Thursday, December 20, 2007

Life in Embargo City

One of the hardest parts of my job is dealing with the reality distortion field. There are big things companies are doing—and mistakes they have made--that they don’t want to talk about publicly. Rather than be frank they with withhold or embargo information, ask you to sign NDAs or try to impress you with a content-free marketing tap dance.

Case in point: I know Silicon Image is doing some stuff in mobile and planning some stuff in networking. But there is some stuff I agreed I would not say (yet) and other stuff they will not say yet (unless you are a partner under NDA), and in the meantime a lot of spin in the form of fancy but vague Powerpoint to keep Wall Street interested in the stock.

Almost every company I deal with plays these games as part of doing business. Consortia do it too: Right now the USB-IF is not being fully forthcoming on their DTV-to-mobile plan-in-progress, and the people at Cable Labs and the CEA won’t say much about their networked OCAP and Digital Cable Ready-Plus plans.

Of course, I have my own part in this ecosystem, trying to get stories before anyone else does. It can be fun and useful, but sometimes it’s also frustrating on days when the information lockdown and marketing spin has me reeling. I guess those are the days when the little man behind the curtain who pretends to be the Great and Powerful Oz is having a good day.

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