Sometimes the V in VC stands for vested. As in vested interest. For this reason, Ray Lane’s comments on press releases aren’t that surprising. In this BusinessWeek interview, Ray Lane of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers calls standard media and press releases “a waste of time.” Instead, they should use “blogs and wikis and podcasts and videos.” Ray says:
What’s going to happen is, employees are going to start podcasting and blogging about what’s really going on in the company. It’s going to cause huge legal concerns on the company’s part. But companies are not going to be able to stop it. Outside the company, you can’t tell people not to talk about their products. We’re not China. We can’t shut it down.
The reality of how employees feel, and the reality of how customers and partners get information about your company, are going to change in the next five years from standard media and press releases – which are a waste of time now – to these other methods like blogs and wikis and podcasts and videos
He’s right that companies should be using blogs, wikis and podcasts. He’s wrong that press releases are a waste of time. In fact, they remain hugely valuable. That I place would place more credence on the drivel pouring out of most corporations whether in a blog or a press release is just misfounded. What is needed is better, clearer, more compelling communications – period. Whether a press release, podcast or blog – I really don’t mind. What I would prefer, personally, is short blogs and podcasts on the corporate narrative – and I want a press release for all formal communications.
Ray’s argument is also founded on a pretty major assumption – that employees will blog about “what is really going on” inside a company. Really? Not too sure about that Ray. First, they’ve got jobs that come with a fiduciary responsibility. Break that and they are out the door. Last time I looked, mortgage payments trump blogging on the list of things they are worried about.
Dana makes a point that I agree with – it would be terrific to hear directly from leading lights like Steve Jobs. I want to hear more from the thought-leaders and innovators. I don’t need to hear from everyone – I’d love to here more from the people that matter.