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Reputational Insurance

One of the more surprising comments I heard at SXSW Interactive this year was made by Doc Searls during a panel discussion revisiting the Cluetrain Manifesto. When asked which companies and organizations he thought were clued in, Searls didn’t hesitate before saying Microsoft.

Microsoft? Searls held up their Channel 9 project and Robert Scoble as examples. And an article early this month in the Wall Street Journal explored how the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation holds a halo above Microsoft, improving its reputation (subscription required).

Does charitable giving make up for an organization’s failings and foibles? Can Bill Gates buy himself love?

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