Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Not the valuable prize I was looking for.........

Until I finished the first couple of chapters of Robert Scoble "The New Rules of Marketing & PR," I had viewed this blog as more of a diary than a business tool to engage others in an ongoing dialog. Today, that's going to change. About 10 days ago, I had written an entry about Jim Poage, the president of SATAI. Jim was the featured guest speaker at a technology mixer put on by friend and colleague, John Hill. I pulled that blog because I didn't want to offend some of my clients.

When Jim spoke on the ongoing technology in San Antonio, he engaged his audience by asking questions about technology. Get the right answer, and you got to put your name into a hat with the winner getting a prize. Well, I got the right answer to one question, and I contributed my business card into the prize bin, thinking that the prize offered by Mr. Poage might have been something of value. As Jim pulled the card from his hat, he announced that the winner got Spurs tickets. When he announced my name, I had visions of taking my son or daughter to a Spurs game during the NBA championship. Instead, I got these joke tickets for the Hickam Spurs (see my scanned image above.)

I worked for Jim on publicizing his SATAI annual banquet. Until I got the contract for this event, the organization had never gotten a supplement from the San Antonio Business Journal for this event. When that organization agreed to provide a 14-page supplement to SATAI, it helped publicized the growth of technology in San Antonio. In addition to this supplement, I also got coverage in the Express News and the SA Business Journal. If you know about the competitive nature of both, you'll know that it's pretty hard to get both to cover a story, but I manage in the words of Larry the Cable Guy to "get ur done."

Having worked with Jim on the PR and also as the field producers for his SATAI banquet videos, I know that he thinks he has a good sense of humor. And yet, I left that night with a pretty bad taste in my mouth about him and SATAI. Had I been still working for him as his publicist, I would have told him to find a pen or pencil set to give out as prizes or a $25 gift certificate from a local merchant.

But I am not working for Jim, nor do I think we can work together. As his publicist, I would tell him to never make fun of something as revered as the Spurs. Instead, I would have told him that the focus should be on promoting the great technology in San Antonio.

I doubt that few people realize this, but our city has a great wealth of technologies, most notably in security, web development and medical technology. IF I was still working for SATAI, I would have told him to focus on that message instead of asking questions like: "What popular magazine predicted that computers would never weigh less than a ton in 1948?"

Here's hoping that the SATAI board gets the message and helps Jim change his presentations. We need someone professional like Randy Goldsmith to help our growing cluster of technology grow. If you're not working in the technology space, you should know about the great technology base that this city has fostered and nurtured. Jim Poage needs to focus his message on what we're doing not what happened in 1948.

I am going to send this blog to a couple of people on the SATAI board of directors. I had originally pulled a previous blog about Jim because of the fear that some tech leaders might be offended and that it could impact my business. But as Scott notes in his book, a blog should shake things up. At the very least, perhaps it would get Mr Poage to look in his supply closet and find a set of engraved pens to send to me.

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