Bad Moments in Online PR or (Most People Suck and That’s Great News)
Check out the balls on this guy. It’s the worst media inquiry I’ve seen to date. Think about how illiterate you have to be to judge books not on their covers but on the idea of them having covers.
This isn’t so much a new media lesson as it is one of most shocking and disturbing things you eventually realize about the world:
Most people are absolutely incompetent.
Even at the very highest levels they are incompetent. Executives. Writers. Bloggers. CEOs. PR people. The ones you read about in the paper – you meet a good chunk of them and realize, “Holy Shit, the emperor has no clothes.” They don’t know how to use common sense. They have no empathy. They can’t plan. They’re uninformed. They do things like this and then throw up their hands and wonder why it doesn’t work.
This guy is the host of his own 4 hour radio show. Not on some tiny station either. That’s pretty fucking cool. He managed to work himself firmly into the middle of a highly competitive field, name a show after himself and hold on to it.
And yet, here he is sending unquestionably the worst media request I’ve seen in the last two years. It’s so bad that I thought I must have read it wrong. There’s no way someone would admit upfront that they hadn’t bothered to read a 200 page book and then follow it up with the narcissism it would take to think that their approval would still be appreciated. No. Way. But of course, here we are.
So, if you’re sitting their thinking that it’s too hard to crack into media or maybe you don’t have what it takes to do whatever you want to do, realize this: Chris McClain is not an anomaly. He’s better than average. Some would call him accomplished. That should be the most inspiring thing in the world.
I’m going to bookmark this post in my section for outstanding moments in the history of online douchery.
At the same time, keep in mind that most people that he deals with are on the same level he is. He wouldn’t be where he is if, for every Ryan Holiday who expects to develop a relationship and receive value, there weren’t 10 people that say, “Awesome, I’d love to go on ‘The Mac Attack’!”
Maybe everyone’s not incompetent, maybe your standards are just too high.
Ryan, what do you think is the definition of good PR and use of new media? What would you recommend those of us who want to learn more about the subject read/do/study (aside from your site and Seth Godin’s work)?
It’s true that incompetence is everywhere. Ever heard of the Peter Principle?
Must be nice to criticize and trash this guy from your anonymous internet perch. I’m sure you know this post is very unfair to McClain, which makes it all the more peculiar that you went through with it.
ps. Add Human Action to your reading list. I think you’d enjoy it seeing that you like to read works on social philosophy. Human Action is probably the most comprehensive and penetrating social philisophical analysis that has come out in the past 60 years. I recently finished it and remain thoroughly impressed by von Mises, at least enough to pick up a few more of his other books.
Dude, c’mon. Check the URL. This site is the opposite of anonymous.
As for PR reading – Alinsky’s books and Gonzo Marketing are a few of the best.
Holiday, this was not a very nice post and this kind of thing can hurt someone’s feelings. Why don’t you consider how Mac would feel if he read this? Actually I know because I e-mailed him.
He said, “damn, I am still trying to figure out what the hell I did wrong” and obviously you made him feel stupid or like he had done something wrong when he hadn’t which is not a nice thing to do anymore than it’s not nice to go give some kid a wedgie because he’s smaller than you.
You got to be careful doing this stuff Holiday, because people see you for what you are, which is an intellectual asshole. You are developing into the intellectual equivalent of the big jock who pushes small kids into lockers to make himself feel big, but you just do it with knowledge and your brain and make other people feel mentally inferior instead of physically inferior like the pumped up football jock asshole.
Why don’t you try being a nice person and being nice to everyone rather than using your brains to put other people down and make them feel bad?
You should consider the Golden Rule which is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
I’m sincerely curious on this matter. What makes this inquiry that bad?
As a publicist (which I am), I appreciate the fact the guy is up front about the fact he hasn’t read the book. That lets me know that I need to have prep. materials ready to send him.
Would it be better if he’d read the book? Absolutely. Would it automatically make me turn down the interview? No, not if my goal is to increase the visibility of my client.
I deal with a lot of radio stations, and I always assume the worst (that the on-air “talent” doesn’t know much about the person they’ll be interviewing). I always put together a lot of easy to digest prep. material and send that over so that the on-air person can literally read the one-sheeter as he’s doing the interview.
Why? 1. Because people are lazy. 2. Because it’s going to make for a better interview in the long run, which benefits my client. My client will be get their message points across, because the interviewer is going to touch on the things I want him to talk about if I’m the one supplying the prep. materials.
Now, Tucker may be at a place now where he doesn’t feel like he needs to do an AM talk radio station in Charlotte, NC. If so, then you’re perfectly within your rights to call the radio guy out.
On the other hand, if Tucker does want the publicity on a talk show that seems to cater to the demographic that would likely buy his book and log on to his website, why wouldn’t you send the guy a copy of the book along with some prep. materials containing a few choice passages, along with info on Tucker’s movie, etc.?
If the guy had said, “Hey, I haven’t had time to read the book, but from what I’ve read about it, it seems like it would be a good fit for my audience. I’d love to give your guy some FREE publicity in a decent-sized market and I’ll google him and learn more about him before the interview. Let me know if you’re interested.,” would you still call him out for having the audacity to ask for an interview without having read the book?
If you can’t see why that’s a bad email then you need to retire. Immediately.
This actually goes to the root of my post anyway – if you think that PR is about the visibility of a client regardless of the circumstances that you’ve somehow managed to miss the basic purpose of your job.
And btw, what are the chances that you happen to be the publicist at WFNZ? A 100%?
I agree that the guy should have done his homework on the book and Tucker prior to sending the e-mail. It’s his job as the radio host to know what/whom he’s interviewing, recommending, etc, and by not doing that everybody suffers. As a PR person, you obviously only want the best visibility (not just any) for your client.
With all that being said, I disagree with posting this e-mail and calling the guy out as you did. A polite e-mail back, and going on your way would have sufficed. Calling the guy out was just unneeded.
I can’t be the only one that didn’t miss the point. Ryan doesn’t care that he read the book.
Didn’t you guys write book reports in school? I never read the assigned book but I certainly wouldn’t ever in a million years begin my report with “Mrs Smith, Tale of Two Cities sounds like a classic text!”
This is a great post. The real example definitely drives the point home. This guy should appreciate being called out. If anything, it should help him when he tries this with others in the future. The comment telling you to ‘be nice’ is hilarious. Fuck nice, if someone’s efforts suck, say so.
The sad thing about incompetence is that it prevents introspection. Most people who have no idea what they are doing also have no idea how to evaluate themselves properly. At least this is what I have seen in pretty much every job I’ve ever had. It’s especially bad in corporations.
Also, is it really appropriate to post a private e-mail on a large site like this, then go on a tirade against the person who sent it? I’m not associted with the radio station at all, but it does seem a bit unethical and against what you normally stand for.
Let’s look at this from the other side.
If Chris McClain wants to put out the absolute best radio show he can, why wouldn’t he invest the time to find out who he’s asking to be a guest on his show? Half of Tucker’s book is available on his site for free. And TuckerMax.com is the first search result so it would take maybe half an hour of research to find out if this is someone he wants as a guest.
Now if “The Mac Attack” is just a mindless exercise in filling four hours with whatever will sell ads, then it makes perfect sense to say, “I heard about a dude with a funny book, lets see if we can get him.” Because then it doesn’t matter what’s on the show as long as people are listening.
I’m sure Chris is a good guy who cares deeply about his listeners. The fact remains that he didn’t do the most basic level of work to find out who was going to be on his show.
Either one of Ben’s scenarios and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
Chris picked some retarded third option. Nobody asked if he read the book, so who leads off by admitting that you didn’t AS THOUGH IT WAS A GOOD THING? It’s mindblowing.
You are going to drive yourself crazy if you analyze everything this much. It’s a recipe for misery. Let it be what it is without so much judgment, or nobody is going to want to be around you.
As someone who is studying PR and working in the industry while I finish my degree. I can understand where you’re coming from.
However, tearing someone who’s got a more accomplished career than yourself a new asshole on a widely read internet blog isn’t what I’d call a good career move.
To be honest, in the future, you’d be better off using a broad example rather than tear down someone in the industry.
What seems like a good idea at 20 working with a couple of established people won’t in even a months time.
to all of you who are bitching,
Shut the fuck up.
when you get down to brass tacks, to the very nuts and bolts of the matter, if you dont understand why McClain is stupid here, reread what ryan wrote.
Ryan isnt PMS’ing or going through cocaine withdrawals and looking to thrash this guy to feed his own sense of accomplishment. Or his ego. What McClain wrote was incredibly stupid, BOTTOM OF THE BARREL STUPID.
I believe the quote is: “the worst media request I’ve seen in the last two years.”
And to you crybaby’s, this guy needs THIS kind of response right now. If McClain has a nonexistent brain filter and radar for bullshit, what do you think would happen if tucker had a lapse in judgement and went on his show?
You think tucker has alot of respect for radio jockeys with this kind of audacity after opie and anthony?
You THINK IF THIS GUY FUCKS UP, ON AIR, TUCKER ISNT GOING TO TEAR INTO HIM like a freight train crashing through a helicopter?
And that goes back to the lapse in judgement thing. While publicity is good, tucker doesn’t need to crawl on his belly for anyone at this point. Not going on this guys show is going to make a damn bit of difference in box office receipts or website views in the big picture.
With a guy like tucker, whose book came out of nowhere to make the NY times best seller list times over, at least he could fucking read it, or even half of it.
If so many of you cant understand the basic principle of what ryans saying, read this email in front of a mirror and bitch about it while your standing in front of the mirror, be sure to bitch while keeping your eyes on this part of the page:
“Most people are absolutely incompetent.”
“You are going to drive yourself crazy if you analyze everything this much.”
Why is this over analyzed? If this topic didn’t fit so well with the general focus of his site I’m sure he would have read it, acknowledged that it was stupid PR, and then continued on, unaffected. But it did, and it made for good content. Your comment didn’t really make any sense.
And just what is “over analyzing”? Over thinking? Too much thinking?
Just because that has some negative affect on you doesn’t mean the same for everyone else. There’s nothing wrong with over analyzing anything, and I don’t know why you think you can tell Ryan Holiday what’s best for him.
Am I the only one who read the first line and assumed he was talking about Assholes Finish First? Is it even possible for him to have read that?
Maybe there was more correspondence in which case my point is moot, but this seems a little harsh.
The way I read that email was that he wanted to talk to Tucker in general, and he opened the email by complimenting him on his upcoming book. Maybe it wasn’t articulated very well, but he probably doesn’t have a Ryan Holiday on his staff.
You don’t need a Ryan Holiday, or anyone else, working for you to write a coherent and honest letter to somebody else.
“Hello [Person’s name],
I just heard about bleeblityblorp from a friend. I do Job X in Some City and would like to use the bleeblityblorp some time next week.
I can also be reached by phone at [number].
How fucking hard was that to write?
And Brandon, that’s not a real compliment. It’s lips pre-puckered and ready for “obligatory” contact with ass.
He didn’t read the book and was looking for something to use on his show. Yet, you publicly bash this man?
The equivalent would be Tucker, instead of giving you harsh but fair criticism, mocking you and telling everyone on his forums how much of a douche you are. While it may be true it’s unnecessary. A private email back would suffice.
You speak of empathy a lot. Well your obviously lacking.
Jimmy, i hope you’re a chick who likes to post comments with a random guys name so men will take her/you seriously in anonymous logical dicussion. A pen name if you will.
If your old enough to be a man jimmy, and in fact are, you need to be filled in on how your typing sounds.
Jimmy, you sound like a bitch:
“You speak of empathy a lot. Well your obviously lacking.”
If you dont understand what bitch talk sounds like, its obvious we have nothing in common. you have a preference for expressing yourself in a way that disgusts people with the stupid rhetoric of your wooden argument. Your driftwood brushing off a river traveling boat, get lost.
And in this case, that behavior and my calling you out on it are very on topic. Given the content of ryans post, and his concept of total war on people he hates and is repulsed by, you cant be suprised that now your getting cornered after typing something stupid in a post comments section, a post thats all about some chump typing something stupid.
This brings me to my second point:
Why type anything you dumb fuck? You dont relate to ryan, your philosophy on life is nothing like his. If you weren’t so busy talking out of your ass in “what if you/this happened…” scenarios to him, specifically addressed to him you might be able to see that.
You can always email ryan anonomously, but you did this on a public comments section, i believe your quote was:
“The equivalent would be (Jimmy)Tucker, instead of giving harsh but fair criticism, mocking (ryan) and telling everyone on his forums how much of a douche (he is). While it may be true it’s unnecessary. A private email back would suffice.”
Dont talk to ryan about himself if you dont understand his core logic set and feelings and his profession down to a basic logical level you high-handed prick. shut the fuck up and stop talking to yourself anonomously in a public board you fucking weirdo.
Given how much you like to talk about how you think you know tucker, hes never called ryan a douche, and considering how ryan’s probably a great employee, i cant imagine he would. Do you have a job that doesnt suck btw?
The following is written for anyone else paying attention:
ryan’s only going to think one way on this, you cant change his mind.
Hes busting his chops reading everything right now, going out, doing, doing faster and better in an industry thats bubbling up right from under him as i type.
He’s loud, smart, and cultured. You think at twenty doing this shit he’s going to “follow the golden rule” and never break it because you’re telling him to? I say at ryan’s age you do need to break bullshit rules, you need to call things bullshit. Fuck, you should swear.
Jimmy, you didnt fucking swear once in your post, i’m calling you a pussy. “Jimmy” sounds like a pussy name too.
He works for tucker, that’s his job. I cant think of many other jobs cooler. And tucker hired him for a reason.
Jesus, read the auditions for the roles for people in tucker’s movie blog. Everything has to click, he needs to work every step of the way and watch everything to make sure its perfect, thats going to make the movie awesome, because tucker is so involved in it. You think tucker doesnt take a no bullshit attitude when he goes to work making bank on his fucking IDEAS?
He hired ryan for a reason. I think he’s doing a good job. Everyone who’s objected to this public warfare against McClain, who came off like a fucking douche from the start, is a crybaby playing the worlds smallest violin for this poor dope who decided to talk stupid.
I’d buy you a beer ryan, everyone else stuffing dumb logic like so many tampons in their mouth can choke drinking theirs’.