Questions & Answers: Alfred Geduldig

He wants you all to stop apologizing for being in PR and stand up to the media. Oh, and he's got lots of spare fish. Meet Alfred Geduldig, one of two top dogs at Geduldig and Ferguson.

Describe the company you work for. Geduldig & Ferguson is a PR and PA agency that started life as a communication consulting firm in 1985. As a result, we have strong strategic credentials. We have 10 people in New York and significant alliances with research firms, law firms and other PR firms around the world. We are well known in marketing circles as an advertising agency consultant, with many major advertising searches under our belt.

What do you do there? I share the management of the agency with Don Ferguson and head up the corporate practice area. However, there is a fair amount of overlap with our PA and marcom practices, as you would expect with a small office. (I also make the coffee.)

What is your most embarrassing moment/biggest failure? We had 300 confirmations for a cocktail party at a U.N. conference in Stockholm, and 15 people showed. It was because the Chinese delegation kept the conference running three hours longer than scheduled, wiping out the cocktail hour, so people had to go directly to dinner. Anybody want to buy 100 pounds of very ripe gravlax?

How did you get into PR? I found out I'd need a master's degree in journalism just to get a job as a copy boy at The New York Times.

What would you do if you didn't do what you do? The historic answer is: back in college, I had a choice between getting a fellowship in marine biology and becoming an English major. I'd go back to that crossroads.

But the real answer is: live on a houseboat on the Seine, with a laptop, Internet access and a cell phone.

What would you like to change about the PR industry? I'd like to see more pride, less apology, more confidence and more standing up to the media.The more powerful and successful the industry becomes, the more PR professionals will be sniped at by the media and other self-righteous members of society. And we should stop saying 'perception is reality': it's like Hitler's theory of the Big Lie.

With which historical figure do you identify? William Tell's son.

What would you do on a desert island? 1.Fish 2.Create desertisland.com.





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