From 1998 until he left for the CEO position with a little no-name company called Google, I served on the Novell PR team under then Novell CEO Eric Schmidt. Well, we all know what he’s done for Google’s “mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Although the Schmidt magic did not quite have the same effect on Novell, the company enjoyed great prosperity under this visionary.
There are a lot of Novell senior executives who made Novell successful “in the day”, but I have to take my hat off to Eric as a finely chiseled company spokesperson. While the PR team sweated out the details of news announcements and events where Novell press gathered in dozens, Eric’s “cool hand Luke” approach with the media exuded confidence and vision. Although most of the media may not have completely understood the bits and bytes, they came away from Eric’s press conferences and briefings with a belief that Novell was going in the right direction under Eric’s leadership.
Perhaps at the crescendo of his Novell tenure and as a fitting swan song for his departure that year, was the 2001 Novell BrainShare partner/user conference. As the PR team lead over the event, I witnessed the “Schmidt effect” as 150 editors from every continent rallied to our invitation to attend. We delivered more than 400 press briefings in three days and 200 articles appeared around the globe within the first few days after the conference.
OneNet was his call for the day, which vision I believe currently fuels Google’s success. If you Google “OneNet” you will find more than half a million uses of that term. I’d be interested to know if anyone could make a legitimate claim as Champion of the OneNet vision more than Eric Schmidt. I think you will still find remnants of Eric’s OneNet vision in his current public policy work.
One other thing about Eric – As a spokesperson, he listened to his PR staff and was teachable. The best CXO media spokespersons usually are.Share