Back in my Sling days, one of the greatest fears I had in doing my job was watching or reading interviews with the CEO, Blake Krikorian. See, Blake’s one of those guys that is really fun to talk to, on just about any topic (other than when you screw up and miss a deadline or build a goofy feature into your product, of course), and really loves engaging with whomever he’s talking with. He’s also a super-enthusiastic guy when it comes to Sling Media – which is apparent in any video you may watch with him in it (even if he’s in a Japanese restroom).
So why was this a “fear”? Well, we we’d never be 100% sure as to what exactly Blake would talk about on any given interview. So we knew it would be good, and we knew it would be fun, but we never quite knew what would come out of it. At the end of the day, it’s clearly a “high class problem” as a friend of mine says – because the results were always good ones. Here’s Blake on Om’s Revision3 show.
One of the reasons Sling is so well-liked as a company is that Blake promotes a very open, friendly communication style. Sure the company has plans and initiatives that can’t always be disclosed in advance, but the general tone and demeanor is welcoming, inviting, and open.
These same principles are driving our marketing efforts for Bug Labs. Peter Semmelhack, the CEO, is keenly interested in not just having open source technology, but in what I am calling open marketing. Next week I’ll be in the NY office for a couple of days, and even though we are a ways away from launching the product, we’ve blocked off an evening to have a few beverages with anyone who wants to come by (I’ve even made a Facebook event). No RSVP list needed, no exclusive invite for the tech-elite or media. Whether it’s a curious engineering student (of age, of course!) or someone with a vision of some amazing gadget, we want to meet them, and just chat.
Some of my favorite blogs to read are from company CEOs, ranging from Jonathan Schwartz to
Steve Jobs. My advice to any company, whether small startup to huge megakeiretsu, is to have some form of open, transparent communication. You don’t have to reveal every single little plan or secret strategy, but being “out there” and “real” will help your company through good times and bad.
As both of my frequent readers know, I’m completely fed up and frustrated with Sony, and because they are such a closed, unapproachable company, it massively amplifies my frustrations. If the company had more of a “face”, I’m sure I’d still be annoyed, but in a less loathsome manner.
We are in a very interesting transition time when it comes to marketing technology products, and I firmly believe openness and transparency are essential.
Pingback: Zatz Not Funny!»Blog Archive » Sling Media on The GigaOm Show
I actually watched that episode last night and, though I’ve never met or worked for Blake, oddly felt the same uneasiness, but not in a bad way.
I really love to see CEOs that feel like real people. For instance, Nokia’s Olli-Pekka. I’ve seen pictures, and could probably pick him out of a room, but even though I love his products, I don’t feel as though he really has all *that* much to do with them. Yes, I realize he probably does, but I don’t *feel* like it.
On the other hand, watching Blake last night, I knew without a doubt that he loves his product, that he loves his users (and not just cause they bring him money, but because they embrace the same things he does) and loves what he’s doing. And, I feel like, if I was a Sling user, I could easily shoot him an email and half expect a real response.
There was also a refreshing lack of unnecessary shielding. I mean, here he is, chilling on the couch, gave straight answers to the questions he could, and the ones he couldn’t, he flat out said he couldn’t. There wasn’t much pandering, which I think is awesome.