Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Fake Steve and Real Mackey

So with the small, literal men at the New York Times poking through the veil of anonymity that allowed Fake Steve to produce the best blog since “The Darth Side,” we have a serious threat to the stability of the republic, which is the false hope that by assigning people names, we can control them. Prevent the random, the funny, the disrespectful. The powerful have always hated having fun poked at them by the anonymous. They forget that anonymity acts as an important social valve, allowing people to share ideas without retribution.

John Mackey took a different approach. He didn’t blog, but engaged in conversation on a message board about his company.

I think it’s a good thing to be able to hear from CEOs shedding their spin, from journalists freed of their need for access, and everyone else who wants to put forth their own words to stand or disappear on their own strength.

Fake Steve is a little less interesting since the unveiling. The posts about immortality were a nice touch, but, I thought, over-wrought.

2 comments on "Fake Steve and Real Mackey"

  • beri says:

    The CEO who blogs is no less engaged in spin than his handlers. He just wants it to look like he’s a regular guy chatting about stuff. But you know that the stock price (and his job) depends on the spin he puts on everything he says. and if he’s planning on moving the manufacturing to China, he’s not going to casually tell you that until after the fact.

  • Wordman says:

    There is a difference between the two uses of anonymity that give them different social values: it’s pretty clear that Fake Steve is not attempting to artificially alter Apple’s stock price. This is not so clear in the case of Mackey. Even giving him the benefit of the doubt however, it is all to easy to imagine cases where “sharing ideas without retribution” becomes “manipulating others without retribution”, or where the “without retribution” is far more important to the poster than the “sharing ideas”.

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