Media Attention Disorder

March 16, 2010   //   SWC Technology Partners, , , , , ,

I have four kids. Four strong-willed children that relentlessly pursue my attention at the risk of any ramification it may have on my sanity or their freedom. Typically the exchange involves me focusing on a very important task that requires my full attention. It is then, when I am completely consumed in whatever I am doing, perhaps repairing the broken pipes underneath the bathroom sink, when I will be politely interrupted by my daughter asking me when my wife and I got married. Not the date, mind you. The exact time.

“I don’t remember,” I say, lying on my back, cramped under the sink with a thin spray of water dancing over my face.

“How can you not remember?” she says. ” It was when you got married.”

“I just don’t remember,” I say.

“We’ll that’s unacceptable.  I’m telling Mommy.”

At times like this, it occurs to me that my children need attention in much the same way as today’s mid-market business.

Wait for it.

The truth is that garnering publicity (a.k.a. attention) can be a relatively elusive challenge for today’s mid-market business. At times, getting the eye of a reporter can be largely dependent on who you know as much as what you have to say. This challenge has only gotten harder as the Internet has all but eviscerated the newspaper industry. Large publications have had to make significant cutbacks to staff, which has left the remaining writers with little time to explore new angles.  The result is a predictable dribble of content, which is largely cast by the usual suspects and in grossly unimaginative form.  I mean, seriously, do the vast majority of Chicagoland’s business leaders really care about constant reporting of the most inane dysfunctions at Motorola?

As a local business person, I am interested in learning about those companies in Chicago that are driving new markets through innovation or creative action.  I want to know how other companies are using technology to help them survive or even thrive in what is being called the “Great Recession.”

A perfect example of leveraging technology to create a market (let alone market share) comes from my friends (and client) over at MVTrac.  At the moment, MVTrac is turning the auto-repossession industry upside down using high-speed digital cameras. In essence, MVTrac equips today’s “repo-men” with electronic plate-reading systems so that the recovery of wanted cars can happen at efficiency levels that are exponential to the past. There is so much more to the MVTrac story and unlike so many mid-sized businesses, they have actually found some press.  Read this article from the New York Times to learn more.

Every week I meet with organizations like MVTrac that have a great technology story. Unfortunately for so many of them, the press remains elusive.  I hope that things change. I hope that our local media will look past the “usual suspects” and highlight the truly great technology stories that are all around us.