Apple's PR staff would be well advised to reach out more to bloggers, or even blog on their own. So the mysterious overture Apple made to a TechCrunch editor at a Cupertino, California brewhouse could be a big positive step.
A spy at BJ's in Cupertino sent us a remarkable sighting of TechCrunch's mobile industry editor Greg Kumparak taking what appeared to be a job offer packet from Apple. The sighting is "remarkable," at least, in that Apple's notoriously secretive public relations team is not known for conducting its hiring or other business in public view — and tech journalists tend not to be the types recognized by strangers in crowded restaurants or tipped to gossip blogs.
But we're grateful for the detailed sighting, quoted below, if only because it allows us to indulge in the hope that Apple might actually alter its public relations strategy of erecting stonewalls against writers who don't play by the company's rules and providing little useful information to everyone else.
In addition to his work for TechCrunch, Kumparak was the lead editor for Heliocity.net, a blog and online community targeted at users of the wireless carrier Helio. So it's possible his prospective job at Apple involves community relations rather than flacking to the press. Which would be just as well: As with the press, Apple keeps customers at arm's length (or farther).
For his part, Kumparak isn't talking. He clammed up when we asked if he'd be taking a job with Apple, saying only "a few inquiries have come my way in the past couple of days" but that he wasn't going to confirm or deny any names. In other words, the MobileCrunch editor, whose job writing about wireless gadgets would appear somewhat redundant now that his site has been bought by AOL, combined a "no comment" with some very positive, and subtle, spin about his current situation. It sounds like Apple was wise to make him an offer.
Kumparak's boss, Mike Arrington, said he had no knowledge of any offer but "we love him and he's a valued part of our team and wouldn't want him to leave." Arrington also said his staff is not going to be laid off as a result of the AOL deal. "None of these guys are in danger," he said. Maybe not from layoffs. But most mobile computing enthusiasts would find the lure of working for Steve Jobs fairly compelling.
I'm at a restaurant/brewery called BJ's in Cupertino, which is pretty much right outside Apple HQ's front door. About one hour ago, three Apple employees came in. You can always tell because of the badges they wear on those extending cable things... What was weird was who joined them: Greg Kumparak, who writes for TechCrunch. Recognized him from his videos.
I could not hear what was going on, but about 10 minutes into the meal one of the Apple employees handed him a folder with an Apple logo on it. From what i've seen before, I'm almost certain this was an offer packet. They spent about 30 minutes talking about it. I could be wrong, but it really looked like Apple was trying to court him for a job.