Tuesday, 13 March 2007

What you read in the news (and in blogs) isn't reality: An example

I scan a lot of technology weblogs, and it has been fascinating to see how the recent New York Times report on the hiring of Paul Mercer by Palm has been echoed all over the blogosphere. The story seems to have some sort of special iconic importance to a lot of people; they view it as a response to the iPhone, or as a milestone indicating trouble for Palm.

Paul's a good guy, he had a nice reputation at Apple, but it bewilders me that the Times picked up on that particular hire. There has been a ton of change in Palm's marketing and product marketing organization in the last year, starting long before the iPhone. Two of the leaders in the team left, and Palm recently hired Brodie Keast to run the whole thing (Brodie is a very senior, longtime veteran of Apple, Tivo, and a bunch of other places). Brodie reorganized marketing, some iconic Palm veterans have left (including Rob Haitani*), and Brodie has brought in some new people. There hasn't been a peep about any of that on the New York Times, or any blog I read. But Paul's hiring gets a ton of play.

We're told that blogs act as a supplement to the mainstream press, digging out the real stories and adding lots of missing detail. But sometimes the press and blogosphere together are just a big echo chamber. In this case, I think everybody has missed the real story, a longer-term changing of the guard at the company. Weird.

*That's what I was told by a Palm employee, but I haven't seen an official announcement, so please view it as a strong rumor until there's confirmation.

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