Getting Good Press

Scott Jones is a local technology entrepreneur. He made his first big splash when he was still in his 20s by working night and day for three months to create a new (and much better) voicemail system for telephone companies. The system’s success allowed him to retire in his early 30s. Retirement didn’t fit so he’s been involved in a series of startup ventures since. You can read all about him easily because he’s the cover story of the most recent Fortune Small Business.

Now I’ve met Scott many times — probably enough that he recognizes my face but would have a hard time putting a name with it. He’s a nice guy, and, while he isn’t afraid to spend extravagently, being filthy rich hasn’t made him as insufferable as others with less wealth. By the same token, he’s hardly the genial, easygoing guy that FSB describes, which leads to my point. Controlling the message is far more important than controlling the facts. I’m not trying to say that Scott’s story isn’t true in every detail given. I’m just saying that a deeper investigation might find more blemishes than his eating with a three foot long fork. Scott didn’t become the cover story by accident. Someone responsible for getting good press for Scott Jones is getting the credit for this coup, I’ll bet.

This happens all the time. You get more fired up when people talk about a “Death Tax” than an inheritance tax. “War” on anything is better than crackdowns, which are better than reduction programs. Of course, 90 percent lean is far better than 10 percent fat. I’m sure you get the point, and probably are already thinking of your favorite examples.

Now you’re really thinking of examples, aren’t you? That’s because I just pre-conditioned you to think about them — a simple proof of the importance of controlling the message.