Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nerd Word of the Week: High ground maneuver

Steve Jobs shows off iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worl...Image via Wikipedia
High ground maneuver (n.) - A public relations tactic wherein the guilty party admits fault, but suggests that this mistake was due in part to a larger, universally acknowledged problem. The result is to frame the public debate around the larger issue, rather than the guilty party's specific gaffe. The guilty party stakes out the "moral high ground" of trying and failing to solve a broad, systemic problem. The term was popularized by Dilbert creator Scott Adams.

I bring it up because: Adams outed his high ground maneuver phrase just this week in his analysis of the Apple iPhone 4 "antennagate" press conference. Steve Jobs basically staked out the high ground of trying to fight dropped calls -- a problem every smartphone has -- and admitted that Apple failed to topple this unbeatable enemy. While Apple isn't getting a total free pass, the debate has moved on to how every smartphone deals with signal drops, rather than exclusively about how Apple's iPhone 4 exhibits the problem. That, my friend, is a classic high ground maneuver.
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