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Summary:

I’m officially a friend of the famed oil baron-turned wind developer T. Boone Pickens…on Facebook and MySpace. I’ve also hopped onto his Twitter feed, joined his Ning-powered social network, and asked for a connection on LinkedIn. Now I’m just waiting to hear his last.fm play list […]

I’m officially a friend of the famed oil baron-turned wind developer T. Boone Pickens…on Facebook and MySpace. I’ve also hopped onto his Twitter feed, joined his Ning-powered social network, and asked for a connection on LinkedIn. Now I’m just waiting to hear his last.fm play list (Johnny Cash meets Dixie Chicks?), follow a life-streaming T.Boone.tv channel (24-7 Pickens!), and read his shared Netflix reviews (“There Will Be Blood” – 4 ½ stars, “LOLmilkshake”).

But seriously, the media blitz of Web 2.0 tools from the 80-year-old corporate raider, who was born before Play-Doh was invented, is unprecedented. Pickens’ PR campaign, estimated at $58 million, pushes his plan to break America’s addiction to oil with a one-two punch of wind power and natural gas-powered vehicles – both commodities from which Pickens stands to significantly gain.

That Pickens will likely make a killing off cleaner power isn’t shocking. This guy runs a $4 billion investment fund, grew oil exploration company Mesa Petroleum into one of the largest independent operators in the U.S. and plans to spend $12 billion on building the world’s largest wind farm. He thinks on a grand scale. Even if natural gas-powered vehicles aren’t necessarily a good long-term bet.

What gives us pause is the fact that despite being older than even McCain he still manages to stay on top of all things hip. His social network site actually looks compelling – I’ve seen many a Ning social network site that doesn’t. And it’s already inspiring people: It has over 11,000 members and counting. We’ve been writing about Pickens on Earth2Tech all week and have had a surge of emails from passionate Pickens supporters looking to help like make Pickens t-shirt lines and contribute to his PR campaign. (To them we say thanks, we love the attention, but please send those offers to the Pickens Plan itself).

So while there’s already a lot of critics of his way too-simple-plan of swapping in wind to power the grid and switching natural gas over to vehicles, his execution has been spot on. Launch a massive media blitz, hire the right people that can connect with a younger demographic and see if you can change U.S. energy policy for the benefit of the nation and your own pocketbook. Now, about the T.Boone.tv. video channel, we were only half-kidding.

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By Katie Fehrenbacher

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  1. Alan Wilensky Wednesday, July 9, 2008

    The man is sharp like a whip, and now that he has all the money, wants to do something important for his legacy. It’s just the right combination that is free from politics – as to his self motivation, yes, he has an interest, but I think that making more money is not the sole motivator.

    You know, he was a silent behind some famous tech ventures.

  2. Keith L. Dick Wednesday, July 9, 2008

    I agree with Alan on this. He’s at the age where money for him personally doesn’t matter much anymore but it will keep his children’s, children’s, children well taken care of for generations if they are in the will.

    As for his legacy it will definitely make him remembered for as long as we have books and the Internet.

    I wish the Millionaires around the world would look to what is going on with this planet and realize they can not take all that with them but still give back to make it a better place and of course there would be enough left for their families.

    Ton’s of Money Helps, but it’s not everything and in the end what you’ve done with it could depend on who remembers you.

  3. Daniel Golding Thursday, July 10, 2008

    I agree with Alan and Keith. This guy has made his billions and he’s old. He has no need for more money. Pickens is a patriot who is trying to do the right thing by his country. I don’t know if his plan will work – I’d like more nuclear in the mix – but he’s on the right track. I wish both presidential candidates would come out and endorse his plan.

  4. Thursday links: GSE blues « Abnormal Returns Thursday, July 10, 2008

    [...] T. Boone Pickens gets Web 2.0.  (GigaOM.com) [...]

  5. Over here in New Mexico, he’s running TV commercials for the windpower project that look like a presidential campaign. :)

    There are some interesting sidebars to his project – in that he’s acquiring rights for delivering water as well as electricity to urban markets. Meaningful in Texas. Long range, I’d rather be pushing water instead of oil.

    Oh, and the number of natural gas filling stations ain’t too bad in Santa Fe since local public transit and a number of government vehicles converted. I wouldn’t want to try a trip to Dallas; but, it’s working for commuters who’ve done the conversion.

  6. There is a public Forum for discussions about Pickens plan :
    http://www.pickensenergyplan.com
    Cheers.

  7. Shankar Saikia Thursday, July 10, 2008

    DRIVE TO SUCCEED

    While Boone’s effort has an altruistic/patriotic angle, to me it is evidence of his ambition and drive to succeed at yet another venture. It’s great to see these characteristics (i.e., ambition, drive and of course, altruism and patriotism). I’ve been reading about T. Boone Picken since 1983 (!) and I admire his drive and hunger!!!!

  8. professor evans Friday, September 12, 2008

    You are all daft. Take a look at his attempt to privatize water and his water pipe line plans.

    Once again you all fell prey to agitprop.

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