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Lutz, Marriott and Schwartz go down memory lane

General Motors vice chairman Bob Lutz took the fast lane in Australia and returned with two enriching experience: the “passion for excellence and dedication to the product” of the car-guys in the “The Wonderful World of Oz” and the drive he took in the “first fully representative prototype” of the Camaro (The GM website describes it as: When you are really good in your past life, you come back as yourself). In narrating his experience through his blog, Lutz invited equal number of curious and critical comments on both, his praise for the “want to win” Aussie team as well as the Camaro. Surprisingly, Lutz failed to highlight the fact that this year is the 40th anniversary of the Chevrolet Camaro. Marriott International CEO Bill Marriott too has an interesting anecdote to share with his readers on “Marriot on the move” through “A Tip on Tipping in Restaurants“. Marriott begins with “It’s always important to remember those who serve” and although his anecdote talks about an incident that happened in the ’30s, Marriott urges his readers to “Think about that when you dine out at your favorite restaurant.” 

The most popular CEO blogger, Sun Microsystem’s Jonathan Schwartz talks about his experience after meeting with technologist from the telecommunications, media and the entertainment industry. Titled “Going Bollywood“, Schwartz set the cat among the pigeons among his readers. One post said “If there is a pun in this, I fail to see it.” However, ardent technology-oriented readers stuck to the more important parts of the blogs: Sun’s ZFS file system and why it matters more to the media and the entertainment industries. Schwart also answered questions from Debbie Weil that includes: “Why don’t more CEOs blog? Lack of time? Fear? Inability to write well?”  

The answer to the question still remains an enigma for many, even considering Schwartz’s quirky reply to it: “The best advice I have for anyone that’s considering blogging: blog only if you feel compelled to communicate in writing [the italics are mine], through the good times and bad, and to always be authentic.”  

There isn’t any Fortune CEO blogger besides Schwartz and Marriott although there are quite a few corporations in the blogosphere. Take the case of Dell. It launched “Direct2Dell” with an objective of “one-2-one communication with Dell” but its CEO Michael Dell doesn’t blog despite its doctrine of “the best way to understand and serve our customers is to talk to them directly – or one2one – around the world.”

Critics who assert that CEOs should not blog back their claim saying that this expectation and demand for open communication may require a CEO to discuss insights about the company he is leading, such as, company strategy, lawsuits, regulations, product development and movement of the company’s share price. They say such written communication could be pounced on by employees, regulators, lawyers, competitors, and investors, creating a sticky situation for the CEO blogger.

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