One of the little secrets I've learned is that PR people play a much bigger role in life than geeks often give them credit for. They are major influencers who help shape what story gets written about you. If you write them off or treat them badly, they'll get negative stories written about you. Same as underground influencers, who are really unpaid PR people anyway. Christopher Coulter, for instance, is one of the best networkers the world has ever not known. He has gotten me and Microsoft in more stories than any other single human being that I know about. How did he do that? Emailed his list of hundreds of journalists and gave them both snarky stuff and real news to write about. I keep wishing he'd do a blog, but he likes to play the underground string puller a lot more than being out front about what he's up to. Yeah, me and him have had our fights, but he keeps sending me stuff even though I've been fighting with him in public. I always appreciated that.
Another guy who has done me numerous favors is Frank Shaw, vice president at Waggener Edstrom, one of the PR firms Microsoft uses. He wrote about his relationship with me on his blog.
While those on the outside might think he's just a typical flack I've gotten to know Frank over the years and he's the first guy I'll call if there's a story breaking about Microsoft. Why? Cause he knows everyone. Seriously. And when I say everyone, I mean he could get you onto Bill Gates lunch schedule if he wanted to.
There isn't anyone else like him that I've met. Buzz Bruggeman comes pretty close in terms of networking skills, but I think Frank has even Buzz beat.
He's been internally blogging for a long time and I hear it's pretty good. It'll be interesting to watch his new blog and see how it evolves. I bet that Frank blogs some big stories from Microsoft within the next year. His blog will be the first place I'll look for the inside scoop on what's really going on at Microsoft.
OK, Frank, that IS a challenge to let a little dirty laundry hang out in the public square for us all to gawk at.