Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bloomberg announces President for Bgov

Sean Callahan of BtoB magazine reports the announcement of a new president for Bloomberg's government division.

According to BtoB (direct quote from BtoB is in italics)- (Bloomberg) said Tuesday that Kevin Sheekey is rejoining the company as chairman of the government-oriented division. He will also oversee government relations and communications.

Sheekey, who most recently was New York’s deputy mayor for government affairs, worked at Bloomberg from 1997 to 2001.

“Kevin will oversee a service that applies Bloomberg’s unmatched capabilities in data gathering and analytics to a one-stop, integrated information source of government information. Bloomberg is ideally positioned to address the fragmented market for information about people, decisions and data in Washington that affect business,” Daniel Doctoroff, president of Bloomberg, said in a statement. Bloomberg, which has traditionally shunned acquisitions, has been aggressively expanding beyond its core terminals business. The company acquired BusinessWeek late last year.

Alright, let's deal with a couple of tidbits in here.

First, being a former Bloomie and Deputy Mayor of NYC apparently qualifies Mr Sheekey as 'the guy'. While there is sense in this, as far as knowing the Bloomberg method, there is no sense in it if they plan on his being the main BGov person in DC. This market requires an insider as the driver. DC is a relationship driven market and you need a Rolodex or LinkedIn connections with hundreds if not thousands of contacts and those people need to know and trust YOU.

The other point I wish to address is "the fragmented market for information about people, decisions and data in Washington that affect business." While this is a catchy phrase, it means very little.

People, decisions and data.

This implies that there is information worth paying for that is not currently available in DC, or at least not available in one place.- information that involves each of these elements.

This reminds me of a situation I faced in 2002, when I was called by someone from NY who wanted to start a publication in DC - The Federal Paper. I wrote an Amtower Off-White Paper about this (see below), but I advised him against moving ahead. the federal paper folded after 2 issues.

Here is the Off White Paper (and keep in mind I wrote this long before The Apprentice):

"Off-White Paper" #17 - News for the News Impaired: An Amtower "Off-White" Paper

In 1998, I wrote a second Off-White paper on trade shows (Off-White 3.1), about the soon to be ill-fated GovTechNet. The overall point of that piece was "where is the value-add" for this event – what’s the point? We already have two big events, and unless you’re targeting a strong niche, there is no need for this. Well, I pissed off a few people. Again.

And, the event folded in short order.

And now we have a similar situation. The Washington Post announced 9/23/02 what many of us already knew, that there was another publication being launched in the Federal market. The Federal Paper is to be a weekly targeting "senior executives, presidential appointees, and the Hill" (read: the already overworked, the learning impaired, & the otherwise unemployable) with news that apparently they aren’t getting elsewhere. A controlled circulation base of 30,000 of people who need yet another news source.

The breakdown:

- 7,000+ presidential appointees (deer-in-the-headlights syndrome);
the Hill, 1,000-2,000 (with news about the executive branch? They already know everything they want to know, which they get from The Idiot’s Guide to the Executive Branch);

- 5,000+ career SES people (my God, people who work!)

- and another 15,000 "senior" people (AARP?).

News in Washington, D.C. which they aren’t getting elsewhere?

Well, of course, there is no news for these people in Roll Call, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Government Executive, the Post’s Federal Page, FCW or GCN and a host of others, including paid newsletters, e-newsletters, web sites and gossip.

That being said, an experienced team has been assembled to pull this off, and it is led by someone with a publishing background.

But the premise remains weak, and when my clients and friends call (I get at least one a day on this one), my advice is "save your money, or if you have that much to spare, give it to me."

So here’s how they got there…

Market research: three sycophants and a rich person in a room with a case of Heineken and four straws.

Rich guy: "I think we can make a play in the public sector publishing market."
Sycophant 1: " Oohhh, it’s a great market."
Sycophant 2: "Aahhh, it’s a huge market."
Sycophant 3: "Yes, but aren’t there…"
Rich guy: "You’re fired."
Sycophant 1: "Decisive."
Sycophant 2: "Forceful."
Rich guy: "Adjourned."

Come to think of it, I am out of cat litter.

Not that I have an opinion on this….


Copyright 2002, Amtower & Company

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