Elon Musk is smart enough to know the black art of media relations

Posted: February 14, 2013 in PR, Silicon Valley
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Not exactly the image an exec wants to project

 

I love the whole idea of sleek, powerful electric cars. And I was impressed as hell one evening last month when I heard Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, hold forth at the Computer History Museum. One smart guy, to say the least. But “smart” is rarely the problem when it comes to CEOs, especially the media-savvy ones. Sometimes they can’t help stubbing their toes. Over the years I’ve seen a clear pattern. Big shots who’ve basked in the glow of an adoring press hit a rough patch for one reason or another and the Valentines stop coming. Reaction? They insist that they’ve been bamboozled by the media. Which is basically Musk’s complaint today over John Broder’s thumbs-down review of the new Musk-mobile, the Model S.  Good Morning Silicon Valley spotlighted it today, along with Musk’s astonishing attack on Broder’s integrity, going so far as to insist that the NYT conduct an investigation.  Such grievances made in public usually get rich and famous executives nothing but more grief.  Take it from this media-relations veteran. Far better to work the issue privately, behind the boardroom doors in mid-town Manhattan.  Musk, who has led a charmed life when it comes to PR, and who should know better, has the juice (pun intended) to do exactly that. He’d be well advised to put it to work.  Public excoriations of the press make you look and sound like the antithesis of what you need to project.

 

(When he’s not ranting on this blog, Stan DeVaughn creates non-controversial content at Write Angle writing agency for early-stage technology companies who want more quality leads and higher conversion rates.)

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