Stephen Baker of BusinessWeek talks about “The Numerati”

Uttercast Stephen Baker's 'Numerati'Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited to a book signing for Stephen Baker’s (longtime BusinessWeek reporter) “Numerati.” Thanks to Scott Bauman ( of Greenough Communications for inviting me, and Communispace in Watertown, Mass. for hosting the event.

I have yet to read the book, so no review here, but a couple of thoughts from a PR perspective;

– Baker was genuinely excited by his subject, a good sign for any book (I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head as he talked), despite the seemingly geeky topic of how the guardians of reams of data- about us- are changing the world. It’s often hard to have to re-draw our media lists when a prominent reporter goes on “book leave,” but to see up close how these sabbaticals re-energize and refocus a reporter’s energy, I can see how it can all be worth it.

– As a PR guy, I noticed that Baker said after writing this book he is less eager to talk to CEOs and more inclined to talk to researchers. Counter-cultural, maybe even heretical– top business publications are the ones for which we save our client CEOs’ precious time, but from a story-telling perspective having the nose to go after the people in the trenches with data makes a lot of sense.

– Re: “geeky” content- “Numerati” is laid out in a storytelling style, so it should be an easy read. I’m interested in the “Blogger” chapter, simply because I want to know if the Numerati can figure out for me which bloggers affect what actions in their readers. I have often had clients report back that they got traffic spoikes from blogs we haven’t heard of, while known “influencers” sometimes register nary a blip. That is confounding.

True targeting. Is that too much to ask?

(This is an expanded version of a post that originally appeared on

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