Nestle engages with anti-Nestle blogger

This is good stuff. An executive at Nestle answered back a blogger who said some harsh things about Nestle. I hope they start a blog and show us what it’s like working at Nestle and how they are working to improve their company. I usually don’t like being attacked but, on aggregate, I learn a lot more from those who don’t like me than those who do.

Nestle just became a little more human due to a letter from George. I appreciate that a senior executive is fighting for his company’s reputation! I want to do business with people like that.

As to Nestle, I haven’t met a corporation yet that is perfect and doesn’t mess with people’s lives in some way or another. The trick is to have some transparency into those decisions and some sort of dialog so that we can 1. hear why a company made an “evil” decision and 2. try to influence decision makers to make a better decision that is better for everyone.

It’s interesting, but as I looked for evil I just found people who made decisions the best they could. The pressures on you to please shareholders and boards of directors are extreme. How can we counteract those pressures, even a little bit? I think it starts with conversations. How can we work together to make the world a better place?

Unfortunately humans rarely think like that. Just witness the mess in the Middle East right now.

Molly is right — speaking shouldn’t be done for free

Molly Holtzschlag (famous XHTML and Web development expert) writes that she will not speak for food anymore. I’m quickly arriving to the same conclusion. Speaking is fun and all (and good for your career — one speech I did at a Silicon Valley user group back in the mid 1990s got me a $10,000 raise. So far that one speech has made me about $100,000).

But, if you ever get to the place where everyone wants you to speak you find out another truth: traveling too much is hazardous to your health. Not to mention your business. Kelly and Tantek and I had a conversation about this last night.

When I hired speakers I always tried to at least pay their expenses. You simply got better quality speakers when you paid (and speakers didn’t feel so much pressure to pimp their services or products on stage to get paid back). But to be a big company and not even pay that is just not right.

By the way, I’m sorry if I turned down your event. But I have to work on my business right now. Hope you understand.

Thomas Hawk is stalking me

Last night I sauntered to San Francisco for the Valleyschwag party. While there, Thomas Hawk, talented photographer, made several photos. His work is amazing considering there was very little light. These make it look like we were in a studio, rather than munching on chicken skewers in an office.

What’s his trick? Well, he has a Canon 5D. $3,000 camera body. Then he only uses prime lenses. No zooms. Why does that matter? Well, they are fast, so he can shoot in low light without a flash. And they are usually sharper than zooms too.

Downside? When you switch lenses dust gets in and settles on the imaging sensor. He told me he has to clean his sensor at least once a week. Anyway, enjoy the photos.

Here I am with the 18-year-old software developer behind Zoomr, Kris Tate. You know he’s hot when even his competitors are singing his praises:

Here I am with Nivi, who is one smart dude. And Mike Arrington, founder of TechCrunch, my favorite “next Web” news site. I sucked up to him again last night.

In this one Tantek Celik and Kelly Goto talk with me about the downsides of traveling around the world on the conference circuit (and some deep personal stuff, along the lines of my mom’s death). Tantek is the main engineer at Technorati (he also wrote IE on the Mac) and Kelly is one of the most talented designers in the world.

Oh, and no SF geek party would be complete without Gabe Rivera, the guy who developed TechMeme. Yes, he’s wearing an “echo chamber” Hugh Macleod original shirt — I had to point to the Echo Chamber. Heheh. Irina wears the best shirts, though.

More over on Thomas Hawk’s Flickr account and Thomas’ blog.