How Microsoft’s first PR person got the interest of the biz news media
Todd Bishop of Geekwire writes about Pam Edstrom, the first public relations employee at Microsoft Corp., who died Wednesday but whose work with business journalists put the company in the spotlight.
Bishop writes, “Edstrom recalled her early days at Microsoft in a 2016 commencement speech to the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts, reminding the audience that there was a time when Microsoft ‘was just a scrappy little start-up that no one expected to last. And Bill Gates was just 26 years old. The business media had NO awareness of or INTEREST in Microsoft,’ she said, according to a transcript:
The problem I had to solve: how can a smaller company be seen and make an impact?
Undaunted, I called the New York Times technology editor. His crisp reply was: “I do not talk to PR people. Drop the material off. ”
I really had to dredge up my courage after that disastrous call, and I managed to wrangle meetings with the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Time, and Business Week.
In the meantime, my next big project was Comdex, the major computer show of the time. 200,000 people were going to descend on Las Vegas. From the moment attendees stepped off the plane to the time the show ended, we were determined that all they would see was Microsoft Windows. So keychains on rental cars: Windows! Cocktail napkins in bars: Windows! Pillow cases in 10,000 hotel rooms: Windows!
We were the little company that could.
Six months later, Bill Gates graced the cover of Time. And a few days later, the technology editor at the New York Times called ME.
Read more here.