Tag Archives: Jonathan Schwartz

Blogs allow CEOs permission to stop being ‘corporate’

There aren’t a lot of CEO’s who blog. Still. No one expects that of them. But there are many who -blog-like– speak their mind. So when people ask me for some examples, there are a few I usually refer to.

Kevin Roberts’ blogKR Connect, the blog of the the Australian CEO of Saatchi Worldwide.

Steve Jobs’ blog –actually this is not Steve. It’s the celebrated, outed ‘Fake Steve’ blog, but it’s worth reading…

Mark Cuban’s blog. Calling himself BlogMaverick, Mark has been setting the tone for CEO-speak for a long tome.

Jonathan Schwartz’s blog. I hold Jonathan’s Blog responsible for infecting CEO’s with the idea that it was time to bring social media in from the fringes into the mainstream communication

Schwartz, the former CEO of Sun Microsystems, was frequently called things like ‘blogger in chief‘ for good reason. His blog at Sun set the tone for everyone else blogging at Sun. He was not the kind of person who had one set of communication rules for the corporate office, and another set of rules for the rest.

I’ve interviewed many CEO’s and VPs for articles and podcasts, so know when someone is not comfortable presenting his/her human side just because there’s a microphone or camera in the room. Others don’t even have to switch into homo sapiens mode –they are exactly the same when facing external audiences as they are when communicating to internal groups.

How does your CEO, or client communicate? Are they instant ‘blog material?’ Do you sometimes wish you could capture the big guy’s thoughts in a podcast or blog, knowing that if you ask him to write it down or send it through his PR/legal funnel it would come out as something nonsensical?

I don’t recommend a blog for everyone, but I do know that its discipline and format has a way of giving a senior manager the permission to stop being all stuffed up and corporate, and to be more authentic.


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The end of anachronism? SEC could change Internet disclosure law

It’s been more than a year since Sun Microsystem’s Jonathan Schwartz complained about the Securities and Exchange Commission being slow to recognize that the Internet exists. He and others lobbied for changes to Regulation FD, a 1934 law about guidance and disclosure to investors.

Why wouldn’t blogs serve the role of a press release, he asked? He put it much better than that:

“we have to hold an anachronistic telephonic conference call, or issue an equivalently anachronistic press release, so that the (not so anachronistic) Wall Street Journal can disseminate the news.”

This week, there was a breakthrough. The SEC’s Special Counsel recommended that the SEC give some leeway with an ‘interpretive release’ so that companies could use web sites and electronic channels to release public information.

Too bad the announcement came via this long, convoluted press release from the SEC. I guess they don’t have someone like Cabinet secretary Mike Leavitt to bring some clarity to this via digital means.

Schwartz hasn’t commented on it yet.


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Fake CEO Blogs serve a purpose

There has been a lot of talk about CEO blogs. Not everyone is cut out for it. That’s why there’s a Fake Steve Jobs blog, while the real Steve concentrates on better things. There was as Fake Jonathan Schwartz blog, but it hasn’t been updated for a while. Pity, as the writer does a good job at it dropping names and taking a few swipes.

I don’t know if Richard Branson has the inclination to blog, but his fake Branson blog could very well be his, written in the style of his book, Screw it, just do it.

Fake Steve Ballmer blog headerThe other Steve’s fake blog is more entertaining and revealing. The Steve Ballmer’s fake blog, that is. Consider this post: I’m not Steve Ballmer, not pretending to be me.” How could you resist? The banner (above) ought to win a blog branding award, despite its being a cliche!

So what lesson do you think we could draw from these fake CEO blogs?

Some options:

  • The Chill Out factor: They help the CEO and his/her corporate handlers loosen up in other forms of communication
  • The Holy Guacamole! Test: They give a potential CEO blogger a taste of social media and what lies in store
  • The Fear Factor. It makes the CEO go “That’s it. I ain’t going there!”

But …they could also help this way:

  • Provide valuable feedback because the fake blog is authored by someone who represents a public sentiment. The fake Jeff Skilling blog may be a bit cruel, but it tells you people think about white collar crime.
  • Tell you what the country is thinking –especially if you’re a politician like McCain who plans to be the country’s CEO. Yes, there’s a Fake John McCain blog!

Posted by on July 21, 2008 in Disruptive, Social Media


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