*If you’re not there
So, this is the week of SXSW, a geek mecca; the cool, the not so cool, the beautiful and the plain odd descend on Austin, Texas, for a week of panels, talks, launches, networking and most of all, partying. As a relatively young PR girl, I’m used to the stream of parties, big and small, but nothing seems to compare to this and I get the impression nothing will.
But, before I get sucked in to my jealous rage, let’s talk serious. Why go? For most companies, it’s a huge outlay of cost, so there needs to be a clear ROI. Well, firstly, everyone who is anyone (with the exception of me) will be there - from the wonderful Elizabeth Varley and the lovely Eileen Burbidge, to our very own PR Goddess Colette Ballou, the influencers are out in force and this is your chance to meet them, and bond over a beer… or three.
Secondly, it is THE coolest place in the world to launch in my opinion. Nothing says ‘we rock ’ quite like it, and chances are that your target market of early adopters are right there. Look at Foursquare, it launched at SXSW two years ago and thanks to the key influencers who started using it at the show, growth has sky-rocketed and continues to do so with this year’s tie-up with Amex among a slew of SXSW specific badges.
Thirdly, investors. What better way to expose your brilliant start up to the right people then to bond party with them.
So, for those in attendance, you’ve got an amazing week ahead of you, as I can tell from my Facebook steam which is full of RSVP’s for parties - from Soundcloud to Eventbrite. Jealous. My twitter feed is full of #sxsw. Jealous. My office was full of people talking about going. Jealous. And the worst is yet to come, we haven’t even got to the ‘oh, this one time at sxsw…’ yet; I just don’t know if I’m going to be able to cope. However, help is at hand in the form of a number of ‘we’re not at SXSW’ parties, which are taking place this week, including a live streaming of the show by Bambuser, tomorrow evening at TechHub, for members only register here if you haven’t already!
Screw it, I need to get away, I’m booking a holiday. I hear Austin’s good at this time of year….
Fashion has its place in your working world. Just be smart about it. Fashion: some of us love it, some of us hate it, and some of us simply don’t get it. However, we all have it in common, both as PRs or as members of a start-up, it is standing as our professional armour. Though we know that it is your business acumen, intelligence and competence that will ultimately set you ahead of the crowd, there is no denying that how you present yourself makes up an important part of all first impressions and your overall outward persona. What’s most important to remember is to be savvy in your fashion choices. Know your audience and dress accordingly. Every PR girl worth her salt has a MBD (that’s medium black dress) as part of her capsule wardrobe that can work for presentations, events and client meets. She knows that the MBD’s crazier, younger sister the Little Black Dress may look amazing, but showing off that much leg during a progress meeting isn’t her way of doing business. Similarly, for a start-up jeans and Converse may be fine for informal meetings, but stick to smarter, more fitted outfits when pitching to VCs. Some key ideas to consider when thinking about your business fashion: Hopefully these few points will come in useful when you are thinking about what to wear in the workplace. Remember, they are only advisory, and as such you can take them or leave them as you will. All I ask is if you only take one thing away, let it be this: don’t overlook the role your outfit plays when in the business arena and always dress in as style that suits you. You are all aiming for the big success and Steve Jobs is known for his trademark polo necks, Mark Zuckerberg his jeans and flip-flops. Think about what outward persona you want to project. Don’t fall in to a bland fashion rut, totally devoid of individuality, in the belief that fashion is too frivolous for the office, but don’t feel you have to take this to the other extreme and replicate styles from the House of Gaga. For a start, the egg alone probably wouldn’t get in the door. - Claire Treacy
1. Poorly fitting clothes will simply look dreadful. Don’t focus on the label that’s hidden in the back of your clothes, that’s not what people see; they see the way an item falls, whether the darts pucker or not, it’s how the fabric sits that matters.
2. Be comfortable in what you are wearing, not just in how it fits but in how it makes you feel. You can look as sharp as Don Draper, but if you are constantly fiddling it will distract from the important points you may be making, be it during a demo night presentation or whilst networking.
3. Create a capsule wardrobe with well-made, quality pieces as its base. The PR girls MBD can easily be accessorised to create a different outfit for varying occasions and cheaper items can take her through seasonal trends, as an example. Capsule wardrobe thinking is also an ideal way to approach the constant travel and events of the PR world.
4. Inject some personality in to your outfits. Fashion is about expression; it gives others an initial inkling as to who you are. The latest trends may not be something that appeals to you, so don’t recreate it. Consider the latest trends as blueprints for you to interpret and indeed discard as you wish.
Fashion has its place in your working world. Just be smart about it.
Fashion: some of us love it, some of us hate it, and some of us simply don’t get it. However, we all have it in common, both as PRs or as members of a start-up, it is standing as our professional armour. Though we know that it is your business acumen, intelligence and competence that will ultimately set you ahead of the crowd, there is no denying that how you present yourself makes up an important part of all first impressions and your overall outward persona.
What’s most important to remember is to be savvy in your fashion choices. Know your audience and dress accordingly. Every PR girl worth her salt has a MBD (that’s medium black dress) as part of her capsule wardrobe that can work for presentations, events and client meets. She knows that the MBD’s crazier, younger sister the Little Black Dress may look amazing, but showing off that much leg during a progress meeting isn’t her way of doing business. Similarly, for a start-up jeans and Converse may be fine for informal meetings, but stick to smarter, more fitted outfits when pitching to VCs.
Some key ideas to consider when thinking about your business fashion:
Hopefully these few points will come in useful when you are thinking about what to wear in the workplace. Remember, they are only advisory, and as such you can take them or leave them as you will. All I ask is if you only take one thing away, let it be this: don’t overlook the role your outfit plays when in the business arena and always dress in as style that suits you. You are all aiming for the big success and Steve Jobs is known for his trademark polo necks, Mark Zuckerberg his jeans and flip-flops. Think about what outward persona you want to project. Don’t fall in to a bland fashion rut, totally devoid of individuality, in the belief that fashion is too frivolous for the office, but don’t feel you have to take this to the other extreme and replicate styles from the House of Gaga. For a start, the egg alone probably wouldn’t get in the door.
- Claire Treacy
Care for the Community
As the tech scene continues to thrive in the UK, there’s been a move to create an open community, where everyone collaborates, helps and gives advice to the start-ups around them. Leading this charge is TechHub, a still relatively new space, aimed at building the foundations of a true tech community. Based in Old Street, Shoreditch, it offers start-ups desk space - either permanent or drop-in, alongside a budding events and networking calendar, so you don’t just get the tools to build your business, but the people too.
For start-ups, places like this are increasingly important - and they should be for anyone who works with them too. We are lucky enough to be based at TechHub in the midst of all the other start-ups (we’re here too!), which has given us all an insight into the way in which these companies work, how they view suppliers, the networking events they attend and most importantly, it enables us to gauge where their priorities lie.
Being close to the industry, you get to hear and go to some incredible events - not only will that help your team build their knowledge, but, frankly, it also builds your reputation as someone ‘in the know’. At TechHub, there are a number of events each week, from the open to all Silicon Roundabout lunches, hosted by the ever lively Mike Butcher, to the closed, members only, Government feedback sessions featuring David Willetts. In addition, you become a member of the industry - helping other firms to connect the dots in the industry, introduce you to people you may want to meet – and potentially give you some helpful advice along the way. This week we attended the audience with Dave McClure; thanks to the people we know (and to Colette being a 500 Start-ups mentor) we were told in advance they were going on sale so were able to grab some for the team. Opportunities like that don’t come along often, and yet again, we met some great people and learnt a lot from one of the most respected men in the industry. If you weren’t lucky enough to attend, you can check out the presentation here.
The point is, it doesn’t matter who you are - if you’re an event organiser, a PR, a marketer, a lawyer etc; if you want to work with this scene, immerse yourself in it. Care about it, learn about it, meet the people in it. Most importantly though, don’t just sell to it; we are strong believers in giving to the community and are happy to give some free advice to any start-up who needs it - and to prove that point, we’ll be hosting a ‘How to do PR in the US’ session at TechHub on the 11th April, so if you’re looking to branch out - swing by!
- Georgina Marriott
Hey all, in case you missed our ‘Doing PR in the US’ event yesterday at TechHub, we caught the whole thing on Bambuser. The slides are available here. The event was a huge success - we met lots of new people and hope to see you in some of our future events!
A Frenchie spends time with the London Office
In Daniel Balavoine’s song: Le Chanteur, “Je m’présente, je m’appelle Hélène...J’voudrais bien réussir ma vie, speak English”
Two months ago I travelled by Eurostar for the first time, leaving behind my adopted city of Paris to arrive in the Anglo-Saxon metropolis of London with my big red suitcase!
“LOOK RIGHT, LOOK LEFT”, - the best advice a Londoner ever gave me. Just for this, I disagree with Ralph Waldo Emerson who said “England has built London for its own use, while France has built Paris for the world” – they thought of all the poor and disorientated foreigners who arrive every day in this amazing capital. I even love my commute in to work. If you have ever visited Paris you will know that the metro is always crowded, and Parisians have a habit of planting themselves in front of the door, so that you can’t get off at your stop because they want to get in first…that used to make me really nervous! Here in London the tube is no less crowded but the people are so much more respectful that it’s become a pleasure to take it…(I know, I’m an anomaly!)
I now spend my days at TechHub: startups, Silicon Roundabout, new technology, social media, Twitter, Facebook, entrepreneurs, high-growth companies, online shopping, and video streaming. It’s all new to me…ok it doesn’t seem so scary but it’s all in English! It’s not so much that it’s disorientating, but rather the fact that you are faced with so many cultural surprises: the TechHub office is a big open space with numerous young entrepreneurs, hard-workers, putting their legs on the table, removing their shoes – I’ve never seen that before in Paris. At the beginning it’s weird, but now I love it!
One thing I find different in England vs. France is the networking. Last week I got to experience the British style of work hard/play hard at the Telegraph Tech Start-Up 100 (a ranking of Europe’s most promising start-ups) in London where I was part of the hosting team and responsible to welcome the guests. It was great fun and interesting to meet people from Europe’s top media and start-ups. In France, we have a mode of learning that is more theoretical than in England. Here I think people use more pragmatism and more easily blend drinks and a big party with getting to know others in the industry.
I am so happy to have found the Ballouettes team. Every day, even when I look at them with big eyes thinking to myself “what are they talking about?” they are always patient with me, and do their best not to leave me in any confusion. So, that’s a quick introduction to my time in London - so far. Keep checking back for more stories about my London adventures!
So, the PlayStation Network (PSN) is finally back online after weeks of being down following an attack by hackers. Sony sent out several messages to users stating that credit card or personal details may have been stolen, and that Sony was unable to guarantee what had been exposed.
This is the first time Sony dropped the ball with its free version of online gaming that allows users to play against others around the world at no cost, unlike Xbox Live from archrivals Microsoft.
The main questions are whether the PSN saga constitutes as a PR disaster for Sony and whether the disaster has been rectified successfully.
Microsoft has had countless server problems over the last five years, all of which received limited coverage or exposure. This is interesting given that Xbox Live is a pay service, so users should be more critical of faults when they don’t get their money’s worth. But in fact, Sony has received far more criticism over this episode. Why is that? Let’s take a quick look…
Firstly, let’s start off with communication. Sony chose its PlayStation blog to communicate with users that there was a hack attack, and that the servers were taken down to prevent further damage. This was the right platform to use and updates were regular. However, the first post regarding the loss of personal user details was on the 26th of April, eight days after the servers had gone down globally. This was rightly paired with tips on protecting bank accounts, personal details and scams, but late nonetheless.
Secondly after this blog post and messages to users via email, no solutions or compensation were offered. Help and FAQs were limited to a few contact numbers, but no sign of a solution for those affected. The lack of information contributed to the panic and was picked up by press such as Wired, The Guardian and BBC.
After a few more days, Sony took control of the situation and began to turn the it around by doing a few things right. Howard Stringer, president and CEO of Sony, wrote a personal message to its PS3 users. Sony took the blame, stated its objectives, and offered an apology gift forwhen the servers came back up; a free month of PSN+, a pay service that gives users exclusive content. It also reassured users that security and personal details were of utmost importance. An insurance policy against identity theft was created to protect user details from future attacks.
A day after the CEO’s letter, Patrick Seybold, senior director of corporate communications, wrote to users as well, stating that the servers would only be accessible once Sony was 100% certain that they were safe and fully repaired. As of today, the 18th of May, the PSN servers are back online and Sony have provided users across its many regions with contact information for third party companies involved with fraud protection or identity theft.
Microsoft and Steam no doubt watched the whole episode with interest. Sony mismanaged the first few days after the incident due to vague news updates, but eventually took control with the right decisions. But was it too late? Will users now think twice before disclosing their details to Sony’s online features? Will new users choose an Xbox 360 over a PS3? Time will tell.
Here are several things Sony should do: make it easier to access and purchase pre-paid PSN cards, reassure users that they are of utmost importance to Sony and that the company will do whatever it takes to protect them, make it easy for users to access helplines, and lastly, be direct.
Before I go, here’s something worth looking at: Sony have placed a bounty on the hackers through the FBI.
One of the most important steps in building your company is creating a corporate boilerplate. This is a one paragraph summary of your company; it is your blurb. Journalists, customers, investors, random web-surfers - you name it, they will be the ones reading it when trying to find out more about you.
Here are some tips on writing an awesome boilerplate:
- Be concise and factual. Introduce yourself then describe what you do and for whom.
- Position yourself: e.g. say that you’re the market leader (if you truly are)or state your company mission.
- Don’t forget to include a link or contact at the end.
- Remember, short and sweet.
And now, here are some examples of big-name boilerplates:
Skype is a communications software whose purpose is to break down barriers to communication. With an Internet-connected device, families, friends and colleagues can get together for free with messaging, voice and video. At low cost, they can also call landlines or mobiles virtually anywhere in the world. Skype has recently introduced group video, allowing groups of more than two people to do things together whenever they’re apart.
Spotify is an award-winning music service offering a legal and superior quality alternative to music piracy. Spotify provides instant access to whatever music you want, whenever and wherever you want it, through a simple, clean and quick to use platform via an ad-supported, free-to-the-user service and a paid subscription service. With access to millions of songs through your computer, on your mobile and beyond, Spotify makes it easier than ever to play and share music legally. www.spotify.com
Research In Motion (RIM), a global leader in wireless innovation, revolutionized the mobile industry with the introduction of the BlackBerry® solution in 1999. BlackBerry products and services are used by millions of customers around the world to stay connected to the people and content that matter most throughout their day.
The BlackBerry product line includes the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet, the award-winning BlackBerry smartphone, software for businesses and accessories.