Let me say this first: I am definitely not a fan of the Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
When I was working for a German internet service provider, our chief marketing officer thought that showing us a clip of how Steve whips up the people at Microsoft would be a good motivator.
I wasn’t motivated. I was just shocked. This moment fixed my picture of Ballmer for the eternity.
So I was really surprised when I saw an article on paidcontent.org this morning discussing Ballmer’s speech at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.
The same crazy jumping Ballmer that shocked me some years ago said one of the most interesting things I have read about the financial crisis in traditional media in the last weeks:
“I don’t think we are in a recession, I think we have reset,” he said. “A recession implies recovery [to pre-recession levels] and for planning purposes I don’t think we will. We have reset and won’t rebound and re-grow.” Ballmer, named media person of the year at this year’s festival, also painted a bleak picture for the future of traditional media, arguing that newspaper publishers have failed to generate new revenues from the digital opportunity. He said that within 10 years all traditional content will be digital”
I have seen a lot of boring articles about Google killing quality journalism in the last months. Some people were asking if media should be the next industry that has to be supported by the governments. There are still a lot of tradional media companies praying that the hypothesis of Wolfgang Riepl stays true. He said in 1913 that “new media never make the old media disappear”.
We need traditional media to understand the most important questions in international relations, security and foreign policy. Of course we are impressed by the possibilities of the internet and the rising influence of social media like blogs, Facebook or Twitter. Yes, these days the Tweets from Iran are amazing. But as my colleague Rashunda Tramble mentioned in this blog: “Tweetable doesn’t automatically mean reliable.”
Therefore I should probably rethink my picture of Steve Ballmer. Maybe a jumping, stomping and yelling man is needed to wake up traditonal media and save their important role in our understanding of international relations and foreign policy.