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Weckerle dines with Klau

by Lee Hopkins

There’s an amazing interview you must check out.

Andrea Weckerle in Washington recently had dinner with Rick Klau, VP Bus Dev at Feedburner.

[Note: for those new to the social web, or Web2.0, or blogging or podcasting, Feedburner is the defacto ’standard’ third-party feed service - I insist all of my clients use their services].

FeedburnerWithin the interview Rick sheds light on the Leo Laporte controversy, where Feedburner used Technorati to keep abreast of a bubbling issue and over a 48-hour period turned what could have been raging flames into raging fans.

Ironically, what started with somebody pointing the finger at FeedBurner and saying, you guys made a mistake, [changed to him] later essentially recant[ing] and Monday morning [having] a lot of people pointing at FeedBurner saying, look at what a great job that company did, they were very eager to engage and answer questions and acknowledge when lessons were learned and what could be done differently.

He also shares insights into the Dell PR fiasco with Jeff Jarvis:

A perfect example of that was last year with Jeff Jarvis talking about his hellish experience with Dell. Dell later was asked about this escalating series of complaints that Jeff was leaving and that others were leaving through comments on his blog. Folks at Dell said, yes, we were aware of what was being said, but we have a general policy that we don’t leave comments on blogs. So no one was hearing Dell’s side of the story. And as a result, the conclusion people were making at the time is that Dell just must not be paying attention. I think they’ve taken steps in the last several months to try and correct that, but that’s a very good example of [what happens] if you don’t jump in, if you don’t speak up, if you don’t acknowledge hey, we’re here, we’re listening, let us know how we can answer your questions, people just aren’t going to know that you’re there.

He points out a growing theme within the blogosphere, that Microsoft has gone from being the Cyborg to being a really great company to work for (and concurrently Apple slides from being a ‘really cool company’ and the saviour to Micro$oft’s BullyBoy existence to a company simply fantastic at design but simply atrocious and arrogant at people relationships). Discussing a real, out in the open, flame of the company’s stand on an ethical issue by one of its employees — Uber-blogger Robert Scoble — Klau shows how Microsoft engages with and is affected by such open discussion and negotiation. Amazing turnaround for what was once the No1 most hated tech company in the world.

Due to some lobbying from a far right group that had threatened to boycott Microsoft, Microsoft decided to essentially abstain from lobbying on that particular issue in the Washington state legislature. Robert hit the company with both barrels and said, this is not the company that I work for, we are a company that believes in equal rights for everyone and this is wrong. He didn’t pull any punches, he didn’t mince words. Some people were very surprised by his tone. But then, with permission of Steve Ballmer, he had an e-mail dialogue with Steve that resulted in Steve changing the company policy. I’m probably not the only one who watched that progression over the course of a week or so and thought, here’s a company that’s willing to admit it has made a mistake, it’s listening to its employees. From a recruiting perspective alone, that’s worth its weight in gold.

Along the way Rick looks at Clinton, US politics, how political systems and politicians can use this new-style internet to better effect:

How would I use technology? It’s not about using technology for technology’s sake, it’s about letting people know that there are important issues in play, that there are important decisions that are going to be made that are going to affect them, and letting them know how the candidate would approach them. We’ve become so disconnected from the process that it becomes really hard to see on a day-to-day basis what Congress does that affects us, and how we as voters have any real say in the process. Any way you can reconnect people to the process and the candidate is important.

He ends with why he stays at Feedburner (probably despite some very tempting offers, no doubt).

Amazing interview — really really worth reading, a fantastic example of great interviewing (’know what you’re talking about, ask a great question and get out of the way’), and a further example of why Andrea Weckerle should be in your list of bloggers to read.


Reports I have written:

Measuring the impact and ROI of social media
Measuring the impact and ROI of social media - for Ark Group
Making social media work for your business
Making Social Media work for your business - for Ark Group
Social Media: the new business communication landscape
Social Media: The New Business Communication Landscape - for Ark Group
How to get started with podcasting in your organisation
How to get started with podcasting in your organisation - for Melcrum Publishing
How to use social media to solve critical internal communication issues
Contributing author to How to use social media to solve critical internal communication issues - for Melcrum Publishing

How to use social media to engage employees
Contributing author to How to use social media to engage employees - for Melcrum Publishing

Contributing author to How to communicate with hard-to-reach employees - for Melcrum Publishing



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