Hype has been getting a bad name recently. Trump was under legal scrutiny in NY for variously overhyping or underhyping his assets (depending on the situation). Burger King got sued for inflating their burgers in ads.
And many in the Silicon Valley and tech startup worlds no doubt winced about the guilty verdicts in the Elizabeth Holmes trial a few months ago. It seems that hyping it up to investors and the media is not so funny any more.
The last example hits closest to home, as I work for Fusion PR, an agency that focuses on the tech sector and works with startups. So we arguably are part of the “hype-industrial complex.”
We are not lawyers and our contracts indemnify Fusion from legal jeopardy. Yet it is scary to think that we can be party to spreading harmful hype. I am allergic to such accusations and we work hard at Fusion to intentionally not drink the Kool Aid. We compel our account teams to fact check client claims, avoid getting swept into their FUD wars or veer from spinning to outright lying.
The last is what got Elizabeth Holmes in hot water (well, wire fraud, technically). I am amazed that some were willing to give her a pass, because “everyone does it,” or because she’s a woman, as tech investor Ellen Pao wrote in a NY Times Op Ed. (Times Columnist Maureen Dowd wrote a scathing response: “Whatever happened to the good old-fashioned art of owning it… sexism this ain’t, sisters.”)
In our latest podcast, I had the chance to explore this topic in greater detail with noted legal analyst and commentator Aron Solomon. We also discussed the Sunny Balwani trial, Musk’s play for Twitter, and burgers.
You can see the video, above; and listen on Spotify and other pdocasting channels.