Saturday, October 24, 2009

The GM CEO Blog

A corporate blog gives voice and agency to a company, and CEO’s should take advantage of this opportunity to communicate directly with customers and the public. A CEO should share a love and enthusiasm for their company and its product or service. They should not be CEO of the company if they don’t feel that love. With GM, of course, it is easy. Beautiful cars, colorful history, and of course, appealing advertising.

Vice Chairman Bob Lutz gives his thoughts on the blog (see his blog) and over time it has become apparent Bob loves cars.

A CEO like Bob now has voice without being lackey to media conglomerates and the sickly procession of charlatans who work in them. I still think about the now infamous incident between the NY Times conglomerate and GM. The NYT published a vicious Tom Freidman editorial about GM that it later admitted went over the top. GM sent them a reply and asked it to be printed on the op-ed page but kept getting the run around by the Times editors. (See GM Blog )

GM complied with demand after demand to water down their reply until the editors finally demanded that GM remove the word rubbish. The Times said it was a devil word inappropriate for a paper of their stature. At that point, GM posted the unsightly email thread it had been keeping with the Times on its Fastlane blog.

It was so outrageous that it spread across the Internet like the fire of righteous retribution. Many were appalled by the Times hypocritical censorship and arrogance. The Columbia School of Journalism wrote that the Times was patently unfair (Columbia Journalism Critique).

The days of newspapers playing God because they were the only game in town are over. An open discussion about GM occurred despite the Times trying to suppress and censor it. As a postscript, when you get wildfire like this, the law of many eyes kicks in and some eyes found editorials posted in the Times past that contained the word rubbish.

I am saddened by the Chapter 11 status of GM. The NYT is on the same path. A consortium of colleges may save them (see Freepress) but the Internet has destroyed their revenue structure.

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