What the CEO of E-Ink thinks of those who blog and use Twitter


Quote from The End of Paper? [Fortune Magazine]

“We can’t have meaningful discussions or try to solve the world’s problems using blogs and 140-character Tweets,” (E Ink CEO) Russell Wilcox says. “What we need more is calm, prudent thought – more expertise.” That is what Wilcox hopes to deliver with E Ink. “We’re not only going to save publishing,” he says, “we’re also going to save civilization.” The laugh that you might expect to come next never does. He means it.

In my opinion, Mr. Wilcox should have displayed a little more prudence and expertise in responding to whatever led to that quote.

Why would the CEO of a technology company go out of his way to use an interview with Fortune magazine to blast such a double-barreled shot in his foot: Not only does his answer reek of hubristic pomposity, it also goes out of its way to alienate those who blog or use Twitter — claiming they are incapable of calm, prudent thought and expertise.

He could have given a worse answer, I guess: He could have changed the subject and explained why he hates kittens and puppies.

Who does Mr. Wilcox think he is, Steve Jobs?

(Note: I own a Kindle that uses E-Ink.)

  • Well, part of me feels sorry for the guy. I’m sure he envisions a world full of e-ink powered newspapers. Not unlike Dean Kamen seeing a world powered by Segways… except these guys need to remember some other stuff, like price points, etc…

  • Maybe Mr. Wilcox hasn’t had a meaningful discussion online. Perhaps he needs more practice. But, through Twitter and blogging, I’ve connected with certain people I NEVER would have met or reached in person, simply by supplying valuable content and information, i.e. “expertise.” I’m not out to “save civilization” or “solve the world’s problems,” but a certain bit of that, too, might be accomplished via Twitter and other online channels (see “Twitter and iPhone Help Find Lost Skier” http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10186631-2.html ).

  • Joe

    Hubris, hmmm. Isn’t that the thing that brought about our current economic situation in publishing? After all, no one could have foreseen that multi billions of debt would encumber such veteran publishers as Primedia or Ziff or even RDA? Surely old Charlie Anderson was simply making a sound business decision back in January when he triggered the current crisis in the newsstand distribution industry. No doubt Big Jim Gillis’ wasn’t ranting when he said he’d burn the “m*therf*cking warehouse”.

    So no, I can’t imaging that the CEO of E Ink is suffering from Hubris. In fact, the thought of any CEO suffering from hubris is simply unimaginable!