July 16, 2007

Talkquote: better honest than polite

Filed under: marketing, PR, quotes, talkmarks — Simone @ 4:35 pm

I’d rather be honest than polite.
jonathan Schwartz, CEO, Sun Microsystems

I’ve already praised the great job Sun is doing to be part of the conversation.
In this post Jonathan explains why too much focus on legal stuff is just that: too much.
I know this is true for my background is legal and there’s a reason if I turned my (professional) life around completely to become a marketer. He also makes a point on how important transparency has become in this world and how how far behind most companies (and departments) are on understanding it.

This decade states the end of the glorious marketing bullshit. Pls take note.



  1. Excellent point! It is going to be pretty hard for companies to get there, especially since many have lawyers in their top ranks and sometimes as CEOs. And the senior management teams were schooled in a different era where success was insured by keeping secrets and being closed off.

    We’re moving away from that, and we don’t know what the new organization will end up looking like, yet. Do we? What do you think?

    Comment by Valeria Maltoni — July 21, 2007 @ 7:22 pm

  2. That’s a tough question: I think that legal still has to play a key role in SOME industies (think healthcare, administration etc), but I also think that legal has a natural play-it-safe mindset that more often than not translates into:

    1) low transparency (you tend to be cautious to speak because people may use what you say against you)
    2) s-l-o-w r-e-a-c-t-i-o-n t-i-m-e: this is to me the worst enemy today. People are speaking now and you have to answer now. Not in a week, not tomorrow, not in 6 hours. Now.

    I doubt that people in charge for legal will adapt to the new landscape. It’s always hard to see things that will make you unemployed.
    But maybe that’s not the point. Big changes in the business world have always come from outside, not from inside the companies.

    It seems to me that the younger generations are more keen to forgive a company for its mistakes as long as they perceive that the company has been transparent and ready to listen. Just think about what happened when Sicko (the latest movie from Michael Moore) was criticized by a Google exec, or when Digg introduced the new comment feature, or when Zooomr was down for weeks.

    If this is true, companies will realize it and they’ll figure out that the cost of being totally legal compliant is – in some areas – higher than backing from a mistake after it arises. So they’ll just do what they’re supposed to do: cut unnecessary costs.

    Comment by Simone — July 24, 2007 @ 2:07 pm

  3. Oh, I don’t know about that! I think the marketing people will go before the lawyers — they managed to put the fear of the gods into organizations. Many CEOs today come from a legal background.

    I agree with you that slow response today equals no response.

    Comment by Valeria Maltoni — July 25, 2007 @ 1:22 am

  4. Oh, and BTW, sorry for late answering! 🙂

    Comment by Simone — July 25, 2007 @ 10:12 am

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