Who duped Slate?

Media criticism.
March 12 2002 7:46 PM

Who Is "Robert Klingler"?

On the trail of the man who duped Slate.

(Continued from Page 3)

Part of my Sunday—beyond the paper and church—usually consists of a test drive of a new model, or an old model with a new feature, or a retrofit, or a competitor's vehicle. (Klingler)

Sundays tend to be fairly quiet days in my house. The Sunday Times, a large brunch, Brinkley (yeah, yeah, I know, but find me someone other than Sam Donaldson who calls it "our This Week program"), 49ers football on TV—that sort of thing. (Desai)


… and worship the New York Times:

Yet, I can't find a routine anywhere in the world that beats waking up to The New York Times on my doorstep. … As a result, I subsidize the NYT to the tune of $2,500 a year, for the national edition at the various places I stay. (Klingler, previously unpublished)

This makes me willing to read a newspaper named after a city I have no desire to live in. Of course, I mean the New York Times. It provides an absolutely delicious morning read. For 20 minutes between 6 and 7, I get all the news of Africa—a central obsession—I need, as well as every other piece of information I could care about. Whatever I don't learn from the Times, I get from NPR on the car radio. (Desai)

Both bitch about the advertising/marketing people missing their target audience:

Our ad agency, normally thoughtful and intelligent, has completely disregarded my comments from our last meeting and moved forward with a campaign based on celebrity endorsements. … All well and good, except that their approach has zero appeal to the people we're trying to sell these cars to and has tested horribly with our buyer groups. (Klingler)

Although I suspect the advertisers are catering to engineers' baser instincts, I question what those instincts are. The marketing department at my firm decided that our gift at Comdex this year would be a discreet maroon polo shirt. I now have a dozen of these. I have a dozen only because no one wanted them. They were insufficiently loud, and insufficiently pleasing to the people to whom they were handed out. (Desai)

Both boast of job offers:

Irrelevant anecdote No. 1: Jeff Skilling offered me my first job out of business school, when he worked at McKinsey. I didn't take it, not out of any bizarre prescience, but because I didn't want to live in Houston. (Klingler, previously unpublished)

At breakfast I meet the chairman of fairly large company that tried to recruit me a year earlier. We banter about how good a choice I made (his company's stock has dropped by 40 percent over the past year; Quantum's has quadrupled). He still tries to recruit me, for reasons which are still unclear. (Desai)

Both take back-to-back meetings:

I had back-to-back 30-minute interviews with four candidates. (Klingler, previously unpublished)

I'll spend the next two days in a series of back-to-back meetings with our customers, potential partners, and people from whom I simply want to learn. (Desai)

And compose their thoughts in the shower:

On the other hand, as I speculate in the shower, the big guns will meet with them today—and perhaps adrenaline will carry them through. (Klingler, previously unpublished)

In the hour I have before a series of parties, I amuse myself in the shower by trying to predict what tomorrow's Comdex stories in the papers will include. (Desai)



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