So bigshot Wired reporter Fred Vogelstein landed what he thinks is a huge coup. While reporting a story on Microsoft, he received by accident a copy of Microsoft’s PR prep notes on him — some PR flack made a mistake and sent it to him. Fred runs the whole thing here with a kind of breathless Woodstein and Bernward glee. I guess it doesn’t occur to him that in the description of how he handled his interviews he comes across as a total moron and a rude prick to boot. Best line in the Microsoft memo: “It takes him a bit to get his thoughts across, so try to be patient.” Ha! Classic.
Anyway, we’ve dealt with Fred too, but he’s usually been very kind to us, as in this story where he said Apple controls the living room. But in the spirit of “radical transparency” our PR people thought it would be a good idea for us to share some of Apple’s dossier on Fred. The following notes come from the prep memo I received from our PR folks before Fred’s last visit, a couple of years ago, when he was still at Fortune.
FR: Steve Dowling
RE: Vogelstein visit
* It’s STINE, not STEEN. Get it right! He’s sensitive.
* Fred is physically unattractive and kind of a schlump. Try not to stare at him or make him uncomfortable. Do not make fun of his clothes or his haircut. NB: You will be tempted!
* Fred, like many reporters, suffers from “The Curse of the Schwartz,” meaning he’s not very bright but thinks he’s super super bright. Pretend you’re interested in his opinions.
* Fred’s SAT scores: 450 verbal, 420 math. Just FYI.
* Fred lost his virginity at age 27, on a vacation in Thailand, and has taken LSD once. He has never brought a woman to orgasm.
* Fred drives a 1998 Toyota Celica and doesn’t realize it’s a “chick car.”
* Fred, while traveling, runs up very large bills for hotel room on-demand porn. He tends to buy the all-you-can-eat 24-hour packages rather than ordering a single film.
* Fred has been at Fortune for a couple of years. We expect he’ll suck up to SJ big-time in order to curry favor with Kirkpatrick and Schlender, both former concubines to SJ.
* We predict Fred soon will leave Fortune and end up someplace less prestigious, perhaps Business 2.0 or Wired, where he will do pretentious faux-HBR articles about radical new “trends” in business that aren’t actually happening.
* Fred tends to “blow with the wind.” He’ll sing the praises of a company one day, then turn around and savage them the next. We predict in the future some blog like Valleywag will take him to task for this. Just remember, if he’s been nice to you in the past, that doesn’t mean he’ll be nice to you now.
* Fred’s mind works at a “majestic” (read: glacial) pace. He rambles. He says, “ah…” and “um…” a lot. For an idea of what to expect, zip into the future and view this video clip which Microsoft will post on its web site in early 2007. You will probably need Internet Explorer to view this, however.