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.