Dave Winer: Both Apple and Google will soon be under assault, it seems certain, by larger competitors who have let their people blog. To think they can afford not to be present in the arena of the present (not just the future any more) is the kind of dangerous naivete bordering on hubris that could make them lose their competition, by default, by not even showing up. #
4 thoughts on “Why Google And Apple Should Blog”
Not so quick David Winer. I think the Apple approach to “mum’s the word” is not such a bad thing in today’s world of instant gratification and people spoiling surprises, leaking Star Wars via bittorrent, announing new products like Mac Mini before they are meant to be publicly released. Why on Earht should Steve Jobs or Eric Schmidt blog? Maybe Winer needs more experience running a publicly-held concern and then he might change his mind!
Let’s also not forget that Apple does indeed blog. Well, at least the person in charge of one of their most important products (Safari) does: Dave Hyatt.
Through Dave’s blog, Apple has been able to solicit invaluable amounts of bug-reporting, feature suggestions, and general feedback which has made Safari what it is today. It’s shocking for a company as secretive as Apple to allow one of its employees to do this, but they have… and to great benefit.
Because of the activity on Dave’s blog and also the efforts of plenty of other people, Safari has gone from literally nothing a couple of years ago to the best browser on the planet.
Oh yeah, and Google employees blog as well. Just because one of them got fired for saying something questionable doesn’t mean there is a “no blog” policy at the company.
I work for a company bigger than Apple and bigger than Google was a few months ago and I blog as well, but in my time here, I’ve realized one important thing that I don’t think people like Winer have realized yet: Just because something is true doesn’t mean it’s your right to communicate it publicly. If my company does something I don’t like, I don’t necessarily feel it’s my right to tell the world all the reasons why I don’t like it. Do I wish I could talk about it? Sure, a bit. But I understand why a company would not appreciate that sort of candor. Blogging is no different than giving statements to the press, and there have been rules about that at companies for decades. This isn’t any different.
Well said, Mike D.
And I think the analogy of press statements is close… but as a Microsoft Blogger, who has yet to see an official “policy” on blogging, I and my coworkers use the rule that “if we can’t say it to someone outside the company, then we can’t say it on our blog”.
(Personally, I don’t think a separate policy is necessary. A blog is just another form of communication to the outside. Company policies are already in place to account for this.)
It’s not just company owned blog servers or services, either. If I had my own blog server, and I were using it to share technical resources relating to my job, I’d still be conscious of the notion that I still represent the company, and cannot share information that is not approved as “customer ready”.
Still… the fact that some secrets DO get leaked via blogs has a lot of companies nervous. Seriously – just fire any idiot who “didn’t think anyone would read this” and let something slip.