Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Those who have never “camped out” all night in order to get a good spot in line are seriously missing out.
Last night, 14-year-old Hadley Hillel and his dad pitched a tent (waterproof, I hope) outside the University Village Apple Store in
On Monday, several of us are headed to the 2009 DEMO
There’ll be start-up founders pitching investors, investors mentally cataloging interesting new companies and plenty of PR people salivating over the possibilities of promoting a slick new technology.
The hosts have promised free drink tickets to the first 40 people to arrive at the event…anybody want to camp out?!?
Thursday, June 18, 2009
So for those of you who don't know me, I'm a bit of a science geek. In my spare time, I go to Science on Tap lectures, read Carl Zimmer's blog, The Loom, and occasionally answer questions like, "What's phenylalanine? " (Note: I had to look this up and my answer was- "Something that's not good for you.")
Even my "for fun" reading list has a science/tech bent- one of my favorite books is Parasite Rex and I read it at night when I can't sleep. So imagine my delight when I came across Fragment by Warren Fahy.
The premise is cheesy but interesting. An American research ship lands on a remote, unexplored island and finds crazy creatures that evolution did some twisted things to. They study the creatures. Creatures kill. People scream. People die. Good fun is had for all involved.
(Please note: My colleagues around me checked it out and said it looked "gross.")
I'm in the middle of reading it now with the Kindle app on my iPhone and so far, it's everything I want my fiction reads to be: Mindless entertainment and some science tidbits thrown in for good measure.
What's interesting about this book are the supplementals offered alongside the text itself. The Amazon page has:
- Three webisodes based on the creatures in the book
- Artist renditions of the creatures
- A map of the island
I know some authors are on Twitter (I'm looking at you, James Rollins @jamesrollins and Neil Gaiman @neilhimself) and are pretty transparent about their writing process, things they're working on, etc- which is pretty cool for fans.
I think it's great that authors are using these tools (supplementals, Twitter, etc) to promote and create excitement about their books and to give us insight into their lives and creative process (but, uh, not in a creepy way- I'm not a stalker, I swear!). I'm sure they've been doing this since the dinosaurs began but I'm just now waking up to all the different things I could be exploring with my favorite books/authors.
I'm interested in finding more though- are any authors pushing more viral campaigns with new book launches? I'm thinking like a literary version of the Cloverfield campaign. Let me know!
Also- what's on your summer reading list?
Happy reading, Kristin (@KFontanilla)
PS- Here's a list of authors on Twitter- thank you, Squidoo.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I love reading about companies that truly get it when it comes to creating social media campaigns and I knew Grasshopper, a phone number service provider for small businesses and entrepreneurs, got it when I started seeing a lot of people I follow online talking about chocolate covered grasshoppers they were sent in the mail.
Along with the grasshoppers, which you know would lead to all sorts of dares and pranks only to be captured on video/camera/TV and posted to blogs, twitter, youtube, etc., there was also a link to a video. The video, Entrepreneurs Can Change the World, elicits thoughts of rainbows and sunshine and feelings of happiness and innovation. There isn't a hint of self-serving advertisement or subliminal messaging telling you to buy something, well not until the end anyway where they post their link. But at that point you are so buzzed with happiness that you kind of want to click on that link to see where you can sign up to save the world.
I think Grasshopper did a brilliant job at re-launching their brand by sending these grasshoppers and video links out to 5,000 influentials both online and off. To break through the news, no matter the medium, I'm a big believer in anything that's quirky, fun and a little stunty.
According to Mashable.com here are a few stats from the campaign that the company has recorded to date:
- 4,911% traffic increase from April to May
- 144,843 video views with 162 comments
- 1,500 tweets
- 120 blog posts in one month
- Tweets from Guy Kawasaki, Kevin Rose, and Jason Calacanis
- 7 national TV mentions
The internet is big. You can announce your break-up, find a mac-and-cheese recipe pretty dang close to your grandma's, challenge other people at jewel-matching games and make sand art.
And now you can also be a "journalist". As PR people, we constantly find ourselves discussing the "new face of journalism" and how citizen journalists and traditional journalists can peacefully co-exist. We've shifted the methods we use to reach our clients' targets, including bloggers in our outreach efforts and debating regularly who our markets' influencers are.
As our view of credible sources shifts, here's something to keep in mind:
A traditional journalist who reviews a restaurant is going to disclose the fact that the chef comped his meal to get the story.
A blogger may not.
At the recent IFBC in Seattle, panelists brought up this very point, suggesting that for a blog to earn street cred, transparency is key.
A traditional journalist will return the product you sent him to review, so that no one can claim that his review was positive because he benefited financially from the opportunity.
A blogger may not. Or as I witnessed today, a blogger may even keep the review product you sent him (which you suggested he giveaway to his readers) and attempt to sell it on eBay.
We're becoming more and more internet savvy. There are Boomers on Facebook and the emails from the Prince of Africa, offering millions of dollars are luring fewer people. Hopefully, the bloggers with higher standards will earn credibility and those without will get ignored.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
This blog is great for perspective on how other PR practitioners are adapting new tools and trends to remain competitive within the revolution in communication the industry is experiencing.
The recent post on "The State of PR, Marketing, and Communications: You are the Future" I found to be particularly inspiring and wanted to share. The post is incedibly lengthy, but worthwhile!!!
Monday, June 1, 2009
MuckRack is a resource for finding journalists on Twitter and read journalists tweets in real time. Muck Rack considers themselves a means for determining the news of tomorrow today. The main page features tweets from journalists that can be filtered by category, publication, beat, and links. “Muck Rack makes it easy to follow one line, real time reporting.”
Twibes are groups of interest for twitter. Similar to facebook groups, Twibes allow twitter members to join a group of their interest and view tweets posted to the dedicated twibe handles. Twibes can be used to cultivate data and conduct market research of the twitter members who have joined the group. The site is set up to also be used for market research.
dailyRT is a tweet aggregator that gathers the most popular tweets on twitter and displays them using our own scoring algorithm and numerous filters. Some great uses that we've found so far are: discovering tomorrow's newspaper headlines today, tracking stories as they happen, exploring trends from specific dates in history, and finding out what the cool kids are talking about. dailyRT gives you the ability to search tweets based on keyword(s). You have the ability to search for tweets containing links, videos, and/or images. You can view tweets from people with a certain maximum and/or minimum number of followers. You can specify a timespan you would like to see tweets from. Once you are logged in, you have the option of only seeing tweets from the people you are following as well as being able to save your searches.
Tweetstats allows viewers to graph Twitter Stats including such as tweets per hour, tweets per month, tweet timeline, and reply statistics for anything that you search.
ExecTweets is a resource to help you find and follow the top business executives on Twitter. Created by Federated Media, in partnership with Microsoft, ExecTweets is a platform that aggregates the tweets of top business execs and empowers the community to surface the most insightful, business-related tweets.
twendz is a Twitter mining Web application that utilizes the power of Twitter Search, highlighting conversation themes and sentiment of the tweets that talk about topics you are interested in. Mining Twitter conversations alerts you to brewing trends, conversation topics and points of view. twendz uses a keyword-based approach to score tweets. Meaningful words in each tweet are compared against a “dictionary” of thousands of words that are associated with positive or negative sentiment; each word receives a score that, when combined with the other scored words, allows twendz to make an educated guess at the overall tone of a tweet.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I learned a new term this week when I read about Dell's newest campaign - "Badvertising".
The post on Jezebel.com was all about Dell's new female-centric ad launch around their new line of netbooks. Some thought the campaign took the advertising too far making it seem like women have never heard of this thing called technology and that all they do is worry about what to make for dinner and how to work off those extra pounds (Dell gave tips on finding recipes and workouts).
What's even more interesting though is how Dell ended up listening to the feedback in the end which led them to revise some of the campaign content. At this point, what's done is done but at least they listened right?
Take a read for yourself and post your thoughts on Dell's campaign. Don't forget to check out Joanna Stern's take on it at Laptop.com as well.
Full article: http://bit.ly/MoigB
Laptop's post: http://bit.ly/13atIF
Monday, May 18, 2009
The International Food Blogger Conference wrapped up yesterday evening after a weekend of fascinating panels, presentations, blogging, podcasting, tweeting, and of course, amazing food from regional chefs and food producers.
The final panel of the day, "Passionate Purveyors & Producers" featured four speakers promised to "change the way you feel about commodity food:" Lauren Adler of Chocolopolis; Carrie Oliver from Oliver Ranch; Luke Dirks from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Karl Kupers of Shepherd's Grain. The weekend couldn't have ended on a more appropriate panel. Moderated by Foodista.com's Barnaby Dorfman, the panelists definately delivered on the promise to change the way you think about steak, chocolate, coffee, and even grains...foods that a lot of us consume on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Oliver convinced me not only to try hosting a beef tasting in the same manor that one might do a wine tasting, but she made everyone rethink the USDA standards for "organic." Adler highlighted the political and socioeconomic issues--and highly competitive nature--of the growing and harvesting of cacao beans.
Throughout the weekend, the International Food Blogger Conference introduced attendees to amazing foods, and of course, the best ways to share the love of food with readers through blogs. But beyond the amazing cheeses, oysters, wines (oh, the wines...) and everything else consumed, it seems that conference attendees were energized to share a renewed sense of appreciation for what we eat and where it comes from. It is, afterall, about the food. I for one am excited to see the variety of posts from bloggers who attended the conference. And for those who missed the conference, a snapshot of each session--in the form of podcasts--will be available shortly on the IFBC website.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to pack my gym bag and start Phase One of the South Beach Diet to recover. Unfortunately, portion control and carb cutting were not key topics this weekend!
Saturday, May 16, 2009
This weekend I was able to help out with the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) hosted by Foodista.com. Last night I attended the cocktail party that took place in the Beamis building near Safeco and Qwest field. The night was spectacular. For starters, Northstar wines was there with several delicious wines which were accompanied by Dry Soda at the bar. I tried the Vanilla Bean for the first time and it is my new love. Also got to try the Petit Verdot, which was a type of wine I’d never had before. So amazing! In addition to great drinks, Seastar’s Chef John Howie prepared a beautiful spread which included some sushi, which of course I sampled, and an oyster bar from Taylor Shell Fish. The night finished off with coffee from Caffé Vita and Theo Chocolates which were specially made for each other. What a brilliant idea! Presenters from both companies as well as Onepot.org gave us the “Tale of Two Roasters” which lovingly described their collaborative efforts. Of course the highlight of the evening was hearing from esteemed author Renee Behnke and getting a peak at her book Memorable Recipes (psst…she blogs too).
This morning we made our way to the beautiful Sanctuary in West Seattle where the conference really got going. Starting the morning off with pastries from Bakery Nouveau and Stumptown coffee was really the way to go. Over the next couple hours panelists walked attendees and fellow bloggers through not only the process of turning a blog to a book but, perhaps more important, how to find your voice in writing/blogging. The panelists included bloggers, writers, publishers and more. The morning was truly inspirational and the attendees were clearly absorbed and in awe of what the panelists had to say. If you want to get a peak at what’s going on at the IFBC, make sure to checkout their website for a live web stream as well as podcasts and videos coming in the next week.
Not to be outdone by the night before, the lunch provided by a number of Tom Douglas restaurants was incredible. We were presented with an absolutely perfect salmon and salad from the Four Seasons’ ART restaurant, savory pasta and dessert from Cantinetta and a unique vegetable dish from Boom Noodle. There was also a sampling of artisan cheeses from Mt. Townsend Creamery and Willapa Hills Farmstead. I have not experienced a spread like that in a long time, maybe never. But no matter how amazing the food, the part I’ll remember to most was the excitement and passion of the IFBC attendees. Just being in the room you get a sense for how wholly they love food and sharing the experience with others. I saw old friends catching up, new friends closing mileage gaps and chefs who acquired new fans (including me).
I can’t wait to hear the report from our other Porter Novelli troopers who will be onsite the rest of the weekend capturing the amazing moments.
Ok…you caught me…I’ll REALLY remember the food too.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Back in the day (you know, the day) as a single guy, I’d often find myself in a tough spot when dinner time rolled around. My hunger would sometimes conflict with my desire to leave the house, so I’d be left with making do with whatever I had on hand. I’ve never been someone who kept a well-stocked pantry. If I’m going to make something for dinner and I know it ahead of time, I buy what I need to prepare that meal that day and make it, the end. This behavior leaves me with a lot of random food, surplus from meal-specific purchases.
Ok…I’ve got flour tortillas…..and salsa…(promising!)…string cheese (shaky)….but no beef, or beans. “Mexican Pizza” is born.
Pasta, instant mashed potatos…these are great starting points for ghetto mash. If you’ve got either of these, you’re on to something (a heart attack, maybe?)
Rice’n’Tuna Ghetto Mash
2 cups rice. I usually use calrose.
3 cans solid white albacore (I’ve tried standard chunk light tuna…prefer the albacore)
Way too much soy sauce
Some hot sauce, amount depending on mood
- Prepare the rice using your favorite method. I always bust out my trusty rice cooker that needs to be replaced because it’s so old but I don’t have the heart to replace because I’m dumb and sentimental like that.
- In a large-ish bowl, empty out the 3 cans of tu-…albacore.
- Add the cooked rice.
- Dump in a bunch of soy sauce.
- A little more.
- Ok, that should be enough.
- Wait, a bit more.
- Add some hot sauce to preference. Might I suggest the king of all hot sauces, Tabasco®? Mix thouroughly.
- Grab a spoon.
Anyone else have any “ghetto mash” recipes? Don't leave me hangin'.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Well...it's taken me some time to figure out what I was going to write tonight...until a very wise, albeit young, sage confirmed my topic for this post...the best "appliance" ever made...truly...the Fry Daddy.
While from the outside...this unassuming piece of plastic with a coil-lined interior wouldn't draw much attention from the average consumer...but I'm anything but the average consumer. Simply the name of this appliance...the "Fry Daddy" is enough to garner my attention whether it is sold in Walmart or Sur La Table...I gravitated.
So for those who know me...one would assume that I would be focused on a raclette machine (which I have), fondue pot (also) and/or Kitchenaide appliances (yup!)...but one can put one's "snobbery" (I call it "instinct" and "knowledge") aside and understand that the Fry Daddy has its place amongst the best of culinary appliances and deserves some long overdue respect...granted, I also have the "George Forman" (initially excited...since done with it)...as well as the Jack Lelane juicer (great juice...but does the aparatus need to be the size of a NASA satellite?!)...but the Fry Daddy...oh, the Fry Daddy...provides me such comfort I can't even begin to describe it.
There have been the quick and dirty neighborhood BBQs...where hot dogs and hamburgers are the order of the day for the youngins...but once they see those Ore Ida Fast Food fries come out of that hot and smoking Fry Daddy...you'd think I was the Ghandi of the kitchen...or how about the long and delicious dinner...of true culinary excellence...which then turned into the 3+ hour deep conversations over bottles of wine #3, #4, #5++...which then led to the subsequent Tater Tot and Dutch Kroket EXTRAVAGANZA...and who was at the center of said EXTRAVAGANZA?! The Fry Daddy. He/She is that reliable and dependable friend...that brings satisfaction and joy to all who experience him/her (could the Fry Daddy actually be a her?! Discuss)...alas...in a world where all things culinary are fancy...shiny...expensive...endorsed by the likes of Martha Stewart and Wolfgang Puck...my vote is for the under-appreciated...under-utilized...and under-funded $19.99 special called the Fry-Daddy...don't be a hater! ;)
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Us West Seattleites, swelling with pride over our little beach town feel, have been hard pressed to ever feel proud of our dining scene. From the Husky Deli to Poggie Tavern to Zatza Better Bagel (what kind of name is that?) our restaurant options have been slim.
But, it's all changing. And changing fast. Might West Seattle become the place for a nice dinner out and a lovely stroll among the neighborhoods? It seems likely.
Our first decent option, Ovio, opened years ago, and was a lone stalwart among taco shops and pub food. Though it was never quite the same after moving from its charming beginnings to a more cavernous Alaska Junction location, they still made a decent martini and knew the difference between medium and well done. But they weren't meant to be--expansion lost the character they started with and the space turned into an oyster bar (albeit a very hip 1950's style oyster bar).
But Ovio paved the way for our increasingly sophisticated taste buds. The short-lived, but excellent, Beato which took over the old, old Ovio spot was everything a restaurant should be: great wine, incredible service, cozy atmosphere, and normal size (not Claimjumper) portions. It was perhaps a bit too smart, and portions a bit too small to make it, but it gave us hope of good things to come.
Recently opened Springhill took the best of Ovio and Beato and has made a decent go of it. The very cool interior and reliably good food that's a bit different than the norm--think spicy pork belly, hen of the woods, smoked king clam crumbs, and Tokyo turnips--make you wonder how it landed in West Seattle. And on Monday nights they do a simple "supper" menu--limited options; good, hearty food; a decent price; and cheap wines by the glass. A perfect to start the week.
On the other end of the spectrum is Beveridge Place Pub. With a dedication to beer (several hundred on tap or in the bottle), it's what Cheers could have been--cool. A chill attitude, communal tables, lots of pool, and piles of games make it a perfect place for any afternoon. Along with their no attitude rule is one of the best ideas to ever hit a bar: they have a binder of takeout menus and you can call and have food delivered to the bar. Seriously. Hungry for Chinese with your IPA? Done. Want a little Greek? Easy. How about a pizza? Zeek's is right next door. Call and order from the bar and walk down and pick it up when ready. We've even taken our own appetizer with us from home--a steamed artichoke and fresh baguette.
We got the baguette from Bakery Nouveau, the best thing to happen to me in my baked goods life. You know these guys are serious when you see the 2005 Coupe de Monde Boulangerie (World Cup of Bread) sitting pretty in the front window. Basic translation--these are the best of the best, of the best. If you're one of the five or so people left in Seattle who haven't been over to check it out--do so fast. This place is amazing-macaroons (the real kind), handmade chocolates, twice baked almond croissant (sinful), and bread, sandwiches, and everything else to make a trip from nearly anywhere worth it.
Opening soon is a new creation in Alaska Junction by the folks from Herban Feast. A sneak peek at the new menu for The Fresh Bistro looks perfect for rainy nights or warm summers: beet salad; oxtail bourguignon; spring pea soup; and so on.
And if you don't want to eat out but would rather throw your own party, check out the happening event space in an old church, The Sanctuary. It was just voted the best venue by 400 party planners and caterers in the state. It's really the perfect fit for West Seattle--understated, intriguing, and the place where everybody wants to be, but nobody wants to admit just how cool it is...