This post is part of the blog interview series called “Put the Turd on the Table” which consists of quick email interviews with key players in the media. Truthfully, I’ve been overwhelmed by the responses. At the end of the day, the objective is to allow media people to give PR people insight that will help us become more effective and less annoying. Generating a few laughs along the way would be a welcomed bonus! In the spirit of the true essence of the blogosphere, all responses will be posted verbatim without any edits.
I have no doubt the responses from my next interview will generate a tremendous deal of discussion. Dan Lyons has been a senior editor at Forbes since 1998. He writes the Digital Tools column for the print edition of the magazine. Last August, much to everyone’s surprise, Dan was outed by The New York Times as Fake Steve Jobs, the anonymous blogger using the persona of Apple’s CEO to ― as the NYT put it ― “mercilessly skewer the tech industry, the media, and most of all, Jobs himself.” Dan is the author of Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs. He has also published The Last Good Man, an award-winning collection of short stories, and Dog Days, a nasty funny novel set in Boston. Something tells me after this post Dan will be unanimously anointed “Most Loved” by PR people around the world!
The following are Steve…’er I mean Dan’s unedited responses to my questions:
1. Things I respond well to:
Dan: I’m all about relationships. I want to get to know you, and maybe even love you, before I use and degrade you. I like a sense of humor. Long walks on the beach. I also respond very well to Sarah Lacy of BusinessWeek, though I’m afraid she does not respond so well to me.
2. Things that send me over the edge:
Dan: I must be the only hack who doesn’t hate PR people. Honestly, I always hear these stories about reporters flipping out about something some PR person did; and I always think the reporter seems like an idiot. Who cares about some tiny perceived slight or little mistake like not knowing my exact beat or my name and title? Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick.
I’ve got a lot of friends who work in PR and honestly I’ve heard way worse stories from them about what they have to deal with when contacting the filthy grubby media whores like me. For example, I just read Sarah Lacy’s answers to your questions and I’m appalled. Who the Christ does this woman think she is? Folks, let me assure you, we’re not all as obnoxious and egomaniacal as Sarah. Although, sadly, I must admit that too many filthy hacks are, in fact, just that horrible. My general sense is that obnoxiousness among hacks is inversely proportional to their actual importance. Ergo, the least important hacks have the most attitude. For a hilarious and extreme example, check out the website of the Internet press guild (http://www.netpress.org/), a tremendous bunch of absolute losers (you really must check out their photos, see here: http://www.netpress.org/roster.html) and then check out their preposterous guide for PR people to follow (see here: http://www.netpress.org/careandfeeding.html). Can you imagine the balls on these fools? They’re lucky anyone ever calls them at all, for anything. Who the frig do these filthy hacks think they are? Get over yourselves, you morons. You’re a hack at some newspaper or magazine, not a CEO or a celebrity. Guess what. The whole world doesn’t follow your every little move, you self-centered, self-important retard. You’re a hack. Okay? You’re not the subject of the story. You’re not the one who did the cool stuff. You’re the poor bastard who writes about the people who do the cool stuff. Get a friggin grip.
Folks in PR, on behalf of everyone in my so-called “profession,” let me offer a profound apology to each and every one of you hardworking PR people who have to put up with us. We’re horrible. I’m sorry. And you’re just trying to make a living. I know that. Same for me. My feeling is, let’s all be friends. If you
pitch me a story and I can’t use it, no problem. I’ll tell you. No big deal. So call me. Or send email. Don’t worry about not knowing that I live in Boston, or getting my name wrong. It’s Dan, but Dave or David are close enough. Some people call me “Daniel” because that’s what my byline says and you know what? That’s okay too. So please get in touch. Seriously. I’m just sitting here waiting for the phone to ring. Not really. Don’t just call. Send email first. Okay? We square?
3. Favorite horror story about a PR person (no need to name names – not trying to out anyone):
Dan: There is a certain PR guy at Waggener Edstrom who made a bet with me and lost and is supposed to make a video of himself dancing on a desk. I’m still waiting. Typical Microsoft. Say one thing, do another. I realize this is not really a horror story. I’m sorry. It’s the best I can do.
4. Favorite Web 2.0 addiction:
Dan: I have 2 Facebook accounts (one for me, one for Fake Steve) but I never check them anymore. Too much work and who has the time? I guess I would say that I’m clean and sober when it comes to Web 2.0 addictions.
Do you think Dan is alone in his turdless perspective?