Tuesday July 23, 2019
 

Dream On

This article envisions what will happen on the moon in the next 50 years.  It is a dream that might have a smack of reality to it.  We know with 50 years of hindsight that going to the lunar surface is a hard and dangerous task.  Once we get there, the landscape is hostile and unfit for life.  Everything to support humans must be ferried in and resupplied.  To undertake continuous habitation would be an enormously expensive undertaking for any country, nations or corporations.  And, what return is there but research?  Exploiting the resources of the moon requires machinery, large scale installations that must be sent from earth.  That won’t be easy or practical for a long time, if ever.  While it is fun to think about living on the moon, a continuous presence there won’t be achievable for some time.  That makes articles like this space publicity and not PR.

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Smart Marketing And PR

This is smart marketing and PR.  Even drivers with automatic toll payment in their cars would like to know what driving a road will cost.  In fact, they have more of an incentive than those who stop and pay a toll taker because automatic payments are deducted from one’s account without a receipt.  Waze is launching the addition to its system in the US and Canada and will expand it elsewhere in the world in the months to come.  It is a good idea well executed.  

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From Anywhere

Criticisms can come from anywhere and become a crisis.  Consider this.  A conservative group is protesting a brief scene in Pixar’s Toy Story 4 because they say it shows lesbians.  There is little indication in the movie that this is so, but they have read into the scene and say it isn’t for young children.  Disney, Pixar’s owner, will now need to defend the animation, especially if the charge becomes viral.  The film has already earned more than $650 million so Disney might not be too worried, but it is a reminder that nothing is safe in the internet age. 

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Second Guessing

No matter what a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court does, he is caught in second guessing of decisions, particularly if he is a swing vote.  It would normally be a tough PR position but for the fact that justices are insulated from the opinion of the public.  Chief Justice Roberts has taken controversial stances of late and ticked off both conservatives and liberals, but there is little they can do except vent.  He is apparently charting his own course through the law and one that is not visible at the moment.  So, commentators on both sides of the aisle speculate about what he is up to.  Roberts isn’t saying nor should one expect him to.  Justices want to be seen as impartial even when they aren’t.  

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Wasn’t Ready.

Joe Biden now says he wasn’t ready for the attack on him by fellow Democratic candidate for President, Senator Kamala Harris, in the recent debate.  The question is why not.  Biden has a long legislative record, and he knows he must defend it during the lead-up to and in the primaries.  He has been taking the stance of a front-runner who is above the mud and wrestling other candidates are engaged in.  It isn’t working.  Commentators are noting that he seems unprepared, and his ratings are slowly falling.  From a campaign marketing perspective, he needs a new approach — better briefings, more time in give-and-take Q&As, a willingness to call into question other candidates’ records.  In other words, he should not divorce himself from the others but work hard to rise.  Does he have the energy to do that and the understanding that he needs to?  Ensuing weeks will tell.  Should he fall back, he will have only himself to blame.

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Expensive

Walmart is learning that taking on Amazon is expensive.  It is set to lose a billion dollars this year as it grows its online business.  This has apparently ignited tensions inside the company as executives jockey for power.  Walmart might be forgetting that Amazon itself lost billions as it built market share.  There was a point when financial analysts were asking if Bezos could pull it off.  Even when the company turned the corner, its profits were small as Bezos kept diverting funds for other growth prospects.  Walmart might be facing the same road to gaining online presence, and it is a question of how long the company can accept the bleeding.  The company might not be used to this kind of profitless growth.  One shouldn’t be surprised if Walmart cuts back on its online effort, which would be a PR blow.

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Taking The Blame — Sort Of

Samsung’s chief of mobile phones has publicly taken the blame for the failures of its fold-out phone.  He says he released it too early.  This belated PR move is proper but hardly enough.  There are many waiting with pre-orders for the instrument who now don’t know when they will get it, if ever.  Samsung itself said that errors like this are to be expected in a company that is constantly pushing the boundaries.  That’s a poor excuse.  If the phones had been tested adequately before they were announced, the company would have seen they were not ready for reviewers.  As it was, the fold-out screens began to fail right away.  A company can take a PR gaffe like this occasionally, but it needs to be careful.  Once it gains a reputation for buggy products, it will lose customers for good.

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Better Than Nothing?

Ten Democratic candidates for president “debate” tonight and 10 more tomorrow night.  There is no time for them to get into issues and there are too many of them.  They are in the stage because it is a first — and perhaps, last — chance to be in the national limelight.  For most, it won’t make much difference but it might be better than nothing.  Viewership will likely be low for this evening and lower tomorrow.  It is the kind of affair that only political “junkies” like.  The mass of voters either aren’t paying attention at this early stage or are waiting for the field to thin.  From a PR perspective, it isn’t an ideal event but it is a “must-do” to be taken seriously by supporters.  Right now, none of them have many, and they face months of campaigning before they will.  

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Essential

It is essential for  online information purveyors to catch cheaters because crooks diminish the credibility of the companies’ services. Consider Google Maps.  Millions of businesses have posted false location and phone information in order to dupe potential customers.  Google is working hard to root them out, but it has a long way to go, and it is a never-ending task.  Google can’t afford to have users turn from its mapping program because they no longer trust it.  So too, competitors.  When companies started posting business locations on their maps, little did they know it would be a problem down the road.  They have had to scramble to delist cheaters and the exercise has become a major activity.  It is a lesson many technologists have yet to learn.  Every good service has bad actors who will subvert it.

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Off For A Week

I’m taking a week off while traveling.  I’ll be back Monday, June 24.  

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