Friday, October 31, 2008

Chamber's luncheon puts everything into perspective

Even though I served in the Air Force for 20 years, I forget about the sacrifices that military folks make for our country. However, the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce's Celebrate America Military luncheon brought everything into perspective. The chamber invited Sig Christiansen and Nicole Fruge from the San Antonio Express News to speak about their deployments to Iraq.

As a retired military guy, I have always thought that Sig has done a pretty good job of covering the military. However, Fruge's photos brought into perspective the cost of the war. Nicole showed two portfolios of her work during the luncheon with the first about the death of some south Texas ANG helicopter pilots and the separation of an Army NCO and her daughter.

I look forward to seeing more of her work in an upcoming Express News editions, both the print and the online version. If you have questions about the commitment of our troops and their sacrifice, I hope you take time to read Sig's stories and look at Nicole's photos. It will change your perspective on the militry conflict in Iraq.

As cities cut back on their police force, will it increase the purchase of better security systems?

Buried behind the front page articles on the economy and the campaign was this interesting Wall Street Journal article about the drop in police positions in California. For my security customers, this could represent an increase in sales, as more and more communities will turn to surveillance cameras, wireless configurations, new doors and open architecture software systems. One client, HBMG, has introduced a wireless solution that allows the local police to have a video feed of construction projects. Another ABM Data Systems has a pending partnership with a video verification company.

The implementation of these solutions is still in its early development, but perhaps as more police administrators recognize the potential of a video feed that goes directly to a laptop where the officer can see a surveillance camera's video signal, it will help this Austin client grow in sales. Right now, most companies and home owners like me use a keypad alarm system which sends a signal to a monitoring station who then contacts the police. As many police and industry officials will tell you, about 90 to 95-percent of all keypad systems (think ADT and Brinks) are false alarms.

So, with the decrease in police in some communities, the movement to connect homes and businesses with a video feed like HBMG's ArmidaWare product could grow considerably. So, I see this trend as a chance to help my customers tell businesses and home owners why it's a good time to change their old system to one where a video system can monitor an intruder. The problem will be convincing my wife that an updated system is better than the current one. The folks at Brinks have done a good job of targeting her fears so getting a change will be a long uphill battle. Perhaps, we'll change it when we move to a new home someday.

Still, for those building or renovating their businesses and homes, the opportunity to upgrade a security system is something they should address with their builder and architect.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

How I-phones are revolutionizing our 2008 election

I just saw a Tweet from my friend, Raven Zachary, the wireless application and I-phone expert, who spoke at Innotech Austin two weeks ago. Raven reported that his clients at the "Elect Barack Obama" reported that nearly 10,000 unique callers made over 35,000 calls using their new custom I-phone application to support their candidate. That leaves me wondering what the next Raven I-phone app will be.... Could the folks at Ford put together an I-phone campaign inviting people to look at their newest truck or could Burger King push their newest sandwich with Raven's app. It makes you wonder.

Is your web site 508 compliant?

Talk to most web developers, and it's a good bet that most have never heard of 508 compliance. Yet, if you are doing web development work where the site acts as an interface with customers who have disabilities, it's time to take a serious look. To one friend and colleague, 508 compliance for many public sites is like a federal building where the folks in wheel chairs have to be carried up the steps to get inside it.

With new tools available, it's time for the government and commercial web developers to start updating their sites so that they can become 508 compliant. Like the lawsuits that brought about the changes resulting in the American With Disabilities compliance for new construction, it's only a matter of time before a similar round of lawsuits occur against government and companies like a public utility or even the local grocery store chain.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why public relations professionals should shadow journalists from time to time

Thanks to my friend Omar Gallaga, the cyber-journalist from the Austin American Statesman, I found this wonderful little blog: I have worked both sides of the street as they say, having done stints with the San Antonio Express News and KSAT 12.

My initial impression as one who has lived in both worlds is that this is a pretty interesting little blog, written by someone who has actually observed journalists like Omar. For those young public relations type who haven't spent any time working with journalists, this is a good starting point for understanding the life of reporters.

However, the best education is to ask a reporter from the print, radio and TV to shadow them. My first Air Force supervisor, Katie Cutler, made me tote video cameras and lights for the local cable news channel in Guam. From this little exercise, I learned how TV professionals stage a story, edit it and then produce the final product. Because Katie made me carry the "sticks," I learned how important it is to make sure that journalists get good locations to carry their gear. I also understood a lot of other nuances that make for a good interview.

So, while this new blog is a good starting point for those who are just entering professional public relations, it's not the total solution either. Public relations professionals should shadow a media professional from time to time. Even seasoned professionals like me should take a day off to shadow a cyber journalist like Omar or Roy Bragg at the Express News.

So, Omar or Roy, if you are interested, please let me know. I would love to shadow y'all someday to learn how to get you the information you need. And, I'll pay for the coffee and lunch as long as it's at the Olive Garden. (Note: I still have a $25 gift certificate from there.)

Lone Star Brewery to host first party and open house

If you are tired of mowing the grass and that long commute to your office in downtown San Antonio, my client, Lone Star Brewery wants to show you that alternative in urban living. Mark Tolley, the developer for the project, is hosting a party Nov. 7 from 6 to 11 p.m. to showcase his vision. Tolley and his staff will give tours of the project from 6 to 7:15 p.m. with an executive presentation on the property. The John Pointer Trio will then play a 3-hour set.

Pointer has won nine Austin music awards and has appeared in numerous national commercials as a human beatbox. Lone Star Brewery's first concert will include John's friends Darrell Phillips on bass (most well known as bassist for Sister 7 and the Dirty Wormz) and Rob Hooper on drums (Guy Forsyth's drummer).

And, Tolley said that there will be plenty of complimentary Lone Star Beer. Reservations are needed. You can contact Lone Star's staff via email at Kelsey (at) thelonestarbrewery (dot)com or call (210)757-4530 ext. 301. Invitation info is available at this link.

Note: Lone Star Brewery is but a short walk via the San Antonio River hiking trail from San Antonio Southtown and the Blue Star Brewery. As this is First Friday, it will be easy to park the car at the brewery and then walk over to Southtown for a nightcap.

And don't forget that the Lone Star Brewery project is qualified for special San Antonio Historic tax easements.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In memory of MSgt (Retired) Wayne Bryant

While out at Lackland AFB, Texas, today to get some information about the Nov. 1-2 airshow, I learned that my colleague, MSgt. (Ret.) Wayne W. Bryant had died a year ago. After retiring from his job at Lackland public affairs, Wayne died in his sleep during a 30-day vacation of Germany.

For over three years, Wayne worked with me while I was assigned to Hessisch Oldendorf. His job as the U.S. Air Forces in Europe newspaper manager was to teach me how to become a better copy editor. With his help, I know all of the variances of the AP stylebook, and I can easily spot the most common of errors -- the capitalization of a common noun.

I am saddened that I didn't get to make it to Wayne's funeral, but I wanted to share a couple of memories about him:

1) Getting him out of his German hotel at 5 a.m. in the morning so that we could drive three hours to watch a major organization from my unit deploy their radar equipment. As the hotel didn't have a 24-hour front door service, we had to open his window to get him safely outside.

2) Wayne's creative Halloween costume of industrial trash where he wore a garbage sack filled with all sorts of garbage on it during the U.S. Air Force in Europe editor's conference held in Berlin in 1985. His costume won a prize at the NCO Club's Halloween party.

3) His always famous: "Are you sure about that?" when making young military editors like me check our facts.

Wayne, I miss you, but I am thankful for all you did to help me. Rest in peace, brother.

Budurl -- the coolest little app out of Austonio

As someone who uses Linkedin, Twitter and my blog to cross-pollinate my marketing and public relations expertise, I have to admit that I love the Budurl app. Andy Meadows, the chief executive officer of the Austin (or as I would say the north central part of Austonio) technology firm contacted me via the blog earlier in the week. I didn't realize that it was the same Andy Meadows that I had met at the after Austin Innotech parties on Sixth Street until later in the day. So, today, Andy and I are going to meet over "high tea" in the south central part of Austonio or the RiverWalk as he's here in my 'hood for what some folks in the Lone Star Republic would term as "bidness."

Why pitching to reporters is like Best Buy selling the latest Kenny Chesney CD

My friend, Brian Massey's latest blog about how Best Buy is targeting its online customer base is as my Aussie friends would say: "Spot On!" According to Massey, "The Consumerist finds this somehow disingenuous, that one of the biggest consumer electronics retailers on the planet is not interested in selling to customers that aren’t profitable."

As a publicist, I work in the selling process. I truly target the pitch towards the right media decision makers. There are sadly a few reporters who don't respond to me. Like Best Buy, I am not offended, so I don't spend a lot of time or effort trying to reach them either. If there is something of interest, I make an effort to call them. However, if another reporter covers the same beat and I have a better selling relationship, I spend more time with that media professional to ensure he or she gets the information.

Brian's latest blog re-enforces my decision to focus my effort on the customers that matter. Smart business professionals know that they need to focus on the customers who will make them profitable. While public relations isn't as scientific as the retail sales process for selling someone a new flat screen TV or that latest Kenny Chesney CD, there is still a little research involved in the process.

Best Buy wouldn't target hip-hop music lovers or those with an urban demographic of 14 to 29. Yet, if I was a valued customer, they would probably tell me about the latest Jimmy Buffet or Alan Jackson CD. But, they already know that if I buy something it's from, where they have a profile of my buying habits. And, while the folks at Amazon recommend new music and books when I travel to their site, I usually never buy anything from them unless I specifically want something. I am sure that somewhere in Amazon there's a researcher like my friend Brian, who is studying my buying habits so they can close more sales.

Monday, October 27, 2008

North San Antonio chamber to host infosecurity program

Outside of those who have worked in the cyber security industry, few of us know that San Antonio has one of the largest concentrations of industry leaders in the U.S. If you want to learn how your business can take advantage of infosecurity, plan on attending the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce's breakfast meeting, Nov. 12 at 7 a.m. at the San Antonio Petroleum Club. David Gallant, branch manager, San Antonio e-fense, will speak about cyber attacks and how to respond to them. Gallant is a former Air Force Office of Special Investigations officer who was one of the first in the military to work with technical support staff to investigate attacks against military computers. The program is ideal for legal and IT professionals as well as for anyone performing activities that have the potential to require seized digital media and
managing an Incident Response initiative.

Each attendee will receive a Helix computer incident respond CD. The cost for chamber members is $25 and $35 for non chamber members. Info: 210-344-4848 or

Note: I am a member of the North San Antonio chamber's tech council and volunteer to help publicize their events.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Budurl -- the little app that will help this blog

So, if you are like me and want to share either your latest blog update or that post from the Chicago Tribune on Twitter, you had to learn how to concisely say your tweet, until Budurl came about. For a tweeeter like me, this is a great little app. And, when I get to learn how to use the traffic management aspect of Budurl, it can only help this blog.

Can online marketing capture the enthusiasm of a 75-year-old professional sales person?

So, I am shopping in my local HEB this Sunday with my wife, when I run into Bill, the 75-something demonstrator for the food chain's generic paper towels. Compared to the other products that are demonstrated on a Sunday afternoon, paper towels are not as popular as gourmet M and Ms or the newest flavor of cheese or Merlot wine.

Despite the perceived product handicap, Bill's enthusiasm for his demo made me buy them as he noted that I can always use them for my car.

On the way home from the grocery, I got to think about Bill and his sales process. His enthusiasm was such I wanted his product.

As the sales and marketing process has moved towards an online marketplace, I am wondering how consumer products can capture the enthusiasm of people like Bill with a blog or a web site. To me, it will be hard to capture the enthusiasm of some like Bill, especially for new products in our grocery market.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I am proud of my wife Jackie and her fellowship

I just got word that my wife, Jackie, has been named to an Earthwatch Fellowship. My wife teaches physics and environmental science at San Antonio James Madison. She'll be traveling to Baltimore for a week long field research experience after Thanksgiving.. Part of her fellowshp will include a live stream/blog to her students from her fellowship location.

My wife is a master teacher who has also been named as a Radio Shack Math, Science and Technology Teacher of the Year several years ago.  She also is the coach of the Madison National Oceanic Science Bowl team, a volunteer job that has she has held for years.

Friday, October 24, 2008

World Series TV coverage shows how professional communicators can harness the power of TV

I am not the kind to watch a lot of TV these days, but I watched two news clips that made me think about how businesses can do a better job of harnessing the power of the medium. First, there was the ESPN clip of the Tampa Bay Rays as they warmed up for batting practice. All shots showed the Rays stretching or wearing either stocking caps or the army fatigue hats that were worn underneath a helmet.

And, that got me thinking to the good ol' days of baseball. It was 1968, and I was an eighth grader at Holy Family. Sister Mary Regina allowed us to watch the Cardinals and the Tigers play Game 1 on the school TV. If we did our work, we were allowed to watch the game. Sadly, this experiment in combining education with baseball lasted about half a game before our teacher pulled the plug.

So, the question arises: "Why does major league baseball still require the games to be play at nights, and who said that the weekend games had to be played in prime time?" The answer: the TV broadcasters who want to get more eyeballs for their sponsor's commercials. For the baseball purist, that means watching two great teams battle in cold weather with thermals and guys wearing special hats to combat the cold fall winds of Philadelphia.

Baseball could control the process again by requiring the broadcast to move back to day time. With DVRs, video recorders and the coverage of ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN News, Fox Sports and the web sites, baseball could make the game enjoyable. And, those of us who care about the game can watch the game with weather in the 50 to 60-degree range, instead of watching players and their fans freezing their backsides.

Or, better yet, baseball could move to independent warm weather sites where baseball could be played indoors or in weather conditions that were made for nighttime broadcasts. But, being the purist, it's my hope that the owners at MLB will do something for the fans by bringing the Fall Classic back to its rightful spot: 2 p.m. on EST and 11 a.m. on the West Coast.

Now, the second clip that got my interest was KENS 5, our local CBS affiliate, doing an hour special on credit unions and the credit crisis at 9 a.m. this morning. Here was a classic example of how TV blew it. The San Antonio local chapter of the Texas Association of Professional Federal Credit Unions pulled together a bunch of what the industry terms as "talking heads." That's when you get a bunch of interviews, and the respondents give you an answer on TV.

While the subject was compelling, the accompanying video was not worthy of air time. Each of the respondents sounded like a lawyer instead of answering naturally. If you didn't know better, and I do as I have guests book a spot on the show, it would appear that the interviewer and the respondent knew what the question was before they answered. By having the experts answer with a 30-second response, you knew that the credit union's lawyers had a role in the response. There were some good responses to some decent questions, but you could tell that the panelists already knew the answer to their questions before the show aired.

What the credit unions could learn on how to communicate that they're still functioning, writing loans and helping people get credit is to watch the work of My former boss and colleage, Mike Kelly, has done a good job in the viral world of setting up a web site landing page where people can post random questions with answers from certified financial planners responding to them. On a tour of USAA several months ago, Mike showed me some of the responses from the CFPs on his staff. Their answers are good, factual and well thought out.

I hope that my friends at the credit unions look at their financial colleagues and learn from their mistake. Canned TV does not make for compelling viewing, and the message of financial solvency in the credit union didn't hit home. Knowing how much the local chapter of credit unions paid for their show makes me wonder who is running their marketing departments especially with inspiration from competitors like USAA.

Will the economy make us afraid of coloring outside of our lines?

Late, yesterday, I had a somewhat rare case of anxiety disorder resulting from the fear of losing a major client. It's not that I haven't done excellent work for this client, but I sense that there is an underlying fear that this company doesn't want its employees or contractors to color outside their box.

So, is there a growing trend among us to not push the envelope because of the fear of failure? I hope not. Consider me one of those who will try to continue to use my Crayola Crayons to paint things outside the lines. I know in the Air Force that I was always the guy who didn't follow the status quo, and that resulted in offending some people. Yet, at the same time, I accomplished some major things in my military career, and these are some of the things which impress people who work with me today.

Perhaps, this economy is a good opportunity for risk takers. As more of those adverse to risk hunker down, the ones willing to try new things while not being afraid of failure, will stand out.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

North SA chamber publishes my article on how to maximize social media tools for a speech or presentation

I just saw my published article about how to use social media tools in the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce newsletter, and I got the same rush as when I was first published in the Holy Family 8th Grade newsletter. This time, my article was on how to use social media tools to publicize a speech.

(Shameless plug: If you are someone who has a major presentation that needs marketing and publicity, please call me as I can help generate buzz.)

Spotted at one of my local Starbucks -- Congressman Ciro Rodriguez

So I am sitting in one of my Starbucks regional offices when in walks Congressman Ciro Rodriguez.   While I live in Stone Oak, a very Republican area, I voted for him in his last campaign against his rival.   And, I will vote for him again as he does a great job of responding to his constituents.   While I may not always agree on all aspects of his campaign platform, the biggest deciding factor for me is his response to the constituents.  The buzz from the Starbucks was very positive as Congressman Rodriguez has given 100 coffee meetings at local Starbucks.   And, I agree with them.  It's rare when your local congressional representative takes the time to talk to you and leaves you with the impression that he is truly listening.   That's why he'll get my vote this week when I do the early balloting thing this week.

A FAQ on the value of hosting the Dinfos Trained Killers tribe

When I first started the group, the DINFOS Trained Killers nearly six months ago, I never thought it would grow as quickly as it did. However, today, the group has 279 qualified members with eight joining in the past week. When I mention that I am a manager of the DTKs to those people who don't get the value of using LinkedIn, I often hear negative responses to them getting a profile or creating a group.

So I thought I would use this blog as a forum for discussing why LinkedIn is worth a few minutes of their time. So, here is my first attempt at a FAQ for LinkedIn on the value of hosting the DINFOS Trained Killers.

1) If I join a group, my rivals will see all of my contacts.

No. By joining a group, you can share comments or email people, but for a rival to see your contacts, you have to allow them to link directly to you.

2) It's a waste of time. I'll never find a contact that is worth my time.

Thanks to this group, I reconnected with my former boss and colleague, Mike Kelly, the military marketing manager at USAA. Having Mike back into my circle of friends allows me to reconnect with him as needed.

3) My friend belongs to a group that gets a lot of spam from other members. What is different about your group?

First, we qualify every member. We have had those "bot" types who join every group under the sun. And, when I or Mike Kelly, my alternate DTK tribe manager, get a request from those folks, we send a nice note to them saying that they had to attend the Defense Information School to join our group.
4) Is it true that Dan Quayle and Al Gore could qualify for the DTKs?
Yes. Still awaiting for both of them to send requests to join our group. I suspect that since Vice President Gore invented the Internet that he is too busy with other groups to join ours or hasn't heard about us yet. As for Vice President Quayle, I am not sure what his reason would be for not joining the DTKs.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Free beer and lower taxes? Sign me up

Here's a deal that most Texans will love: a year's supply of free Lone Star beer and lower taxes. As the publicist for the Lone Star Brewery project, my client is in the process of announcing that their property has qualified for an historic easement tax credit from the San Antonio Historic Conservancy. For the typical condo owner, that means a drop of $22,000 in their property taxes. Meanwhile, Paul Kirchoff, the marketing manager of the project, has negotiated with the Lone Star Brewery for a year's supply of their product in the soon to be renovated tap room and club house. After each resident buys a condo, they'll get a year's supply of the "National Beer of Texas."
When you add that the property is a frisbee toss from the recently completed phase of the south RiverWalk project, it's going to be one of San Antonio's hottest properties.  As well, the folks at Lone Star Brewery are working with the project to restore the red neon light that lit up the south side of San Antonio.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Want wireless at your conference.... That will be $250.....

If you're planning on holding a conference at one of those major hotel chains (Think Marriot or Hilton), it's probably a good idea to negotiate the wireless fee as an added benefit.  I don't have the catering costs for one client who is hosting a conference, but I can expect it's a pretty significant fee with breakfast, lunch and cocktails.  So, when one of the executives from my client asked for wireless access, the caterers said they could provide it for $250.

Count me when I am planning a conference to insist that after spending some major dinero at a major hotel that I would get the wireless fee factored into the cost at nothing.   I emailed one colleague who is an event planner who said it was typical for the major chains to add this cost.  And, that's probably one reason why she is choosing another conference center downtown.   It has the same amenities without those extra costs.

As business people, we have to tighten our belts.   One way that I cut down on my costs is of course to use a wireless card whenever I leave my home office.  But, for those people who want to use the unsecured lines of a hotel wireless platform, it's good to plan for this.  

Monday, October 20, 2008

A plug for my son, Pete and my friend, Peter Shankman

I normally don't use my blog to promote things (except my company), but when my friend, Peter Shankman, mentioned that he was going to donate $$$$ for Autism Speaks, I had to take the time to use it to get reporters, bloggers and other news types to contact Peter about his Help A Reporter Out program.   First, if you are a reporter and want to reach out to thousands of subject matter experts, Peter's program is the best to find them.  And, guys like me, who contribute to queries, have to stay on topic.  If you don't or you really get off base, Peter will yank you from his service.

So, if you are someone who wants to broaden his base of experts, please give Peter a shout out, because my son, Pete, is a high functioning Asberger Syndrome.   My son, Pete, is now in college at Lamar, doing pretty well concerning his autistic condition.  Thanks to organizations like Autism Speaks, guys like my son Pete can function in mainstream America.  

I'm proud of my son, Pete, especially after he got a 91 on his last geology test.   Someday, I know he'll graduate with a degree, but I am proud of him for his journey.  If you are one of my many media buddies or know someone who can benefit from HARO, please forward it to them, especially if they have never used Peter's services.

Going to learn how to do that vlog thing this week

My client, ASSA ABLOY is in town for their first educational summit.  They've asked me to do some interviews with some of their customers and their division leaders.  So, I brought the camera today to do some short interviews.  And for inspiraton on how to do it right, I turned to my colleague, Alan Weinkrantz's blog for ideas.  

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tribune's endorsement of Obama historically significant

When I read online today that the Chicago Tribune had endorsed Barack Obama, I was impressed in the process that the Democratic candidate's media team had undertaken to get this.   As a youth growing up in Decatur, Illinois, I became a Tribune reader at the age of 14.

Wilma J. Dedman, my high school geography teacher at Stephen Decatur High School, kept about 45 days of the daily paper in her classroom.   As one of our class projects, we had to read and clip articles about different countries.   While a lot of my classmates read about the Chicago Bears and the Gil Thorp, I learned about how a very conservative media portayed the world.
Reading the Tribune in Mrs. Dedman's class was not my first exposure to the paper's conservative bent.  I remember as a child reading the cartoons at my grandpa's house and noted the front page as it lambasted Truman, Kennedy and Johnson.  In time, the Tribune mellowed somewhat.
Mrs. Dedman made me a regular reader of this Chicago paper.  I would take my hard-earned money and walk down to the post office to buy it every day before class in my next three years.  I remember the short walk to the post office and paying the 15 cents to the blind man who ran the news counter.  
   In college, my journalism teachers at Illinois State opened me up to the New York Times and the Washington Post.   Today, I read the Post and the Tribune both online from my Spring Blackberry when I have five or 10 minutes. 

So, when the Tribune editorial board officially endorsed Obama for president, I knew that this was a significant blow to McCain's campaign.  I am sure that there are a lot of emails McCain's campaign staff about the loss of this significant endorsement.

And, I can only imagine Mrs. Dedman's reaction if I was back in her fourth period World Geography class.  Her husband was the editor of the Decatur Tribune, a noted right wing paper.  She would probably say that it took a lot of convincing to get the Trib to endorse a Democrat in over a century.   And, being the excellent teacher that she was, she would let me think about the significance of this endorsement without slanting it towards her much more conservative view.

The evolution of traditional print journalist to the blogosphere

When I had coffee with Roy Bragg, the blogger in chief at the San Antonio Express News, he told me that the successful journalists in his industry would become "icons" on the web.   That conversation was about four months ago, and I've spoken to a couple of other print types.   Roy's colleague at the Express News, Adolfo Pesqueria, told me after one interview 45 days ago that his bosses expected him to do three to four videos a month in addition to the 11 to 14 byline stories he wrote every month. 

As a PR guy who deals with a lot of media types, I have been watching this trend among the industry.  When I started the last phase of the Austin Innotech PR, I noted that Omar Gallaga at the American Statesman was a similar power blogger like Roy.  He was one of my targets for Innotech, and his coverage of the Microsoft Surface debut was probably better than getting one of the local TV stations.  The problem with traditional TV is that most news pieces are about 90 to 150 seconds.   When Omar came to see the Surface the day before the trade show, his piece ran over five minutes.    Viewers of his video blog got a more in depth look at Microsoft's new product.

From speaking to Sean Lowery, the owner of Prospera Events, attendance for this year's event was 400 to 500 more than last year's event.   In a technology savvy town with the debut of Google's office and the Wireless Summit, at the same time as Innotech, having Omar's coverage the day of Innotech helped with generating buzz for the event.

Critiquing my work at Austin Innotech

One of the things which I learned during 20 years of working as a public affairs professional was the art of self evaluation. This process started when I first started working as the sports editor and then assistant sports editor for the Topic Tropics. Fred Spriggs, the editor, and I would set down with our red pen and work through all our errors in the hopes that we would learn from our mistakes and get better.

In time, I learned a lot from this self evaluation, so I thought I would share with you my own personal critique of my recent work as the public relations manager for Innotech Austin.

First, I should have gotten the help of an intern for this event. With the University of Texas or Texas State, I could have gotten someone to help with the extra calls needed to make sure that the TV types were engaged. With the Austin introduction of Microsoft Surface, the extra calls could have generated in more coverage.

Second, even without the help of an intern, I should have created a second electronic media advisory. While the standard press release helped get the attention of the Austin American Statesman and the Austin Business Journal, I needed to tailor a release that showed the news editors and assignment editors for the local TV/radio what kind of visuals and interview opportunities.

Lastly, while I thought we engaged the Austin blogosphere pretty well, I should have tied my blogs and other blogs into the Innotech Austin blog. As well, I should have considered hiring a second intern to provide blogging support throughout the trade show. This second intern should have also provided an interface with the Web 2.0 broadcasts via the Austin Innotech blog.

I realize that a lot of social media types always share their insight into their successes. However, I thought that by sharing my own self inspection process that my current and perhaps future customers will know that I am aways looking at ways to improve the way I do things. In the end, this internal process will make it better for them.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Spotted at Innotech -- Matt Genovese in a shirt and tie

If you know and work with Matt Genovese, founder of, you would find it surprising to see him a white shirt and a tie. But sure enough, he was donning a new blue tie that his wife have bought him. It seems that Mrs. Genovese didn't like his selection of 10-year-old ties, so she purchased him a new blue one.   Matt  was once a finalist for a CIO Magazine presentation which required formal business attire.

Measuring the success of Austin Innotech

How do you gauge the success of a tech show?   Jim Lowery, the "padre" of Sean, the president of Prospera Events, the Portland-based firm that produces Austin Innotech has a pretty succinct way of describing it.  "It's when the tatoo and the ear ring crowd are in the same space as the guys with the $1000 suits," he said.  That's a great description of the buzz at Austin Innotech.

AITP gets well deserved recognition for Innotech involvement

Thanks to Bryan Menell, the editor and found of Austin Startup, we got a record number of people for Innotech. Bryan helped considerably with the public relations effort and recognition of organizations such as AITP. This Austin IT organization helped with their annual awards recognition programs. At 4:45 p.m., the chapter will recognize the Austin IT Executive of the Year for both the Private and Public Sector. As well, AITP will also recognize the Austin Information Technologist of the Year and the Austin IT Solution of the Year.

Angelou supportive of green tech sector growth in Austin

As I was walking through the Austin Innotech exhibits, I got a few minutes to hear Angelos Angelou speak on the growth of technology.  The one comment I heard that stuck out was the growth potential for green technology.   Having worked with the folks at the Green Technology Alliance, I know that's great news for them and other advocates of energy conservation.  

Swag worth the trip to Austin Innotech

Not only does Austin Innotech have a great selection of programs, but the swag is pretty excellent as well. I am normally not someone who wants to get pens and such. However, the folks at Sun Microsystems have hooked me up with a great ball while Time Warner Cable gave me an excellent marker. I'll probably ship this off to Peter, my son, at Lamar.

Five for five.... David Smith to speak again at Innotech Austin

My friend and client, David Smith, the chief executive officer of HBMG Inc., is making his fifth consecutive speech at Innotech Austin.  Smith, one of Austin's leading technology visionaries, is slated to speak at 9:30 a.m. this morning.  He'll also speak at two sessions at Innotech Oklahoma

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Press8 to make announcement at Innotech Austin

Press8, an Austin technology company, will  make a major product announcement tomorrow, company officials said.  Scott Bender, the company's director of sales and marketing, said his firm will make the announcement at Austin Innotech.  

I really don't know clouds at all

To paraphrase that old Joni Mitchell classic, when it comes to cloud computing, "I Really Don't Know Clouds At All."   Thanks to the folks at Innotech Austin, I have a better understanding of the technical concept.   Kevin Gough, one of Austin Innotech's keynote speakers, and his PR staff at Google, worked with me to complete a Qs and As for Austin Startup.  Now, I have a little better comprehension on cloud computing.  If you are in central Texas, please make sure to take part in Kevin's 1 p.m. session at Austin Innotech.

e-Marketing summit a sellout at Innotech

Consider yourself lucky if you are one of the 230 people who got a ticket for the Austin Innotech E-Marketing Summit, as the event is a sellout.   Even though that event is sold out, there are still plenty of other seminars of interest.  One that should interest the folks in Austin is the 1 pm sessions which include "iPhone in the Enterprise" and "Google Cloud Computing - Ready for Business."  

Monday, October 13, 2008

Microsoft Surface Qs and As published on Austin Startup

I am working through some last minute details for the Oct. 16 Innotech and the debut of some new technology in central Texas.  Today, the folks at published my Qs and As with Robert Miles, the vice president for speakTECH.   To help publicize the show, speakTECH is allowing the media to come a day early to see a working demo of this new Microsoft technology.    If you're a media member and want to see Surface without the 2000 or more people expected for this trade show, I would contact me today.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

ASSA ABLOY planning educational summit in San Antonio.

If you are an architect or a security professional who lives close to San Antonio, you should plan on coming to the Alamo City for the Life and Security Conference at the Marriott River Center, Oct. 21.  Sponsored by my client, ASSA ABLOY, this is an excellent chance to learn more about ways to provide better security solutions for the educational and other markets.  For more information, please call Leroy Garza, 210-254-6044 or email him at:  LGarza (At) asssabloydss (dot) com.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Advice for a technology dinosaur

Technology dinosaurs throughout the Austin blogosphere got some great advice from Bill Leake yesterday when he answered my question on what to do to catch up with those who have fully embraced social media.   As the publicist for Austin Innotech, it's been my job to find ways to use the social media tools available to me.  Bryan Menell, the blogger in chief, at Austin Startup has been most gracious in allowing me the chance to do some Qs and As for some of the program chairs and speakers for Innotech.  

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Working with the man who is revolutionizing the use of the I-phone and the 2008 election

As the publicist for Austin Innotech, I get to work with a lot of talent people who are presenters for this trade show.   When I looked at the list of people who were scheduled to present, I noted Raven Zachary as a presenter on wireless technology.    When the folks at Austin Startup asked me to help put together some Qs and As for their blog, I asked Raven to help me with his take on his industry.   Raven's responses ran the same day as the tech media was running stories on his Barack Obama I-phone application.  Raven and his team have created a special app that allows the Democratic candidate's followers to reach out to their undecided friends in 15 key states.

Tech dinosaur comment generates buzz in Austin blogosphere

As Austin Innotech approaches, I have been working with Bryan Menell, the blogger in chief at Austin Startup to publicize the Oct. 16 event. On Monday, Menell published my interview with Bill Leake, the chief executive at Apogee Search. Bill's response to my question on how technology dinosaurs can embrace social media tools caused quite a stir in the Austin blogosphere. If you're a technology dinosaur, you might want to heed Bill's five steps for overcoming resistance to the use of social media tools.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Working with Military Warriors Support Foundation

I am excited that my firm has been selected by the Military Warriors Support Foundation to help promote a Nov. 6 Clay Walker concert and the foundation's ongoing work to help wounded military members. As a retired veteran who still uses the medical facilities at the Brooke Army Medical Center, I can truly appreciate the sacrifice that these men and women made for our country.

This is also the second time that Walker has agreed to help the foundation with their concert to be held at the Cornerstone Church. Tickets will soon be on sale online for $15 with a $5 discount for those with a valid military ID card. The foundation is also selling tables for the dinner. More details to come on this.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wanted -- a good place for a San Marcos mixer that won't have the Miller beer man pull his product.....

I was in Austin yesterday, working with my client, HBMG Inc, and also meeting with Matt Genovese at Door64. Matt, my client, invited me to a mixer at the Electronics Design & Manufacturing Symposium & Vendor Show held at the Norris Convention Center. Over water and a beer, Matt mentioned the $350 cost for a keg of beer which got me thinking of what the Miller beer man (see above) would do if he saw that it cost a company that much for a keg of beer, most of which went unconsumed. Based on the price, I could just see him rolling the keg out of the Norris Center with his shrill: "$350 for a keg of beer?!? Are you nuts!"

However, the cost of the catering got Matt and I thinking about the need to find a reasonably priced place to hold a San Antonio-Austin mixer. Several of us are meeting in San Marcos to discuss such an event, and it's obvious that we need a place that won't kill us on the cost of beverages and some hors d' ouerves. If you know of such a spot, please share you comments and thoughts.