Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: best way to communicate with bureucratic corporations? ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: best way to communicate with bureucratic corporations?
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: doctorchou2-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 21 Jan 2005 11:28 PST
Expires: 20 Feb 2005 11:28 PST
Question ID: 461129
What?s a good way to get in contact with the correct people at various
corporations if I want to pass on suggestions and be taken seriously? 
I often have smart ideas that I?d like to see either researched or
implemented.  I don?t care much about financial reimbursement or
intellectual rights, just proof of concept attempts.  Companies (or
industries) I?ve wanted to contact have included Google, Yahoo,
Mastercard, B of A, GM,, Kaiser, Ebay, Southwest, Maytag,
and others.

I?m looking for one generic strategy, or the generic description of
the correct employee and department to contact.  I?m also looking for
buzzwords that are important to use to be able to effectively
communicate to them that I need to be able to present my ideas to the
people within their companies that will have both the incentive and
the expertise/ability to act on the ideas.  In other words, I?d like
enough information so that I could write a letter such as ?Dear
[blank], I was would like to set up a meeting with your [blank] to
discuss an idea I?ve had for improve your [blank]...  Here is why this
could benefit your company: ...?

I suppose every corporation has some sort of procedure to take ideas,
however formally or informally.  I?d just like to channel into them.

Subject: Re: best way to communicate with bureucratic corporations?
Answered By: siliconsamurai-ga on 19 Feb 2005 06:47 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi, thank you for submitting your question to Answers.Google, I hope I
can provide the information you are seeking.

A lot of people are constantly struggling to do exactly what you want
only from a slightly different angle ? we?re called reporters.

We are seeking answers while you are seeking to provide answers but
the methods used to accomplish the goals are essentially the same.

There is no one single generic approach, but a set of generic
approaches, or you can view this entire answer as a unified generic

One strategy is to buy one or more shares of stock, then go to the
annual meeting where many businesses have rules which require them to
listen to you in a public forum.

Another strategy is to search their Web site for contact information
which is related to the area of the business you are making
suggestions about.

For example, you might find one for Google posted at the bottom of
this very screen. I would certainly try that sort of direct contact
first and wait a few days for a reply before moving on to the more
difficult methods.

If they aren't posted pretty obviously, a good way to find these
addresses is to use the Google sitesearch: tool. First find the basic
URL for the company, then go to Google, click on advanced, and enter
the URL in the dialog so your search is restricted to that site. Then
try a few search terms such as ?suggestions.? And see what results you
get. If you are an advanced user, just use sitesearch:www in the main
Google search box.

Yet another way is to simply contact the investor relations department
if it is a public company. Even if you don?t own stock, they will very
likely respond since they are also looking to attract new investors.
You should ask them to both provide you with another contact, and to
forward your idea themselves because anything coming from an insider
will be given priority.

Now for the major tool used by every successful journalist I know.
Simply use the shotgun approach. That is, locate every e-mail address
you can find for the company and fire off a message. It isn?t elegant,
but it works.

Before you try that I would definitely try any published press contacts.

You could also post a request for specific contact information for
each company here in I would recommend a very low
price, $2 should be enough for each company.

Finally, the big secret in getting to really big corporations (it
doesn?t generally work with government agencies), is to just write a
personal letter to the CEO/President. I have tried this with success
and also heard of many instances where people have tried this and it
is amazingly successful.

As a last resort where everything else has completely failed, check
the news about the company and find any dissident member of the board,
then go through that person. I?ve tried and had success with all the
other methods I?ve mentioned here except for this last one which is
more of a shot in the dark.

You didn?t ask about the way you might want to protect your idea but I
suspect you know them, for example, place a sealed envelope in your
atty?s safe, or something similar.

Thank you again for turning to Answers.Google for help. Good luck with your ideas.

Clarification of Answer by siliconsamurai-ga on 19 Feb 2005 07:00 PST
I see I forgot to address the part of your question about being taken seriously.

Some companies just plain don?t want to hear any ideas either from
insiders or anyone else. It doesn?t matter what you do regarding
those. Virtually every government agency above the local level in a
small town, fits this category.

Others will give you serious consideration if you present reasonable
suggestions in a serious manner.

Make your initial and subsequent messages as brief and professional as
possible, stating your goal in the first paragraph.

Be polite.

If you have professional qualifications, place them at the bottom of the messages.

I have found that, if you follow those simple rules and your ideas
actually make sense, someone in authority will eventually see them. Of
course you must remember that they may have already tested and
rejected similar ideas.

I can't imagine that any special buzzwords would make you appear any
more serious but the simple approach you outlined in your question
seems very suitable with appropriate modifications to suite the
individual circumstances.

Request for Answer Clarification by doctorchou2-ga on 23 Feb 2005 23:15 PST
Good answer.  Thank you.  About the technique of having a sealed
envelope containing the idea in your attorney's safe, prior to
disclosing the idea to a corporation:  Do you simply tell the
corporation that you will only disclose the idea on condition of
retaining [some] rights to the idea?  Can you do the same while
retaining [all] rights?  How easy will it be to enforce this verbal or
written contract?  I assume that that envelope is never opened until
it's part of some kind of formal discovery process.

Clarification of Answer by siliconsamurai-ga on 24 Feb 2005 03:33 PST
You said you weren't particularly interested in retaining rights or in
compensation just being able to demonstrate that you originated the
idea. The other points are really outside the scope of the original
question and I don't have any specific information about the subject.
As a journalist I often sell all rights along with my work and as a
consultant I just get my hourly fee.

I wouldn't go into this expecting to make a lot of money for your
ideas unless you set up a formal consultancy and can obtain contracts.

You might consider publishing or self-publishing one or more books if
you just want credit. Certainly if you publish a few good ideas you
will be in a position to attempt to get consulting contracts.

You would have to work out the details with your lawyer; the sealed
envelope is just the traditional way of preserving evidence that you
were the originator of an idea. Your lawyer may have better

People used to just send themselves sealed registered letters but
sending one to your lawyer by pre-arrangement is even better, just
tell him it is comming and to put it in safe keeping rather than open
it. The envelope is only there to provide evidence if there is ever a
legal dispute and is more a matter of cheap insurance.

As for the corporation, you should make clear in any meeting or
otherwise before disclosing the details of your idea that you are a
consultant and will expect compensation IF they act on your
suggestions. Other than that, the length you should go to in
protecting your idea probably depends a lot on the value of the idea.
People send suggestions to companies all the time.

I hope this clarification is sufficient, like I say, it is really
outside the scope of my knowledge and I wouldn't tackle this topic if
it had been posted as a question.

I'm glad you found my answer useful and hope you will take a moment to
give my answer the rating you feel is appropriate.

Best of luck with your ideas!
doctorchou2-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
professional and quick.  Thanks!

Subject: Re: best way to communicate with bureucratic corporations?
From: siliconsamurai-ga on 19 Feb 2005 07:09 PST
Do you need to learn how to locate the corporate HQ address and the
names of the executive officers? A simply way is to go to and enter the company's stock symbol or look it up
at that site.

Here's an example for ebay:
top insiders and      shares held  as of
OMIDYAR, PIERRE M.	107,668,284	9-Nov-04
KAGLE, ROBERT C.	2,006,043	15-Sep-03
KAGLE, ROBERT K.	1,686,043	12-Nov-04
JACOBSON, MICHAEL R.	258,544	         19-May-04

eBay Inc
2145 Hamilton Avenue
San Jose, CA 95125
Phone: (408) 376-7400
Fax: (408) 369-4855
Web Site:

You'll find more information about board members and executives at

and finally, a list of officers with their ages at:

Pierre Omidyar, 36
Margaret Whitman, 47
Pres, Chief Exec. Officer
Rajiv Dutta, 42
Chief Financial Officer, Sr. VP	
Matthew Bannick, 39
Pres of eBay International	

William Cobb, 47
Pres of eBay North America

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy