I watched a preview of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room tonight.
I’ll get to the film in a minute, but for me the most interesting aspect of this was that the company hired to promote the film, Special Ops Media, have specifically targeted webloggers as an audience for the previews. Even little ol’ Davos Newbies.
I think we’ll see a lot more of this kind of intelligent targeting in future (even if it won’t necessarily regularly include me). Bloggers can be articulate enthusiasts, and they can motivate a much larger circle of other bloggers and readers. Clever marketing.
What about the film? Most of the material is familiar to anyone who has been reading the business press over the last few years. But seeing — and particularly hearing — the detail of Enron’s effrontery and bluster is another experience entirely.
The film is dotted with clips from Enron’s own corporate meetings, and in one memorable scene a spoof film that CEO Jeff Skilling participated in. It’s not believable that these executives didn’t realize exactly what was going on.
As another blogger has pointed out, the most startling passages are the tapes of Enron traders talking boastfully of how they were fleecing California out of billions of dollars during the confected energy crisis of spring 2001.
If you consume business stories the way I do, you’ll unquestionably enjoy the documentary. But I watched the film with two others who were split. One agreed with me, feeling the detail made for an absorbing film. The other, however, reckoned — with regret — that Enron is an old story, and no one will be interested in hearing about it now. Given the scale of the fraud and collapse, that’s a sad commentary on the lack of memory and perspective today. But Enron’s collapse less than four years ago does seem a very long way back.
Tyler Cowan is right on two out of six points. I don’t have any evidence for that either.
Well, this will make moving to California a lot easier. But why only the 8.10 interview on Today — I need the whole program(me) to get through the day.