Blackfire Pass battle below:

Image courtesy of Creative Assembly Ltd
]]>
http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/first-total-war-warhammer-gameplay-footage-reveals-sprawling-battles-and-human-on-orc-action/feed/ 0
Digital transformation happening fast | #HPDiscover http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/digital-transformation-happening-fast-hpdiscover/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/digital-transformation-happening-fast-hpdiscover/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 18:00:48 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=240119 The theme for HP Discover 2015, “the idea economy,” faced criticism from some industry leaders during the popular IT conference. Ideas form the basis of the digital economy. Also, as theCUBE cohost Dave Vellante, noted, “HP is still a product company. They’ve got to put their products in front of people.”

Cohost Jeff Frick agreed, but added another perspective. “Some of the customers we had on theCUBE today really demonstrate what the idea economy looks like even in a legacy situation,” he said. “A 20th Century Fox guest talked about their entire business moving from visible assets to digital assets. A Home Depot guest talked about delivering apps to people in the store so they can price shop. These are old-school, hard-goods companies that are really seeing this digital transformation. It’s happening, and it can happen fast.”

Embracing digitization

Frick added: “HP is still really an infrastructure provider. The Cloud has to sit somewhere. But I do like the fact that they are embracing this digitization, because it can happen so fast, either in the case of 20th Century Fox or for this customer-driven experience expectation based on the mobile phone.”

Frick and Vellante also discussed the split between Hewlett-Packard, Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. How will the split affect future Discover shows? The 2015 conference in London, held December 1-3, will be telling.

Watch the full interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of HP Discover Las Vegas 2015.

Photo by SiliconANGLE
]]>
http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/digital-transformation-happening-fast-hpdiscover/feed/ 0
Happy SysAdmin Appreciation Day! Thank your SysAdmin for everything they do http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/happy-sysadmin-appreciation-day-thank-your-sysadmin-for-everything-they-do/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/happy-sysadmin-appreciation-day-thank-your-sysadmin-for-everything-they-do/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 18:00:11 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=241171 Today marks the 16th annual Systems Administrator Appreciation Day, which according to the event’s creators is “the single greatest 24 hours on the planet… and pretty much the most important holiday of the year.” The holiday occurs the last Friday of July, and it is meant to celebrate the head techies that work behind the scenes in one of the most vital areas of a company’s infrastructure.

Have you thanked your company SysAdmin lately? After all, they are responsible for keeping all of those server lights blinking and making sure your employees are still able to browse Facebook and play solitaire when they think no one is looking.

Oh, and they also keep your company’s most vital systems running day and night, answering 2am calls and crawling through wires to make sure everything is working 24/7. They also answer more than a few dumb questions from less tech savvy coworkers, such as “Where do I find the button for AOL?” and “Why isn’t the cup holder on my PC working anymore?”

Depending on the size of your company’s IT department, a SysAdmin can sometimes wear many hats that place them in charge of other areas of your technology infrastructure, including database administration, networking, security, and sometimes even basic desktop support.

“Consider all the daunting tasks and long hours (weekends too.),” the SysAdmin day creators said. “Let’s be honest, sometimes we don’t know our System Administrators as well as they know us. Remember this is one day to recognize your System Administrator for their workplace contributions and to promote professional excellence. Thank them for all the things they do for you and your business.”

A heartfelt thank you and pat on the back can go a long way, but for those of you who want to give your SysAdmin a little something extra, a small gift never hurts. Common gifts for SysAdmins include geeky toys and apparel and pretty much anything with caffeine in it.

The SysAdmin Day creators say that streamers, balloons and confetti couldn’t hurt either.

Photo by Arthur40A 
]]>
http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/happy-sysadmin-appreciation-day-thank-your-sysadmin-for-everything-they-do/feed/ 0
The good news (and the bad) about doing public relations on your own http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/the-good-news-and-the-bad-about-doing-public-relations-on-your-own/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/the-good-news-and-the-bad-about-doing-public-relations-on-your-own/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 17:35:01 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=241068 Alright! Are you excited? You should be! We’re going to start talking about getting press this week. OR doing “PR”. Whatever you want to say to refer to the often soul crushing work that is trying to get attention for yourself, or your product, by using modern media.

I hope you’re excited, (or at least, ready to feign enthusiasm) because PR is one of those things that’s a lot of fun in the concept stage, but once you start actually having to do it, you immediately wish you had made different career choices.

You see, public relations is this bizarre combination of high concept thinking and imagination, along with menial labor, that you wish those creepy robots from “Humans” on AMC were around to do for you. But they’re not. Which is a little strange because, in a totally serious conversation, a PR person once asked me how bubbles worked, and I never forgot that.

There is no way anyone reading this can convince me that this person could not be automated and replaced by an android. Even a malfunctioning one.

I kid. Mostly. But the simple fact is that a lot of PR people are terrible at their job. Which is really bad for you and me, because PR is the engine that drives everything else. Don’t be fooled, there is no such thing (especially when it comes to things and people who have become “Internet Famous”) as some random person posting something, and then that thing blowing up for “no raisin“.

Thinking otherwise is incredibly dangerous and incredibly common. Comedian and budding TV star Tig Notaro is a great example of this. If you read most writeups now about Tig, there’s always something about how she “went viral”, but the reason she “went viral” is never mentioned. You know why? Because it makes the story less appealing than “This thing spread by magic on the Internet!” which is what the press (and PR people) like to tell each other. In the case of Notaro, her standup set announcing she had breast cancer “went viral” because of Louis C.K. tweeting it out to his followers (and to the media who follow him on Twitter, who then went and ran with the story).

If you want to raise your probability of success, you absolutely have to erase from your mind that concept (and belief in the possibility) that something you say or do or your product itself will “go viral” in the magical sense that is often portrayed. It just does not exist.

Cool? Cool.

(BTW: There are plenty of people who disagree, but if you read the books I suggested, you’ll see real quick that the people who actually know what they’re doing don’t believe in “the magic of the Internet” either.)

So now that you know how important PR is, here’s the good news: It’s very easy to get press attention if you know what buttons to push. I once got covered by a local news affiliate for (pretending) to sell plastic bags filled with “Fresh Adirondack Air”.  Sounds hard to believe, right? Well good thing I have the video evidence to show you.

Now here’s the bad news: It’s very difficult to control the story that the press tells about you. Sometimes this is fine, but other times how you / your product / your pitch is portrayed may not be how you wanted, which negates the benefit of getting press in the first place.

Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about using my Liberty comic as our case study.

Getting Press Attention: The Easy Part

Louis C.K.

There are a lot of ways I can pitch Liberty to the press. It’s a racially diverse cast, which I’ve got a lot of feedback on that tells me people really like that.

Liberty herself is bisexual and multiracial, with her father being Mexican and her mother being a Russian Jew,  and the story isn’t “dark”. It’s not “gritty” or even “mean”. The characters aren’t psychologically damaged or haven’t had anything traumatic happen to them, which unfortunately has been the hallmark for male comic writers when they write women. So there’s a lot going on that’s really good for Liberty and makes it easy to pitch. Especially to the comics press.

The comics press loves telling their readers how progressive they are. (Not a bad thing, but sometimes I wonder how much of it is driven by earnestness and a belief in real diversity vs. the need for pageviews and controversy.)

But how would I pitch Liberty to the mainstream media, whom unfortunately tends to only cover comics in two ways: When it comes to the movies, with a lot of excessive hype and exaggerated excitement, followed by handwringing editorials about “Superhero fatigue” and how superhero films are the end of movies. (Seriously.)

Or when they cover the comics, there’s also some stupid “BIFF BANG POW!” line. Or a line like “It’s not just for your kid living at home in the basement!” More recently, and this is a positive even though it’s phrased in a grating way, you see stories like, “Move over boys! Comics are for girls!” Which, is fantastic, you know! But it keeps things framed in that “LOL Nerds” thing in which the media always puts stories about comics. Don’t take my word for it. Go look at most interviews with Jill Lepore, who wrote a book about Wonder Woman, but spends most of her interviews bashing comics and running as far as she possibly can away from any association with them.

That’s quite a challenge, right? Especially when you consider this: The media tends to have certain boxes for things, and whatever you pitch needs to fit into that box. I’ve showed you here the comic boxes that the media uses for their stories.

I can’t stress this enough: I can NOT pitch something successfully that does not fit in the media’s comic boxes because the media doesn’t understand something that doesn’t fit into their box. There’s a whole host of dumb reasons for this, but none of them are important here. What’s important is that you understand how they think because you will encounter this. What you pitch, regardless of what it is, must be designed to fit into one of their boxes. How do you figure out what their box is? Look at their previous coverage of a product / campaign like yours. You’ll see it immediately.

So what do I do? Let’s address the bad news I told you about, and then we’ll circle back to the good news and the solution to this problem.

Getting Press Attention: The Annoying Part

Liberty Draft Comic Page

As I mentioned in an earlier installment of this series, there’s this big club, filled with people who actually make the decisions in this country, and as George Carlin once said about that club, you and I ain’t in it.

If you’re in that club, you can control the media presentation of your story, provided it fits into those boxes. That means you can stop reading here.

You never phrase it in those words, of course. “I’m in the club, do as I say”, but if you want to get some coverage and you’re in with the reporters or the reporter’s boss, you more or less give them the talking points and soon you’ll see your story appear.

This is very sad, but also very true.

And just as a point for history sake, this is ALWAYS the way the media worked, going back to the first newspaper in the U.S. in 1704 that often took the side of the British.

A lot of people forget that some of the first newspapers were total propaganda tools, advancing one cause or another, like bringing us into a war over dubious reasons. It wasn’t until later (when there was money to be made) where the media pretended to take a neutral and ethical position, and even then that depends on how you want to interpret stuff like this. (Great movie by the way.)

In recent years that illusion of neutrality and ethical behavior has gone out the window as people take sides in order to capture page views and ratings from people who are on that opinion/stance’s side.

So in terms of history, the media working the way we all think it does with the tireless reporter making only ethical decisions and railing at the powers that be from their column was very brief. (Just search for “Weapons of Mass Destruction + The New York Times” some time. You’ll see what I mean.)

This is fine. Honestly. If you’re an American, you learn at a young age that greed is the one true religion of this country. It was true way back when the settlers got here and wanted more and more land, and it’s true to this day.

But if you’re not in that club, the bad news is that you can’t control the story. You can make suggestions, and sometimes you encounter a lazy blogger/journalist (more rare than you might think, but unfortunately they do exist) who will just run what you give them, whether to meet a quota of some kind or just because, and you luck out. But that’s not common.

So what happens? If the reporter doesn’t go with what you sent, your pitch could wind up a part of something else, meaning you get lost in the shuffle. Uh oh, right?

For example with Liberty, I can make a pitch about how Liberty as a character doesn’t swear as part of a larger commentary about the “darkness” that tends to permeate comic books these days, but when I look at the story the next day from the reporter, there’s nothing in there about Liberty and her lack of swearing. Instead, there’s a story about women as superheroes, which is totally fine, but Liberty is just PART of the story, receiving just one mention while other characters get more coverage for their lack of swearing. You see, the reporter liked my point, but decided to see how many other characters did the same thing.

Little good that does you.

So you can work, hustle, and slave over an amazing pitch for your product, and you may get super excited about things once a reporter says they’ll cover it, but you might not like the end result, because the reporter controls the narrative. Not you. That’s the bad news.

Let’s swing back to how to handle this.

Push, But Don’t Be Pushy

nz Zajizek Astronomical Clock machinery

Next week, we’ll spend more time on shaping the story, but for now I just want to show you the basic mechanics of getting press.

IF your pitch/product gets mangled by a well meaning (or sometimes not so well meaning) journalist, you should move on to the next journalist. Be polite. Thank you the journalist for the writeup, and don’t say anything else. Seriously. Don’t argue. Don’t fight. If you’re mad they didn’t use all the stuff you sent, don’t be. There’s nothing you can do about it. Accept that once you pitch the story, you’ve done everything there is to do.

But. If you put in the work before you send off the pitch, you reduce the chances of your idea / pitch getting mangled or presented in a strange way. Or barely presented at all. How? By doing a few important things:

  • On your website (or wherever you’re sharing your pitch / idea online or off), make sure you have your talking points clearly articulated. “This is what my thing does.” “This is what my cause hopes to achieve”, “this is the problem my product solves.”
  • Using Liberty again as an example: “Liberty is a fun, action adventure comic book for adults with a diverse cast of characters.”

See? Very simple, clear, and direct. I identify the product, I identify the audience, and I describe what the product is.

As an exercise, I encourage you to try to describe your product/idea/cause in as few words and sentences as you can, with the idea being that you clearly identify the product (Liberty), the audience (adults), and what the product is (a fun action adventure comic book).

These points should be repeated as often as you can repeat them without being obnoxious about it. If you’re doing an interview, make sure to hit these points. The odds are always very good that if you say something often enough, it becomes the truth, and other people will begin to repeat it.

  • Make sure you have a press resource somewhere that can be accessed. Usually you see this as a pressroom on corporate websites. This is worth emulating if you have aspirations of being a business or organization, but if you’re an individual pushing a single product (like a comic book), something like what I have here is fine.

The point is to show the reporters you have social proof (other people covering you), and you have as much prepared for them as you can. (Press releases, photos, videos, anything you think a reporter should see should go here.) Don’t worry if you have nothing yet. This isn’t a chicken or the egg thing. Get everything else together, and just add the press articles as you get them.

Again, you can’t control the story, but by giving them as much as you can, you can help guide them and possibly minimize the chance that something stupid happens. Like I said, PR can be soul crushing work sometimes, but you have to do it, and you have to learn real fast to not sweat it.

PR is a big topic, so we’re going to spend some time with it here in this column, but I hope this gives you a good general overview of how this works here.

Image Credits: Liberty comes from … duh. Me. Louis C.K. and the picture of the machinery comes from Wikimedia Commons. Picture of Tig Notaro via Flickr user CleftClips.
]]>
http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/31/the-good-news-and-the-bad-about-doing-public-relations-on-your-own/feed/ 0