CEO Follows Advice of Deity, Decides to Blog

Part II from the Forrester Marketing Forum held in Los Angeles, April 7-9, 2008. Part I, Understanding Customer Engagement is here.

Forrester’s CEO, George Colony led off the second day with a talk entitled Confessions of a CEO Blogger. As he tells the story, he had a dream some years ago in which a deity-like voice spoke to him and said, “start blogging.” He ignored it (not a surprise for a CEO). But with all the fuss and hype blogging is getting these days he started to feel like it might be the right time. After all, two of his top analysts, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff just published a book called Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. Personally I think he was a little worried about disregarding divine direction.

 George’s confessions are.

  1. No one is reading my blog.
  2. What do you mean once a week? I’ve got a company to run.
  3. Why does blog technology suck?
  4. It’s like speaking into a dark room and not getting any response.
  5. Where’s the money in this thing?

During his presentation he asked one of his analysts and respected blogger, Jeremiah Owyang, to take the mic and explain why he should give away his intellectual property for free on a blog. Jeremiah responded by saying that he thought of his blog as if it was a restaurant. He gives away the appetizers, but hopes people will come in and order the main meal. Obviously George wonders that his business, which is all about research and analysis, might lose monetary value through social networking. Certainly he gets paid to think about these things, and this concern is probably at the heart of why more CEO’s don’t blog.

George gets it, has a great sense of humor, and a sharp mind as you can read for yourself on his blog here. Please read so he doesn’t stop writing. Despite running a big, intellectual organization he is well grounded. A project manager partner of mine attended some Forrester sessions on Monday and then sat next to George at dinner. The report was he went out of his way asking people what they wanted to get out of the forum, and made everyone feel comfortable. When my colleague spoke up, he took a to do note. Impressive.

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