Should a High-Tech Entrepreneur Write a CEO Blog?

While traveling during the summer of 2007, I saw a television news clip on Bill Marriott's blog.  I tried to find the clip, couldn't then and still can't, but what I remember is that Bill Marriott, Chairman and CEO of Marriott International, held up a pad of paper, acknowledged lack of savvy about computers, said he hand wrote the blog's content, but a staff member typed it.  Again, I can't verify the words I remember, but the gist was that he was told by his marketing department that he needed to write a CEO blog.  So he did.

In his very first blog entry, on January 26, 2007, Bill Marriott wrote, "I'm venturing into uncharted territory as I launch this blog. A year ago, I didn't even know what a blog was.”

Towards the end of his first post, Marriott wrote, "Bottom line, I believe in communicating with the customer, and the internet gives me a whole new way of doing that on a global scale. I'd rather engage directly in dialogue with you because that's how we learn and grow as a company."

He's kept at it.

In his April 28, 2009 blog post, Marriott wrote, "Since I began blogging about two and a half years ago, I've learned a lot about the brave new world of communications."

He continued, "And just a few weeks ago, we released another really exciting video featuring members of Washington's pro soccer team, D.C. United. The four soccer players, dressed in suits, are checking out after a night spent in one our newest Fairfield Inn & Suites hotels. They just can't resist kicking the ball around a little bit before they leave the hotel…"

According to HotelChatter, "Bill's blog has given Marriott an estimated $4 million+ in bookings."

Some observations:

  • I connected more with the first post than with the most recent.  The first seems candid, the second like a scripted pitch.
  • Bill's got a staff to help him write a CEO blog.  High-tech entrepreneurs with start-ups?  They don't have a staff. 
  • Bill is not a high-tech entrepreneur.
  • I don't know the source of HotelChatter's numbers or to what to compare them to measure the bottom line business results of Bill's blog.
  • Bill and his staff are using an integrated social media strategy.  He's added YouTube videos to his posts.  And Marriott is now on Twitter
  • Bill was born in 1932.
  • I appreciate Bill.

While I mentioned that I did not have a good time applying for angel investor funding in April, 2009, I learned some important fundamentals:

  1. Investors invest in companies, not ideas.
  2. Investors invest in people, not businesses.
  3. I need to show "traction" as a company, i.e. profits.

To contribute to establishing myself as a real company, not just an idea – beyond my work and my work product – and to convey the "who" and "why" of the leadership of my company, I have joined Bill.  Do I have time to write Anne Giles Clelland's CEO Blog?  As you can see from the date of the latest entry, it's going to be tough.

So be it.  Bring on the profits.  I am in relentless pursuit of the success of my VT KnowledgeWorks member company.

This is a very cute video.  Hmmm.  I wonder if I could make one with lots of people shaking hands…

***

Added 5/7/09:  Marriott on Twitter very kindly gave me directions on how to access the NBC Nightly News clip featuring Bill Marriott's blog.  Once on the NBC Nightly News site, type "Marriott" in the search box in the lower left-hand corner of the page.  Click the video entitled "Corporate 2.0:  Companies tap 'bloggers-in-chief.'"  Although the clip is undated, a page in the story is dated April 15, 2008, not 2007 as I had guessed. 

xxx

Comments

  1. Who knows more about a company than the CEO? Who sets the direction, drives the interaction, inspires the team, and makes things happen? The vision comes from the top.

    Ted Murphy, Founder/CEO of IZEA, a social media marketing company makes a good point about the importance of a CEO blog and twitter (http://www.ted.me/ceo_blogs_twitter/):

    "I look at my personal use of social media as a relationship force multiplier. I can’t possibly maintain communications with all the people I want to face to face. But my blog and twitter account let me build and maintain relationships with thousands of people every month. If you can make time to play a round of golf (4 hours) you can make time to write a blog post (.5-1 hours) or write a tweet (.5-1 minutes)…

    My personal use of social media drives traffic, helps retain customers and most importantly acquires new customers…
    Personal social media isn’t just about good relationships. It’s about good business."

    – Kelly Queijo, freelance writer, blogger
    http://www.zkellyqueijo.com

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