Scoble just sent over a signed copy of his book, “Naked Conversations” (inscription: Dear Jerry Yang– hang in there!!! Robert) and included a handwritten note of advice which is so good that I am reproducing it in full here. I wish I could scan it and show you the actual note so you could see the loopy, childish scrawl. One bit of perspective: the “lunch meeting” that Robert refers to in his opening sentence? We ran into each other in a men’s room at CES in Vegas. I’m pretty sure he followed me in there, in fact. Our “meeting” lasted just long enough for me to take a leak while he stood at the urinal next to me, jabbering away. Then he trailed me to the sinks and my security guy, thank God, got in between us.
Anyway. Here’s the note.
Thank you again for our brief but productive lunch meeting at CES last January. I was glad to have the chance to share with you some of my thoughts about media, marketing and the Internet, and I was glad that you found my perspective useful. I’m sure you’re busy and stressed out these days but I wanted to offer a little more advice, this time tailored specifically to your current situation. To help you get started I’ve enclosed a copy of my book, Naked Conversations, and I’ve highlighted the key parts and put marker tape on the pages that you should read immediately. Red tape is highest priority, blue tape is secondary, green is thirderary.
Jerry, as someone who has been to Davos and who has spent a good deal of time in the hot glare of the publicity spotlight I believe I can relate to what you’re going through right now. I know just how hot those lights can be, trust me. Very hot! Whic is really not good, especially if, like me, you’re the type who sweats a lot to begin with.
My advice to you, and look, take this or not, don’t feel like you have to do what I tell you or anything, but my advice is to be as open as possible. This is going to sound a little counterintuitive, but it’s my opinion that in a crisis type situation you need to get out in front of this thing. Tell your side of the story and get your version out there in EVERY way available. Remember that you don’t NEED the media! You ARE the media!
You’ve started blogging. That’s a GREAT start. You should be PODCASTING too. Have you considered that? I’d be happy to help you. I’ve got cameras, editing software, etc., and could be at your place in an hour. Also if you need help writing scripts or whatever. Though honestly I think you’re better off just doing what I do and saying whatever comes into your head, just speak the way you naturally do. Yes it’s disjointed and rambling and even incoherent but it rings true and comes across as honest and transparent when when it’s totally not.
Jerry, you need to get out there and win this PR war. The press is against you. Carl Icahn and the other activist shareholders are whipping up a frenzy. You need to answer that in kind with a tsunami of your own. Overwhelming force. In addition to your blogging and podcasting you should be putting up videos on Yahoo (and, I’m sorry, but you should be using YouTube too) plus hitting Facebook full-time and friending everyone you can. The MORE friends you have, the LESS likely you are to get fired. Remember high school? Same deal. Also, get on Twitter and start hitting that HEAVILY. Again if you need help setting up accounts or figuring any of this stuff out you can call me and I’ll come over and get you going. Tumblr is another one you should be using, plus FriendFeed where just this morning I’ve posted more than 3,000 items, along with Bluepulse which I think is the hottest social networking site right now and Kyte.tv which I believe will DOMINATE the cell phone video space.
Finally, just FYI, in addition to my work at Fast Company I have launched a communications consulting practice centered around social media, and would be glad to come aboard with you and your team during this period. I’d also be happy to discuss having Yahoo sponsor my show on FastCompanyTV alongside Seagate and SAP. Can’t promise positive press just because you pay us lots of money but come on. When you get to the end of this note, go back and read it again only this time examine the space between the lines. (Get it?)
I hope you don’t mind but I’ll be putting up a video this afternoon covering some of these same points in a kind of “open letter to Jerry” format which I’ll then Twitter and link on my blog and propagate on FriendFeed. Just trying to help! I’m a huge fan. Keep up the great work.