I’ve Got Your Back (But We’re Not Talking Obama)

I've Got Your Back Obama

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Over the weekend, my six year old PC finally breathed its last, surrendering to the dreaded blue screen of death one final time.

Without the funds to acquire my coveted MacBook Air, I went to plan B: another PC that I’ve been saving for just this moment. It’s a newer (only four years old, versus six) PC that hasn’t been powered up in about four months. So on startup, I needed to update software, virus protection, and then bring iTunes (including all the apps I use on my phone) current.

Somewhere in that process, I lost about 40 apps that were on my iPhone but for some reason not synced to my profile. Now begins the long and painful process of finding and reloading those apps – one by one – and rearranging them on my phone’s more than 9 screens. Yikes.

My dilemma brought to mind something we should always be aware of in the PR world: backup and contingency plans.

We always aim high, and plan to succeed. But this world also hands us a fair share of “what if things go wrong” and so we need to have a couple aces up our sleeves at all times.

A few thoughts:

1. Have a backup plan and a backup man (or woman): You can’t be the boss all the time. Sooner or later, you’ll need to delegate, and that means having a wingman who is as well-versed in the big picture of what you’re trying to accomplish as you are. Appoint a backup man at the start of your planning process to make the inevitable bumps smoother.

2. Plan for the worst, hope for the best: We all want our campaigns to run smoothly. But the world is full of chaos, and we need to be ready for it. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Plan for that and you’ll never be surprised.

3. Let your client know there’s a backup in place: There are some folk who like to practice “mushroom PR” – that is, keeping everyone in the dark because you think they will complicate things. While you want to save a client from your minutiae, your most potent weapon is your client having faith in you, and you can only accomplish that by demonstrating to them that you’ve got everything covered.

What’s your backup plan?

RIP, Steve Jobs

Red Apple

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I let out an audible gasp upon hearing the news. I don’t gasp, but this was one of those moments.

So much will be said and written in the coming days about Steve Jobs and his contributions to technology. But he was more than a computer guy, gadget maker or technological innovator. His creations went far beyond that little magic brick in your pocket. He literally changed the world.

For better or for worse (and I think better) Jobs can be credited with:

iTunes forced music companies to rethink distribution, and all but abandoned the concept of the “record store.” Purchasing music, movies and books instantly, the moment you want them, is now the norm.

– He created a new economic model with the 99-cent song and provided a platform to buy only what you wanted, obliterating the concept of the “album.”

Mac-based music and video production put once expensive tools into amateurs’ hands, allowing art that may never have been able to be made to flourish and spread. And make money where they might never have.

Pixar created a treasure trove of movies and opened new pathways of storytelling. There’s a slew of Academy Awards that were basically created for this genre of movie-making.

The major telcos are far richer because of the iPhone and have created entire divisions solely dedicated to making sure voice and data pushed across their networks function properly. The explosion in subscribers and the data they consume is directly attributable to iPhone, which paved the way for all other similar devices.

Running after Apple is an industry unto itself, with thousands employed in the sport. Hundreds of magazines, books, reporters and publishing companies owe their existence and profitability to covering Apple products.

To say Steve Jobs will be missed hardly does his passing justice, because our world won’t get to see where he was going to take us next.