Monday, February 9, 2009

CEO Blogging and Corporate Image

A blog from the CEO of a major corporation can have some major media benefits, but it's also important to consider the possible risks. The main thing to consider is that a CEO blog effectively turns the CEO into the company's public spokesman. This seems fine for charismatic, down-to-earth CEOs (imagine if Frank Perdue in his heyday had been able to blog about his chickens), but not everyone who has the skills to climb the corporate ladder has that sort of personality. Even for those who do, there are long-term image risks.

CEOs don't live forever, and in today's business environment, a company should consider itself lucky if a CEO even lasts long enough for old age to be what causes him to leave. The point is, CEOs come and CEOs go, but you want your company's image to be permanent. What happens when consumers and investors get to know and trust a CEO's blog, only to discover he's guilty of fraud, or involved in a social scandal, or simply leaving the company for whatever reason?

In short, various executive boards, if you're going to let your CEO out onto the internet, make sure you have a contingency plan.

Cost vs. Benefit of XML

We've seen in class that XML is an extremely powerful data sharing tool, but it should be noted, as with any information technology, that the benefits should still be carefully compared to the cost. Many people make the mistake of assuming that the newest technological breakthrough is always the best, whereas in actuality, that's highly dependent on the situation.

An excellent example of this is using XML for music. XML is certainly much better than scanning sheet music when collaborating with someone over the internet, particularly if the music then needs to be interpreted by a computer for a MIDI file or something similar. However, a local band simply sharing their sheet music with each other, not needing it to actually be interpreted by the computer at all, would likely be better served simply scanning the paper copy of the music than either taking the time to write it as XML, or buying a program designed to do so.

This is a rather silly example, but it does illustrate the point that any technology, no matter how wonderful, is never the solution for everyone. There are benefits, and there are costs, and it only makes sense to incur the costs if the benefits are ones that are useful in your situation.