We're chuckling over data storage company EMC's scare tactic in (pardon the pun) scaring up new customers. It paid "research" firm IDC to write a whitepaper with the following conclusion:
In 2007 the amount of information created will surpass, for the first time, the storage capacity available.
Now, THAT's funny. Sometime later this year, perhaps this summer:
* My digital camera will stop working -- because the memory card is full!
* My MP3 player will stop working -- because it's tiny hard drive is full!
* My desktop computer will stop working -- because its four hard drives are full!
* My two notebook computers, my kids' computers, my wife's, my parents' computers -- all full, full, full, full!!!!
I suggest that EMC empty the Recycle Bin on its desktop computer, as well as run CCleaner. Oh, and the local electronics superstore has 0.5TB external drives on sale -- EMC would do well to pick up a couple.
How the Spin Works
Seriously though, EMC engages in a pr trick that engages multiple feedback loops, where the pr team works on creating announcements and news headlines in support of each other. Here's how it works:
1. EMC pays a firm to write a whitepaper -- according to EMC's specifications.
2. The whitepaper firm comes up with a suitably alarmist headline, which is released to, and echoed by, the media.
3. EMC posts the media's alarmist headlines on its Web site as "independent" proof.
4. Finally, the study and the alarmist headlines support analysts in declaring that EMC will grow really BIG as it solves the impending disaster. EMC posts this further "independent" proof on its Web site.
In short, EMC generates its own headlines.
Another chuckle: EMC issues a press release with this headline: "Groundbreaking Study Forecasts a Staggering 988 Billion Gigabytes of Digital Information Created in 2010"
988! Why not an even 1000?
988 Billion Gigabytes! Why not the technically more accurate 920 exabytes -- or the understandable 942 thousand petabytes?
Here's why: 988 sounds more accurate than 1000 -- even though as a prediction it is no more accurate. And many billions of gigabytes sounds much larger than 920 exabytes -- even though the two are exactly the same measurement.
In its enthusiasm, EMC discredits itself.