Friday, May 1, 2009

Quality or PR?

Back when I was a wee lad, quite some years ago, I was staunchly convinced quality beat public relations; I truly expected that if anyone was really good he (or she) would rise to the top based merely on the quality of their abilities. Since in the days of my wee-dom advertising executives enjoyed the status that Wall Street humbugs enjoyed in 2007, you can see that I was a contrarian even then.

Then life taught me otherwise. Quality is a fine thing, surely, but PR is better, and sharp elbows are bestest, especially when used to create fine PR to cover one's pushiness.

I have just finished reading the second book in a row that claims that quality is a necessary condition for success. The first, which I mentioned a while ago, was Guy Kawasaki's The Art of Start. The second is even more troubling, as it focuses entirely on how to get word out to the masses: Emanual Rosen's The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited; Real-life Lessons in Word-of-Mouth Marketing.

I must say this insistence on an idea I gave up on many years ago is disconcerting.


David Boxenhorn said...

This is the next book that you must read:

It will fill in the gaps (in a lot of things).

אם תרצה לשאול את זה ממני תגיד ואהיה בקשר אתך. אני גר לא רחוק ממך. שבת שלום - דוד

ysh said...

Quality never beats public relations. Microsoft is the proof. Their bug-riddled, insecure software nevertheless runs most of the world's personal computers.

That's why I can't understand why the Israeli government can't get its act together in hasbara. The other side has been winning the hasbara war for many years. Michael Oren may end up being an extremely effective spokesman, however.

Anonymous said...

in ordinary office wars quality does not win for at least two reasons:
1. quality takes real work. If you want to solve a problem in quality style it takes a lot of minute tinkering, a lot of thinking and a lot of often quite boring toiling. Bosses who prefer that to the simple "oh we just have to ..." are quite rare and will never make it to the very top themselves because they tend to be bad at "oh we just have to ..."-easy-fixing also.
2. whoever delivers better quality than normal in his/her environment makes all colleagues feel uneasy because only as long as all operate on the same level of qualification they may feel reasonably safe from often quite rude demands to invest time and money in schooling and self-improving. Therefore it is a very reasonable strategy from their point of view of ridiculing the one with the superior or wider spread abilities or aspirations. So if you are not able to combine quality with intrigue or other power pushing strategies it is best to bow to their majority which the smartest thinker and hardest worker I ever encountered actually did, thereby exchaning a well deserved real career for peaceful if kind of humiliating working hours.

All in all I have seen in almost 50 years more windbags than solid ones make it and I still do not quite know how the solid ones could have changed their ways to get their well deserved rewards.

Anyway I keep trying to solve that riddle ...


Gavin said...

Maybe you're looking at it the wrong way Yaacov. Quality PR does beat bad PR.

We used to have an old saying in the sales business. You can invent the world's greatest product but the world still won't beat a path to your doorstep. You have to get out there and sell it.

Cheers, Gavin