Public relations exec, Tiggy Familiar, joins the Silicon.com columnist line-up today, and in her first article sheds light on the workings of her very real PR world. Remember: these people influence your procurement decisions. Be afraid. Be very afraid...Does anyone really listen anymore? Maybe it's a by-product of the Disinformation Society (Copyright T Familiar, but you can use it) we live in, as it seems that nothing has destroyed our ability to communicate more than the communications revolution. (Note to myself: knock up some 'research results' to prove this thesis. That new knowledge management client would pay through the nose for this sort of marketing collateral.) Still with me? I was saying people just don't listen anymore. Blame shortened attention spans blame the Me generation blame the new narcissism blame anything you like. But don't tell me it's my fault that Todd K Joblowski III junior, CEO of E-gad!, got such a shoddy reception for the UK launch of his revolutionary new electronic commerce 'solution'. Not that 'shoddy reception' was the phrase employed in the debriefing document shoved into his luggage as I packed him and his pony-tail into a taxi for Heathrow. I think 'resounding success' was the phrase that caught his limited attention. But, since I'm not likely to be hitting you with any invoices now or in the near future, let me tell you how it really was. Mr Joblowski may know all there is to know about HTML and database engines and extracting millions from venture capitalists, but I'm afraid that beyond that, his knowledge of the world is strictly limited. But then what else could you expect from someone who's lived his life in the hermetically sealed plastic bubble that's home to most 25 year old programmers in Smalltown California? Yes, he knew there was a big world out there, but he'd only ever experienced it through a monitor (albeit a 44" flat screen state-of-the-art plasma monitor that the sale of his first company paid for when he was 12). But being so 'intensely focused' (as our press releases describe him) means he will need some guidance in raising awareness about his 'revolutionary new software breakthrough' over here. So we booked a suite for the day at the Kensington Hilton (essential, I reminded him, if one is to be regarded a serious player you are a serious player aren't you, Mr Joblowski?) As befits an inventor of his stature, we'd assembled the strongest line-up possible of corporate UK's opinion formers to meet Todd over the course of the day. There was Ted McWeeny of the Thames Valley Advertiser (business section) which, as Todd now understands, is the most influential title in the UK's Thames Valley, an area that shares one very striking feature with Silicon Valley. (Thank God he didn't ask me what that was). Ted will ask you all kinds of questions you didn't expect, I warned Todd. Don't be surprised by that Dennis the Menace T-shirt and jeans, I warned him that's as much a techie creative's uniform as chinos, bare feet and pony-tails are in your country. Next up was Martin Blakey, author of the Blakey Report. This, I told Todd, is the journal over which the industry holds its breath every Friday. Though not a report in the conventional sense, it is nonetheless the column people turn to every week when they receive their copy of Computing Scope, and often read (once they've been disappointed by the cartoon). Martin is a respected analyst, I lied to Todd, and is likely to ask you tough questions like 'Who are you?' and 'What did you say you do?' Don't be fooled by this apparent lack of preparation, I warned, for he will have prepared a trap for you with all the rat-like cunning of the riverboat gambler. Finally, over a long lunch, I wheeled in 'the big gun', Richard Patterson, to haul Todd's whole product and marketing strategy over the coals. In truth, he's the tamest free-lunch journalist on my roster of retainers (I chuck him the odd bone now and then) and he'd promised to ask Todd everything I'd asked him to, right down to asking if Todd had any Irish blood in him - Americans love that. Not that any of this preparation mattered because, despite my instructions, Todd insisted on whipping out his 48-page PowerPoint "pre-zen-tation" and reading every single bullet point verbatim. In every interview. Still, he's happy and as long as he's happy, that means I can keep billing him, so I'm happy. And I've got him on a watertight PR contract, so there's no point Todd throwing Teddy round the nursery when he finds out no one's writing about him. E-gad! indeed.