I remember exactly where I was when I met Bob Reed.
We sat outside and had Italian. We discussed the PR industry, our ambitions, our goals, and our challenges.
Because Bob is in the suburbs of Chicago, we immediately had one more thing in common and we hit it off.
Since then he—and his wife, Monica—has become a good friend.
Though he’s not a PR up-and-comer (who we have been featuring here of late), he is wise and sage in his communications expertise (also old).
I’m excited for you to meet him, which is why I asked him to sit on the Spin Sucks Inquisition hot seat.
What is the Biggest Mistake You’ve Made in Your Career?
I jumped too quickly into an entrepreneurial venture with a banker and an academic economist.
Our mission was to create new tools and instruments for underserved portions of the banking and finance industries.
The first product was to stimulate home ownership by enabling people to buy half a home, with the other half owned by banks and investors. It was called Housing Partnerships.
But it faced a tremendous hurdle: Making it work required Congress to change fundamental housing laws.
What is One Thing about Yourself that Would Surprise Most People?
I’m an unabashed Anglophile.
I first visited England in 1991 and became quite enamored with the culture, media and, of course, the music.
Having close British friends here has only amplified my appreciation.
This may not go over so well with some Spin Sucks readers across the pond, but I think Jeremy Clarkson is brilliant.
And I’ve gained an appreciation for Marmite.
If You Could Achieve Everything You Ever Wanted in Life, but Had to Die 10 Years Sooner, Would You Make that Trade?
That puts achievement in the driver’s seat and leaves life experiences in the back.
It’s like going on a long road trip where you hurry up to get somewhere without stopping to explore along the way.
What Industry Advice or Practice Would You Most Like to Cry Foul On?
Irrelevant metrics annoy me.
We’re STILL seeing completely arbitrary engagement goals like x number of followers on popular social media platforms that do nothing to get at reaching a business’ true objectives.
What is the Best Book You’ve Read in the Past Six Months?
I’m also working through The Great Gatsby. And I mean working.
Fitzgerald is hitting me about as positively as Dickens. But for a fun and breezy read with tons of 80’s media, music, and pop culture references, pick up Ready Player One.
Why Does Spin Suck?
Spin is a lie. In fact, I despise it.
Working as the photography editor for my college newspaper, three words helped shape my ethical worldview. Printed on Compugraphic paper (yes, I’m that old) and taped to the door of the editorial office was this: “Accuracy. Accuracy. Accuracy.”
It’s essential in journalism and a necessity in business.
Products and services bare their true souls when used and experienced, regardless of what people like us say. We pat ourselves on the back when our creative advocacy delivers an intended result. But how close to that line do we really come?
I think most of the people I respect in this business set up their own ethical DMZs because we know the alternative.
For business owners who think overstated promises and discounted deficiencies are a business strategy, some well-place keystrokes will uncover the truth rather quickly.
Where You Can Find Bob Reed
He also has a B2B interview series called the B2B Social Spotlight. This is a super good idea that hasn’t gained much traction because other PR pros think he’s going to still their clients.
In his words, “Not a chance! I just want to share some great business successes.”
So, if you know of any B2B that have effectively integrated social and digital into their marketing—anywhere in the world—get in touch with him. It’d be an easy way to get your organization some coverage!
photo: Bob and Martin Waxman flank me in the back row. It was the only photo I could find of the two of us together.