When you read something really worthwhile, it makes an impression that lasts a long time. During this slow month of August when the heat index in NYC is 105o F, and it seems that half the world is on vacation, I’ll take a summer break from Bridgebuzz Blog’s usual posts about PR strategies. I offer you instead some suggestions for excellent and relatively short reads that I’ve stumbled across lately. Since at least half of you must be lazing around on the beach or hiding out in the cool mountains (not that I’m jealous), you must have the time.
This is an eclectic collection, in no particular order, that I hope will interest you. There is an estimated reading time provided for each piece, ranging from 2-20 minutes. Good reading!
- “I Already Live in the Future and So Should You,” VentureBeat, 8/10/2016, by Vivek Wadhwa, Carnegie Mellon University Engineering at Silicon Valley and Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke University. (Estimated reading time: 5 minutes)
The author believes that ever-faster technology changes and their resulting effects on our economic, social and political foundations are just beginning and are “the greatest shift that society has seen since the dawn of humankind.” This includes all former tectonic shifts, going back to when humans began to use fire for cooking and agriculture to produce food. This blog post is based on Wadhwa’s soon-to-be-published book, “Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future.”Why Your Company Needs a Foreign Policy, Harvard Business Review, 9/2016 issue, by John Chipman, International Institute for Strategic Studies. (Estimated reading time: 20 minutes)
This article asserts that multinational companies must develop foreign policy positions of their own, independent of national government foreign policies, to deal with geopolitical risk. The author says it’s not good for multinationals to get too close to the foreign policies of their governments, since they are operating under the laws of many different governments. Until recently, corporations have tried to at least appear politically neutral, but he doesn’t think that neutrality is possible anymore for multinationals.
Chipman believes that careful construction of corporate foreign policies is the only way companies can manage global threats such as politically-motivated cyber-attacks, economic crises that can squash local operations, politically-based boycotts, and so forth. The author writes, “Wherever [companies] wish to operate, they must identify the various stakeholders, understand which groups may be supportive of company goals and which are likely to protest or oppose them, and develop strategies to engage each constituency effectively.” He also stresses the need for companies to build reserves of good will around the world (positive reputations) so they have some support when a devastating and unexpected geopolitical crisis hits. (Sounds like the typical PR fodder for this blog, doesn't it? For those of you working in corporate PR and public affairs, this is very relevant reading!)“Trump Time Capsule #74: ‘Founder of ISIS',” The Atlantic, 8/11/2016, by James Fallows, national correspondent for The Atlantic. (Estimated reading time: 5 minutes)
Fallows has just written his 74th “Daily Trump Time Capsule,” entry, an ongoing record of “the evidence available to voters as they make their [presidential] choice.” The most recent entry is a logical dissection of The Donald’s newest accusation against President Obama, namely that Obama is “the founder of ISIS.” (Of course, using logic to refute illogic is something that only works with logical people.) If you enjoy Fallows’ examination of the “founder of ISIS” statement, you’ll find yourself reading one after another of his previous time capsule entries. Another good one: “Trump Time Capsule #70: 'An Unwitting Agent of the Russian Federation'.”“My Amazon Echo Refused to Tell Me About Amazon’s Profits,” Gizmodo, 7/28/2016, by Eve Peyser, night editor for Gizmodo. (Estimated reading time: 2 minutes)
Whether or not you own an Amazon Echo, you’ll enjoy the transcript of the author’s conversation with Alexa, Amazon’s AI voice that she feels is much more useful than Apple’s Siri. Peyser asked Alexa some pointed questions about Amazon’s finances and got some coy non-answers.
Mind you, I would never denigrate Alexa’s ability, since I am a proud Echo owner myself and have first-hand evidence of her ability to entertain with music, read to me, wake me in the morning, stream radio news and provide a full weather report before I venture outside. She has encyclopedic knowledge of the world. (My son asked, “Alexa, how many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?” She responded, “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.”)