RT @satyanadella “” Microsoft CEO is cool at all levels. Make Microsoft cool!
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A couple of topics in today’s Wall Street Journal caught my eye. The first is that the DoD is forecasting disastrous consequences if the Pentagon undergoes a $52B sequestration budget cut. Yet in an AP article, according to Todd Harrison of the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, the Pentagon will still maintain a total annual budget, adjusted for inflation, of well over $500 billion a year for the rest of the decade.
On another subject in today’s WSJ was an article written by Erica Phillips and Ann Zimmerman that featured some of the following statistics. In 1991 the US Forest Service and Interior Department Agencies spent a combined $206m for fire suppression; $953m in 2001 and $1.7b in 2011. And yet funding for the Forest Service’s hazardous-fuels program will be cut to $201m from $301m and the Interior Department’s budget would drop to $96b from $145. This may be a cheap shot, OK, it is, but I wonder how that makes the families and friends of the 19 fallen fire fighters feel.
I’m reminded of the 1993 movie, DAVE, where Kevin Kline stars as an ersatz POTUS and gathers his cabinet around a conference table in order to balance the budget (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZARAldXlSyA). Sure, it’s a movie, but would it be too much to ask our acrimonious Congress to do something similar? And could the Pentagon get by with just a little less to help out the Forest Service and Department of the Interior?
FLM.TV on the Front Page of Austin American Statesman Movies section talking about Video Services
This is not a screed against childhood obesity in America. It is more of reminiscence. As a baby boomer who grew up in northern West Virginia in the 50’s, we had access to three television channels — two in Pittsburgh and one in Steubenville, Ohio (a plug for Dean Martin’s home town). School after hours were spent with my younger brother and my two cousins running through the woods, swinging from grape vines, engaging in may apple battles (look it up on Wikipedia) from our self improvised forts and trying not to get in trouble before dinner was served at 6 pm sharp.
After dinner, which usually consisted of one meat dish and three vegetables with mom and dad, we did our homework, and after that we watched Red Skelton, Tennessee Ernie Ford, George Gobel, Lucy and Life of Riley, et al. Lawrence Welk was a stretch, but Saturday night was reserved for Gunsmoke. Of course, early Saturday mornings included westerns Sky King, Cisco Kid, Lone Ranger and Annie Oakley. Howdy Doody was in there somewhere, too. As for the TV remote for my dad, well, that was me. “Son, get up there and change that to Channel 2.” In bed by 9:30 pm.
(That’s not us, but close.)
Both parents worked, but we had breakfast every morning that consisted of oatmeal or Cream of Wheat and eggs or cereal always with milk. Last week I went to the local McDonald’s and watched kids from the local area high school ordering a breakfast treat and a giant soda. Nothing against Mickey D’s, but what does this say about parenting.
I can only imagine what the bone density of these kids will be when they are about twenty years old if they continue to include a Coke or Dr. Pepper for breakfast. A recent autopsy of a 19-year old traffic victim revealed the early onset of osteoporosis.
Am I being too nostalgic, or should parents encourage activities that do not just involve multiple thumb inputs on a gaming console? I’m all for modern conveniences such as microwaves, ATMs, smartphones, tablets and the Internet, but I do have two recommendations. Make PE class mandatory, if only 3x week and reintroduce health classes that focus on food and nutrition.
Now, I feel much better.
An early Simon & Garfunkel song featured the lyrics: I’ve been Rolling Stoned and Beatled till I’m blind. Well, with apologies to Paul and Art I feel the same way about SEO and key words. As one who works in PR on a daily basis and who tries to stay current with most developments in the world of social media, I receive up to 150 emails per day. Too many, of course, not requested. But several of the newsletters are quite informative.
Some of my favorites include ReadWriteWeb, Ragan Daily Headlines, Rich Content Daily, IAB Smart Brief and BizReport. They’re usually packed with the latest stats, facts and surveys, not opinions. I’m going to digress for a moment and state that I really like the clean layout and design of the Huffington Post site (except for those giant banner ads that pop up intermittently).
However, I’ve noticed a time wasting trend lately. Many of the social media articles have begun to be repetitive, eg, ‘Top 10 key words to improve SEO’; ‘7 ways to increase your blog’s visibility’; ’6 best social media monitoring tools’; ‘5 words to avoid at all costs in headlines.’ OK, maybe not that last one, but how many times do I need to know that Pinterest is one of the fastest growing sites on the Internet?
Sometimes I feel the social media trend has outpaced common sense. I read a press release the other day that appeared to have been written by a machine. SEO terms were crammed throughout, but the actual copy didn’t communicate much of anything. Guess they wanted quantity over quality.
My conclusion and it’s certainly not original: content that is timely, informative, even entertaining and aimed at a specific audience will generate its own levels of visibility without a plethora of seo terms crammed in the headline or body copy.
The recent NYTimes article regarding Apple’s supply chain issues prompted this thought. What do staffers of Apple’s public relations department make in salaries each year? And do they earn those dollars? As everyone knows Apple has a policy of being notoriously secretive.
Adam Lishinsky’s Fortune magazines article in January pulled back the curtains on Apples’ corporate culture of practicing privacy. I ran a Google search for the following terms: ‘Apple Declined to Comment.’ Hundreds of page views later, I came to the conclusion that Apple would be well served to hire interns to staff the PR Department and save thousands of dollars in salary expenses.
However, recent news from newly appointed CEO Tim Cook indicates that this policy may be changing, at least a little. He publicly discussed the $98b cash reserve at Tuesday’s Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference.
In this article in Supply Chain Digest Cook goes on record as saying that Apple is leading inspections that are now underway and are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope.
As a public relations professional with over 30 years of experience in the industry, I can respect the limitations that Apples’ PR staffers have been mandated to follow, but with a company’s share price that exceeds $500 (NOTE: see recent WSJ article that describes Apples’ net worth being so vast that some equity analysts are now publishing two sets of quarterly earnings updates: one for companies that make up the S&P 500 including Apple and another without Apple. The delta is mind-boggling. With Apples’ inclusion earnings should indicate a 6.6% year-on-year-rise. Delete Apple and the growth rate shrinks to just 2.8%.)
Cook now has to lead a company that has the ability to impact, quite frankly, the American economy. Let’s hope his more transparent guidance of the firm will unshackle the internal PR team to actually respond to requests for information, rather than, ‘No Comment.’