- The co-founder of Google is Sergey Brin, a Russian.
- The co-founder of Sun Microsystems is Vinod Khosla, an Indian.
- eBay was founded by Pierre Omidyar, who is French.
- The co-founder of Juniper Networks is an Indian, Pradeep Sindhu.
- YouTube was co-founded by Steve Chen, who is Chinese.
- Yahoo! was co-founded by Jerry Yang, a Chinese immigrant.
- Andy Grove, a Hungarian, co-founded Intel.
Two very different examples of crisis communications popped up back-to-back in my RSS reader this morning. The first, by Joe Kinder is a great example of how to deal with news that could negatively impact the publics impression of you (or your brand).
He focused on three main points in his recent blog post:
- Identify the problem – in this case, he put some sub-par bolts into a route at the Red River Gorge. This sounds simple, but in many cases it can be more difficult that you’d expect to figure out exactly what is causing negative press.
- Take ownership – don’t try to dodge the bullet. If its your fault,say so in clear and unambiguous terms.
- Find a solution and quickly execute. In this case he is basically paying to replace the hardware on these routes with bolts that meet the local norm.
In most of these cases, and especially in today’s market, speed is really what counts. If the chat rooms and blogs are talking about a negative issue for too long, then it can quickly gain momentum and turn into a movement that you cannot stop. By the time the news shows up in print, it’s too late. You and your brand seem out of touch with your customers and fans, and quickly alienate even your most devout followers.
And that brings me to my second example of crisis communication. One that really breaks all of these rules. One that is quickly alienating some of the most devout followers in the world:
I realize that this is not a technology blog, but I have been traveling quite a bit lately, and there are a few tools that I have found to be indispensable on the road. Perhaps the best purchase I have made in the last six months is Verizon’s new MiFi.
This device basically works as a wireless router that receives internet access through Verizon’s 3G network. You can use up to five devices simultaneously. At a recent trade show we used it to give lives demos of the new OIAvantagePoint.com research platform and it worked admirably.
Perhaps the best feature of this credit-card-sized device is that it is completely compatible with the iPhone or any other WiFi enabled phone. If you are with Verizon, this doesn’t really give you much of an advantage. However, if you are with any other carrier, it basically gives your phone access to Verizon’s wireless internet network – which has MUCH better coverage than nearly anyone else.
I’ve been in some of the more remote areas of NC, Colorado, Utah and Tennessee with virtually no coverage on my iPhone but once I powered up the MiFi, I had full 3G access. Brilliant.