The life of Eisenstadt

Take a look at the following firms and tell me what they have in common. Get ready, because there’s a lot of them:

3Com, Accpac, Amdahl, Autodesk, Banyan, Borland, Cisco, Commodore, Control Data, Creative Labs, Data General, Dell, Digital, Genicom, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM Canada, Informix,

Iomega, Kodak, Lotus, Lucent Technologies, McAfee, MCI, Network Associates, Novell, OkiData, Oracle, Philips Electronics, Pioneer, Prime Computer, Quarterdeck, Samsung, SAS Institute, Sharp, Sony, StorageTek, Stratus, Sun Microsystems, Symantec, Tandem, Verbatim, Wang, Worldcom, and Zenith Data Systems.

Yes, they are all companies in the IT industry, but there is something else. Each of these vendors, along with many others, has hired the Communications Group for public relations help at one time or another.

The Communications Group, and its founder David Eisenstadt, is celebrating 30 years in business this year. Eisenstadt began his career as a journalist for Canadian Press. He later became a corporate public relations representative for IBM Canada Ltd. He branched off on his own and has literally witnessed the growth of the IT industry in Canada.

The Communications Group has worked with more than 150 IT vendors and associations during the past 30 years. Some of those clients made history such as IBM and Kodak, while others became history such as Prime, AscomTimeplex, Banyan, Tandem and Wang.

Eisenstadt has done media training for some very notable executives such as Dell Canada’s Bruce Sinclair, Borland’s Philippe Kahn, 3Com/NAI’s Gus Malezis, Worldcom’s Tal Bevan and high tech wonder kid Jesse Racsh.

I have known Eisenstadt for close to 15 years, my entire career as an IT journalist, and I have to say it has always been a pleasure dealing with him and his team of PR practitioners. Eisenstadt takes a very different approach to public relations than others in his line of work. He treats journalists equally no matter which organizations they work for. He instructs his clients that every piece of media is important and does not grade journalists or publications/broadcasters in tiers.

I will never forget the way Eisenstadt treated me back in 1990 during the old Canadian Computer Show at the International Centre in Toronto. I had only known him for a few months and he invited me to attend a press conference/function for his client Sharp. The event started at 10 a.m. and I arrived around 9:30 a.m. and introduced myself to him and the Sharp executives.

After the press conference ended, which was around a half-hour later I lined up an interview with one of the key executives when in came CTV news. The TV broadcasters wanted some time with the Sharp executives immediately because they were running late.

Now I understand that there is a pecking order in the media and a wet-behind-the-ears IT reporter, as I was back then, would be a distant nowhere to a TV reporter.

But, Eisenstadt did not see it that way. He bluntly told CTV they had to wait because other reporters who arrived early were ahead of them. He did not have to do that for me. I clearly understood the situation and was willing to wait until CTV finished, but I appreciated the gesture.

In this day and age of business they say it is an accomplishment to have survived. There is something to be said about longevity and Eisenstadt has achieved this by selling the steak instead of the sizzle — one of his non-high tech clients is Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.

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