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Ready, set, spin!

Positive spin is something high-tech PR people constantly strive for, especially if they work at Apple. Now, flacks at two Silicon Valley companies, Netscape and Sun, are planning a PR Olympics in an effort to keep their spin muscles limber and have a little fun at the same time, Skinny hears.

    Some jerk in a Merc wrecked my Yugo the other day, sending it straight it to the big junkyard in the sky. All it took was about 2 mph of speed and 3 tons of Teutonic steel, and my Balkan Bullet, as I affectionately referred to it, crumpled like an empty can of Bud. My insurance adjuster tried to put a positive spin on the situation, telling me that I was lucky to survive given the Yugo crash fatality statistics.

    Positive spin is something high-tech PR people constantly strive for, especially if they work at Apple. Now, flacks at two Silicon Valley companies, Netscape and Sun, are planning a PR Olympics in an effort to keep their spin muscles limber and have a little fun at the same time, Skinny hears.

    This decathlon of spin doctoring will feature a range of events, including the PR equivalents of the 100-yard dash (find the executive for the reporter with the 5-minute deadline), the shot put (the human Rolodex challenge), and the javelin (defend your technology against a Microsoft broadside). Extra marks for creativity will go to the PR person who produces the best joint press release on a Sun-Netscape human cloning API. The games are scheduled to commence in mid-May.

    On second thought, maybe Sun's PR muscles don't need any limbering. This week, one of the company's outside agencies, GCI, sprang Kerri Strug-like into action after email servers at Microsoft Network crapped out last week. GCI spammed reporters with a message impugning the scalability of Windows NT, the servers that run MSN, while touting Sun Solaris as the he-man operating system that could have handled the job. "MSN subscribers would not have experienced even a minute of downtime" if the online service had used Solaris, the missive said.

    Of course, opportunism such as this is more common in the high-tech industry than fleas on a dog. But Sun's message had an element of hubris that could come back to bite Scott McNealy and company on their noses.

    It's the ears, not the nose that counts at Disney. I'm told the Mousketeers may soon reshuffle the executive team at Disney Online, shifting president Jake Winebaum over to operate one or more of the Web sites Disney now runs with Starwave. According to spies inside within the Mouse's earshot, Winebaum may end up with a hand in ESPNet SportsZone or ABC News.com. Why doesn't anyone ask me to run a Web site? Probably because I'd blow the budget ordering bagels every day. Email me your career ambitions, bagel stories, and, of course, your rumors.