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jim goodnight

I get a news digest email several times a day from Local Tech Wire, the biz and tech web outlet of WRAL, our CBS affiliate. The editor, Rick Smith, provides some of the best and most in-depth business coverage in our area. He and colleague Valonda Calloway did a fascinating interview with SAS CEO Jim Goodnight a few weeks ago at our annual Media Day that demonstrated how more traditional news outlets are changing in response to Web 2.0. The interview went all over the place, from SAS’ third quarter results (up more than 12 percent over last year) to Jim’s advice on investing and reflections on how his own portfolio is doing. Rather than boil it down into a few sound bites for the evening news, they put the entire video up on their web site. If it was edited, I don’t know where.

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This morning I got hit by a headline on a wire service article that snapped my head back: “Web 2.0 investments dive in Q3 but cleantech surges.” “Oh, no,” I thought. “Here we go again. The media can’t declare something on the rise without simultaneously sounding the death knell for something else.” We saw the same phenomenon a few weeks ago when Wired declared blogging dead, assassinated by Twitter, Flickr and Facebook. (At roughly the same time I resurrected my blog.)

On reading the piece I realized it’s not taking that direction at all. Venture investment in Web 2.0 startups is down, whereas investment in sustainable energy startups is going up. Still, I’m sure the headline will stick in some people’s minds: Web 2.0 is out, green is in.

I’m glad I work at a company that’s pursuing them both. Not only is our solar farm scheduled to go live in December, but we’ve also broken ground on a new office building and customer visit center that will incorporate a wide variety of green features. And we have a new product, SAS for Sustainability Management, that helps companies measure and manage their environmental impact.

As for 2.0, we have an active Marketing 2.0 Council engaged in understanding 2.0/social media initiatives and strategizing how we can use them effectively. And we’ve just hired our first Social Media Manager (me). No one is talking about how one focus is better than the other. No one is saying, “Let’s stop all this social media nonsense and spend more time on green.” In fact, we’re talking about how social media can help us tell our corporate social responsibility story. It’s a natural fit, when you think of it, and I’ll write more about that as we go along.

One of the many things I’m learning from social media is that we have the capacity to hold many ideas, concepts and pieces of information in our brains at the same time. The multitasking we thought we mastered in the ’90s is but a pale imitation of what we’re capable of now. So we can make room for green and 2.0 at the same time, can’t we?

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