LMGPR: What’s in a Name (or a Letter?!)

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Officially, the “LMG” in LMGPR stands for “Loughlin Michaels Group.” Here at the office, however, “LMG” takes on a meaning that we strive to bring to all our clients: Leadership, Momentum and Growth. Our current clients are proving this true:

LEADERSHIP:

Lastline has just released a report called “The Security Threat of Evasive Malware.” It details how malware authors are exploiting the limited visibility of so-called sandboxes or automated malware analysis systems. This report coupled with LMGPR’s aggressive outreach has positioned Lastline as a thought leader in the security field. The story was picked up in several outlets including GCN who wrote “It should be noted that Lastline has a dog in this fight and is offering a solution to counter this new threat.” The report and subsequent coverage is building momentum for Lastline ahead of RSA.

MOMENTUM:

The first two months of 2013 have resulted in an avalanche of momentum for iSmartAlarm. First there was the success of the smartphone-enabled home security and automation system’s unveiling at CES. With LMGPR on hand in Las Vegas, the product received rave reviews and resulted in more than 100 articles globally. Building on that momentum, iSmartAlarm launched an Indiegogo campaign that offered consumers the opportunity to pre-order the system prior to the official April launch. The campaign was a smash hit and iSmartAlarm more than doubled its $50K goal. The momentum was such, that iSmartAlarm decided to extend the pre-sale, so if you haven’t picked up your iSmartAlarm yet, you still have time.

GROWTH:

Agari personifies growth. The email security leader’s revenue grew 300-percent in 2012. The company’s anti-phishing net has also grown: the company now protects over 2.3 billion emails on a daily basis, stopping over four-million suspicious emails and detecting over 40,000 malicious URL’s. This type of growth hasn’t gone unnoticed. LMGPR took these results to the press and Agari found itself in several outlets including Venturebeat and Dow Jones. Additionally, CSO highlighted Agari Founder and CEO Patrick Peterson as a thought leader in a recent article on phishing attacks being conducted via GoogleDocs. Agari is poised for continued growth in 2013 as the momentum continues to build.

LET LMG WORK FOR YOU!

The Leadership, Momentum and Growth results are not uncommon for LMGPR clients. We work with each client individually, mapping out the right PR plan utilizing the LMGPR Pulse to develop the right stories and make sure we connect with the right audience to deliver real business results. If you’re ready to put some Leadership, Momentum and Growth into your company, give LMGPR a call.

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Silicon Valley: A Land of Opportunity

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It wasn’t that long ago when Silicon Valley, the tech capitol of the world, was a lush farmland known as the “Valley of Hearts Delight.”

So how did Santa Clara Valley go from being an agricultural hub to a technological wilderness?

It started in 1957 with eight men… and a dream.

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A new “American Experience” documentary entitled “Silicon Valley” takes “an eye-opening look at the birthplace of the modern technological era.” From transistors to microprocessors, from pocket radios to iPhones, we see the evolution of Silicon Valley, told by some of the key players involved.

It’s an inspiring tale of a new brand of “The American Dream” that lives on today.

Click here to watch the film online.

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After viewing the documentary, we were reminded of what was great about Silicon Valley: that it is a place where dreams are realized, where failures are spectacular, but where hope is always alive.

As Silicon Valley’s tech PR agency, LMGPR continues to be inspired by the minds and ideas that keep Silicon Valley the center of the tech world. It’s what gets us excited to wake up each day and do our personal best for our clients and be the best PR agency we can be.

What inspires you about Silicon Valley?

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The First Must-Read Book of 2013

Brian Solis is back!

The renowned digital analyst, blogger, speaker, advisor and author of two of LMGPR’s favorite books:

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Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web

and

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The End of Business As Usual: Rewire the Way You Work to Succeed in the Consumer Revolution

has announced the upcoming release of his next book:

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What’s the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences.”

According to Solis, the new book “explores the evolving landscape of new consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold and flourish in four distinct moments of truth.”

Here’s a promotional video ahead of the March 11th book release:

But wait, there’s more! Solis adds that the book “is also an experience in (and) of itself. It’s a visually rich, four-color journey… think digital app but in an analog format.”

If his past efforts are any indication, “What’s the Future of Business” will be one NOT to miss this year. The book makes its debut at SXSW on March 8th and will be available in stores March 11th.

It’s a safe bet LMGPR will be first in line.

(For more on Brian Solis, check out his blog, Facebook and Twitter)

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A ValenTECH’s Day Gift Guide!

 

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They say it’s the thought that counts.

So if you’re one of the masses giving one of the top three most popular Valentine’s Day gifts (Candy- 47.5%, Flowers- 34.3%, Dining Out- 34.6%) you may want to ask yourself: “How much thought am I REALLY putting into this?”

Perhaps this year it’s time to buck the generic trend.

As Silicon Valley’s tech PR firm, we’re constantly on the lookout for cool tech products and have come up with some great gift ideas for your digital valentine:

Milktape

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Remember the mixtape? A collection of songs you’d make for someone that perfectly captured your every emotion? Well now you can give a Milktape. It’s a 21st century spin on the mixtape with a USB stick that holds about 15 songs. Let him or her know how you really feel this Valentines Day with the gift of music.

iSmartAlarm

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A home security system for a Valentine’s gift? Ok, so it sounds a bit practical, but really, what’s more romantic than letting your significant other know that you care about their well-being and safety? This mobile, portable, affordable home security system utilizes the iPhone to keep your loved one safe. Forbes has endorsed iSmartAlarm, so has TechCrunch. Check out their Indiegogo campaign here.

Coyote Case

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This Smartphone case is a ” powerful, personal panic siren coupled with an automated, Bluetooth-enabled safety app.” When triggered, it not only lets out a piercing shriek, but also sends a text with GPS coordinates to pre-selected emergency contacts.

Rock Candy

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Give your gamer a little love this Valentines Day! These controllers for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii look almost good enough to eat! They come in a variety of colors and at under $25-bucks, they won’t break the bank!

USB Tulip Hub

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And finally… If you HAVE to buy flowers, then might we suggest flowers that will live for more than just a few days! The USB Tulip Hub contain four USB high-speed ports to keep your Valentine charged up throughout the day!

Happy ValenTECH’s Day from your pals at LMGPR!

 

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LMGPR Knows Social Media

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By Helen Koh

Step aside Internet memes, cat videos and less-than-interesting Facebook/Twitter updates about “where you are” or “what you had for lunch:” LMGPR is here for business!

At LMGPR, we utilize social media for all of our clients. We work with each client individually to create a winning social media campaign, establishing a strong presence for them throughout all relevant social media channels to maximize their reach.

We are not alone in recognizing the importance that social media can have on a business. According to the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 83% of marketers use social media for business purposes.  Of these marketing professionals, 59% spend 6 hours or more per week on social media sites and 33% spend 11 or more hours weekly.

So why is social media important?

Instant Exposure:

Before the social media explosion, PR outreach was limited to traditional methods such as press releases. This took time and planning as releases have to go through a review process from publications and their respective journalists, writers and editors before being issued on their websites.

Social media changed all that.

With the growing use of smartphones and tablets, not to mention traditional home and office computers, social media is everywhere. As a result, we can reach out via social media to our target audiences almost instantaneously wherever they may be. It’s a quick, concise way to get not only news, but also images, audio, video and other multimedia content to the intended audience.

Here’s a tweet we posted on behalf of our client iSmartAlarm as they launched their indiegogo campaign at CES:

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In addition to issuing a press release, we used Facebook and Twitter updates to spread the word about iSmartAlarm’s new home security product. This type of social interaction generated additional buzz and momentum for iSmartAlarm, who is now well on the way to reaching its campaign goals.

Branding:

Social Media can be used as a tool to generate awareness and to enhance a company’s image.

One of LMGPR’s core offerings in the branding department is blogging.

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We find that writing entries about a company and the products and services that they offer is a great way to dramatically increase brand recognition. It’s also an opportunity to show thought leadership in that respective field. Without any character limits, blog posts keep your audience in the loop with all your company’s internal activities and educates them about issues your company finds important. We can also use Facebook, Twitter and other outlets to publicize the blog resulting in more traffic to your website.

Audience Interaction:

One of the key benefits of social media is that it allows companies to interact directly with their customers!

Twitter and Facebook both allow consumers to leave messages and ask questions. A company on top of its social media program responds to the comments and shows the consumer that they are listening and that they care. This goes a long way in building a lasting relationship with current customers and may result in new customers as well.

At LMGPR, we also use social media to build relationships with the press. These days, some journalists are more likely to check their Twitter feed than their email inbox! We also use Twitter to retweet or acknowledge those journalists or publications that have highlighted our clients:

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All of these efforts work to keep our clients relevant within the press and their target audience. It’s a win-win.

But Wait, There’s More!

The benefits of social media don’t end there! There are also reduced marketing expenses, increased sales, website traffic, search rankings and so much more.

The power and reach of social media is still evolving and continues to transform the way we communicate. We at LMGPR have our finger on the pulse of what is happening within the social media realm and are constantly finding new ways to use social media to our client’s advantage.

If you think your company may need some social media help, contact us for a free consultation. We’ll be more than happy to show you what social media can do for you.

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Tech Entrepreneur and Editor of Technorazzi Shares Story of Deception on Investigation Discovery

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This is Christine Marie Katas. She’s the co-founder of Contagious Apps & Entertainment, a digital media creativity factory producing next-generation software applications, content and multimedia. She is also the publisher and editor of Technorazzi Magazine, a blogazine about “the human side of geeks and creative geniuses.” Previously, Christine Marie was the co-founder and COO of en2go, a cutting-edge technology company with a space-age video streaming platform.

But in addition to being a tech entrepreneur and evangelist, Christine Marie Katas is also a survivor:

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Prior to finding tech success, Christine Marie’s life took a horrific detour when she fell under the spell of a self-proclaimed religious prophet. Her story is the subject of an upcoming documentary entitled “Prophet or Predator” airing on Investigation Discovery this month and is described as follows:

“A devoted Mormon mom meets an ex-Mormon who targets her in an attempt to break her faith in God. When she rejects him, he enlists the help of others and masterminds a plan to imposter as a prophet while deceiving, defrauding, exploiting and psychologically torturing Christine Marie to teach her the lesson he wants her to learn, if she survives.”

You can watch the trailer here.

Christine Marie did manage to survive, though by the end of the ordeal she was left homeless, penniless and eventually learned she qualified for services as a victim of human trafficking. It was a long road to recovery but Christine Marie was determined to turn her life around.

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Today, Christine Marie lives in Las Vegas, is happily married and is the mother of four gifted, grown children. In addition to her tech success, she is in the 2013 Who’s Who in American Business, is a former Ms. Michigan, Young Mother of the Year, Outstanding Service Award winner, Community Service Award winner, and published author.

But above all that, Christine Marie has turned the negative events of her life into a positive. Christine Marie is a human rights blogger, a feminist, an abolitionist and works to help empower women through an awareness campaign she founded called Voices for Dignity. The site offers content, technology, photography and web sites for survivors, activists or organizations that empower women to speak up and change lives.

Christine Marie’s incredible story of survival serves as an inspiration to anyone who has suffered or is suffering hardships and mirrors the words of Marcus Aurelius:

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

For more information on Christine Marie Katas visit christinemarie.com

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In the News: Documents.Me!

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It was a successful launch for Documents.Me.

The Santa Clara-based company introduced “the first solution to aggregate business documents from private, public and email clouds” and the media took notice:

MSNBC/Tech News Daily: “a universal search allows you to sift through all the clouds (and PCs) at once, as well as to filter files by type, such as doc and PowerPoint.”

PC World: “It claims to provide access to data from your computer, as well as data stored in Dropbox or Google Drive, and it will scan your email, too.”

Phone Arena“One of the neat features is the unified search function, which enables you to search files based on name or content whether it is in one of the clouds or on your PC or Mac at home or work.”

148 Apps: “Got a slew of documents and other media across all those different cloud systems, like Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, and even email? Documents.me hopes to alleviate the stress of remembering which system the file you want is stored in by aggregating it all into one app…”

Young Upstarts: “If you’re anything like me, you’ve got various important business documents scattered in different locations. I use DropBox, Google Drive and iCloud, and I have many critical documents scattered in those cloud services that are so buried within I lose track of them. But here’s a service that may help: Documents.Me.”

If you aren’t familiar with Documents.Me, here’s how it works:

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Documents.Me is a solution that puts all of your documents in the palm of your hand. It allows users to access their documents from public or private clouds via an iPhone or iPad. It also offers offline access to users’ files and folders as well as downloaded files. Additionally, Documents.Me employs strict security and control measures to keep personal and company documents safe.

Why we like it: We can still get to all our documents even if we leave our laptops at home or the office (or if our laptop battery dies and we don’t have our charger… a far more likely scenario!)

Best of all, Documents.Me is free! Download it here and give it a try!

 

 

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Under Pressure!

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A new study out from CareerCast has us here at LMGPR saying: “tell us something we don’t already know!”

According to the report, PR Executives have the 5th most stressful job of 2013!

Only enlisted military personnel, military generals, firefighters and commercial airline pilots have it worse.

Yes you heard correctly, even a police officer has it better than us!

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Why? Well for one, according to NBC News, being a PR Executive is a very “thankless” job:

“Clients may thank you for getting them on the front page of The New York Times (if it’s good news), but before you can tie your running shoes on for a victory lap, they want to know: “What about The Wall Street Journal?” And you’re definitely not going to get any “thank yous” from journalists: They’re more likely to hang up on you or be surly than take your call.”

We at LMGPR don’t necessarily consider our job “thankless!’ We work with great clients and have relationships built on mutual respect.

It is true, however, that our job can be stressful. It comes with the territory, but we find ways to deal.

Here are “LMGPR’s Top Ten Stress Coping Mechanisms”

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Work Out

Take a Walk

Play with Kids

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Play with Dogs

Laugh/Cry

Drink Coffee

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Punch Bozo!

Listen to Music

Go to Happy Hour

And above all else:

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Here’s to a stressless and pressure-free weekend from your friends at LMGPR!

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CES Says “Yes” to iSmartAlarm!

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It’s been a great (and busy) week for iSmartAlarm at CES! The company that is putting a “21st century spin on traditional security systems” unveiled its product at CES, launched an Indiegogo campaign and was inundated by press!

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The fun began Monday night at PepCom’s Digital Experience with the official product introduction. Press from around the world got a sneak peek at the home security system that “utilizes the iPhone to put home security and home control in the palm of its users’ hands.”

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The following day the hits started rolling in. CNET, Engadget and PCWorld were among the publications to write about iSmartAlarm and describe how the home security system “turns your iPhone into a home guard dog!” The stories were picked up by dozens of other publications and blogs both domestically and internationally.

As iSmartAlarm’s buzz began to spread across the Internet, the company then announced the launch of its Indiegogo campaign. The campaign is an opportunity for consumers to pre-order the iSmartAlarm at a price far below retail. You can watch the company’s Indiegogo video above.

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Meanwhile CES continued and the hits just kept on coming! LMGPR was on hand all week to help facilitate interviews with press. iSmartAlarm was prominently featured in both  The San Francisco Chronicle and in Wired. The Wired piece was later picked up by CNN. TechCrunch also did an in-depth interview with iSmartAlarm from the floor of CES:

iSmartAlarm looks to build upon the momentum of CES. If this week is any indication, we’re expecting great things from iSmartAlarm as 2013 continues.

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Let’s Get Physical: Music with a Massage!

By Phil Lanides

In today’s day and age, multitasking is king. Consumer tech products have followed that trend, and now, a Mountain View-based company is combining music with a massage in the form of iMusic BodyRhythm. iCess Labs, whose founders include a former classically-trained concert pianist, has produced this unique product, which is scheduled to roll out to the masses in April.

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iMusic Body Rhythm allows users to create a completely unique massage experience for themselves while taking listening to music to the next level. Let’s say your favorite song is “Gangnam Style” by Psy. You already have it on your iTunes, which you connect to the iMusic Body Rhythm app. You put on the vest, and, through Bluetooth technology, as you play “Gangnam Style,” you begin to feel the relaxing tapping from the iMusic BodyRhythm vest as it syncs with the beat of the song. The beat of the music you’ve chosen from you iPhone, iPod, or iPad is accurately picked up by the iMusic BodyRhythm app, generating the same drumbeat on your shoulders.

Users can also play two games through the app, creating their own drumbeats through either patting the screen or shaking the phone along with the rhythm of the song. In addition, you can create your own unique drumbeat playlist so that you can enjoy it again later or share it with friends!

Check out this demo video:

So, how does it work? “The iMusic BodyRhythm app connects with the iOS system on your iPhone/iPod/iPad via Bluetooth 3.0, and is designed to work with Apple MFI standards.” The distinctive algorithm created for the iMusic BodyRhythm app is exclusive to the product, and allows users to rest assured they can enjoy an accurately-timed massage while their favorite tunes play!

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Earlier this week, iCess launched a Kickstarter campaign for the iMusic BodyRhythm app. Within a few hours, pledges were already coming in!

Music Lovers:  sit back, relax, and allow iMusic BodyRhythm and your favorite songs to give you a massage!

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Vegas, Baby!

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We’re going to CES!

The annual International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas kicks off next week (Jan 8-11)  and LMGPR will be there in force.

We’ll be on hand as our client iSmartAlarm unveils its home security system for the 21st century and we look forward to meeting with key press who will be covering the launch.

We’re also tech geeks ourselves and are excited to see what companies from around the world will show off at CES! What will be the big trends? Will there be any surprise unveilings? Celebrity sightings?

What happens at CES doesn’t necessarily stay at CES! We’ll be blogging from the event all week, giving you the inside scoop of what’s going on, so be sure to check back!

In the meantime, here’s a little Elvis to get you in the mood:

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Welcome to 2013!

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Well, the world didn’t end in 2012.

That leaves us with a whole new slew of predictions and resolutions for 2013.

So what can we look for ward to in the coming year? Everyone seems to have an opinion!

According to our good friend Walt Mossberg, Tablets will continue to gain popularity, Microsoft and Google will start making their own devices ala Apple and Smart TV’s will be all the rage.

Business Insider isn’t betting on Social Commerce, IS betting on a Hard Tech comeback and predicts there will be at least two major data breaches that will compromise consumer credit (let’s hope they’re wrong about the last one!)

VentureBeat is looking forward to playing with Google Glass, Self-Driving Cars and better Apple TV this year.

On the resolution side, Mashable has come out with a list of top tech resolutions. Making the list: Set privacy filters on your social networks, go through all your emails and clean your keyboard!

At LMGPR, we’ve made our own personal resolutions that include cutting soda, eliminating personal debt and winning the lotto! We also share many of the same resolutions as our feline friends:

Professionally, we share one common resolution at LMGPR: to continue to work hard and produce results for all of our clients.

We’re excited about 2013 and all its potential. It’s going to be a great year!

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‘Tis the Season to be Techie!

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If you’re like most of us, you’re scrambling to find gifts for everybody on your Christmas list. The top gifts are expected to be iPhones, iPads, iPods, Kindle Fire and Wii U, but there are so many other tech gadgets to consider! Here are some cool tech gift ideas we’ve come across this season:

GelaSkins

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GelaSkins are removable art skins and cases for your portable device of choice. Choose from hundreds of designs by “award-winning illustrators, old masters, up-and-coming artists and charitable organizations” or design your own. Additionally, a portion of each skin, case or print sold goes directly to the creator.

Sphero

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Sphero is a robotic ball that you control with your Android or iOS device. You can program it, make it roll around, make it change colors and download more than 20 free apps and games to use with it. It’s highly durable and is even waterproof- perfect for destructive kids! Check out this video to see how Sphero works.

GoPro Camera

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GoPro is aimed at the sports adventure enthusiast, but really could be used by anyone. It’s a camera and video camera that takes amazing HD quality recordings and high res photos. The GoPro can be held, worn or mounted and is extremely durable and waterproof. This video was shot entirely with a GoPro camera.

Fitbit Zip

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The Fitbit Zip is a small activity tracker. It tracks your steps, distance and calories burned and then wirelessly transmits that data to your computer or Smartphone via Bluetooth so you can keep tabs on your daily exercise. If you or someone you love is looking to get fit in the new year, the Fitbit Zip might be the perfect gift!

Tagg GPS Pet Tracker

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For the dog lover in your family! The Tagg GPS Pet Tracker is a device that fits on your dog’s collar. If he or she happens to run off or gets lost, the device works as a GPS beacon alerting owners to the dog’s whereabouts. The device also tracks activity so you can actually see how much exercise your dog is getting on a daily basis.

Atari Flashback 4

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A blast from the past! Emulating the legendary Atari 2600 console, the Atari Flashback 4 lets nostalgic gamers from the 80’s relive their glory days. The console includes 75 built in classic games including Asteroids, Centipede and Missile Command.

These were just a few of our favorites. Feel free to leave a comment with your suggestions! Happy Shopping from LMGPR!

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Scubo 3D: No Glasses Required!

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3D has come a long way since the days of House of Wax, Jaws 3-D and Captain EO! Technological innovations have brought 3D from the big screen to the small screen and now a company from Spain is putting 3D in the palm of your hand.

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Meet Scubo. They’ve developed an app and accessories that allow you to “capture, edit and view your own 3D photos on your iPhone or Smart TV.” Check out this video that shows how Scubo is allowing people to see the world differently and express their lives in 3D:

Here’s how it works: When taking a picture, you simply press the shutter button then move the iPhone slightly to the right and back to the left. Scubo’s algorithm then generates a side-by-side image you can view on your iPhone with the Scubo Viewer (sold separately).

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Using this Parallax technology, users can “view 3D photos and videos anywhere and anytime without the use of glasses.” Additionally, users with 3D Smart televisions can wirelessly transmit the photos to their sets for viewing. It’s that simple!

Scubo aims to be more than just 3D medium. They are looking to socialize the 3D experience and make it personal with the Scubo Social Network. Creating an online profile allows you to connect and share with other Scubo users, where you can follow, comment and favorite 3D pictures from throughout the network.

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Scubo has also developed a case for users that stores the viewer when not in use and for those who are REALLY into 3D, Scubo has developed a Scubo Cam, a plug & play device that synchronizes with the iPhone camera and allows you to shoot amazing 3D videos.

If you (or a friend) are one of those people always on the lookout for cutting-edge technology, then Scubo may be just what you’re looking for. Make it a 3D Christmas this year. Get the free Scubo App in the Apple App Store.

For more information go to http://www.scubo3d.com/

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Sococo: Big in Japan!

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It’s not everyday a Silicon Valley startup is tied to a major international incident, but not every Silicon Valley startup is Sococo! The Social Communications Company was featured this week in a Bloomberg article entitled “After a Disaster, Japan Looks for an Alternative to the Office.”

The article is about how the Japanese workforce is changing after the Great Quake and Tsunami of 2011. The disaster crippled many companies for days due to a lack of a telecommuting or virtual workplace option, and Japan’s MIC (Ministry of Internal Affairs & Communication) says there has since been a “rapid increase in inquiries and consultations concerning telework systems.”

This is where Sococo comes in. Sococo is teaming up with iGUAZU Corporation, a member of JB Group and one of Japan’s largest tech companies, to bring its flagship product Team Space to Japan. Team Space is a communications service and virtual workspace that makes teams feel more connected no matter where they are located. Under the agreement, iGUAZU will use its expansive sales force and deep enterprise relationships to offer Team Space to Japanese companies looking to adopt remote capabilities.

Timing can be crucial for startups and with Japan’s MIC looking to have “at least 7 million of the country’s 128 million residents working from home by 2015,” Sococo may just be in the right place at the right time. LMGPR is excited that the rest of the world is now realizing what we have known for some time: that Sococo has the potential to make a global difference.

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Every Avatar has a Story!

At LMGPR, we get to work with some fascinating people. The companies we work with are on the cutting edge of technology and the people behind those companies are among the brightest minds anywhere. We are constantly learning from them and being introduced to new concepts and ideas.

Take Sococo for instance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We recently spoke with Founder and CEO David Van Wie on the story behind Sococo and how the company got its look. It turns out there’s more to the Sococo avatar than meets the eye.

You can read the article here.

It’s an interesting read and sheds some light on the inner workings of a Silicon Valley company. Enjoy!

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Let’s Get Virtual!

We’ve got another new office! No, we haven’t moved from San Pedro Square, we’ve just expanded… into cyberspace! LMGPR has teamed up with Sococo to open a virtual office. Have a look:

 

Sococo’s Team Space is an innovative communications service and virtual workplace that keeps workers connected no matter where they are. Team Space “offers a bird’s-eye view of a virtual office floor plan where you can see, at a glance, who’s around and what’s going on, regardless of everyone’s physical location.”

Here’s how it works: You can see LMGPR’s Team Space above. We all have our own personal offices and there are meeting rooms and communal areas as well. We are able to see who is online and whether or not they are available. Clicking into the same area as a co-worker allows you instant access via voice, video and IM. With Team Space, we have no need for Skype or other VoIP/IM services. Additionally, Team Space offers screen-sharing capabilities for presentations or collaboration.

Why did we need Sococo? As PR professionals, we’re constantly meeting with clients in other cities, on press tours or at conferences. Being on the go presents challenges staying connected. But just because we’re out of the office doesn’t mean we’re not needed there! With Sococo, it’s as if we’re in the home office no matter what city, state or country we are in. Sococo helps keep LMGPR engaged, productive and connected. That’s not only good for us, but for our clients as well.

To see a video on how Sococo is changing the face of communications, click here.

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OneID Goes Prime “Time”


 

 

 

Not every company can say they were featured in Time Magazine… but OneID can.

The Silicon Valley startup that is looking to transform the current username/password system was prominently featured in the August 8, 2012 article “The Username/Password System Is Broken: Here Are Some Ideas For Fixing It.”


 

 

 

 

 

The article by Jared Newman uses a real life example of how people are susceptible to hackings and the repercussions that follow:

“Imagine if, in an instant, all the files on your computer vanished, along with all your e-mails and online backups, and therefore any chance of getting those files back. That’s what happened to tech writer Mat Honan, after a hacker broke into his Google and Apple accounts and wiped them clean.”

Newman points to the current username/password system as the problem and how a more secure system is needed:

“But there’s a bigger problem that Honan’s hack brings to light, and that’s how broken the username/password system has become. Every online service we use invites another security threat–a way for hackers to sniff out passwords or glean the information they need to reset an account elsewhere.”

The article then shifts toward possible solutions where OneID is featured as a company with the potential to solve the problem:

OneID, a service that’s in private beta now, also wants to have a single login button that’s ubiquitous across the web, but instead of relying on other trusted accounts like OpenID, it requires users to authenticate their individual devices. That way, no one can access your accounts without physically stealing your computer. As an added security measure for banking and other important transactions, OneID can require users to enter a PIN on their smartphones through a companion app.”

OneID’s Chief Scientist Jim Fenton was also quoted in the story talking about the challenges that lie ahead in getting people to adopt an alternative to the current username/password system. He believes complete adoption of a solution such as OneID will take time:

“It’s a technology that’s been around for 50 years, and it’s had a chance to establish itself very well on the web,” he said. “I think it will still be quite a while yet.”

This was a fantastic hit for OneID. To be featured in Time is a great honor and it cemented OneID’s position as a leader in the ongoing fight against hackings and identity theft. This kind of national exposure is what LMGPR aims to deliver for all of our clients.

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Capture to Cloud Launches Social Workspace

Social Business is a buzzword that has been gaining momentum for some time and is now becoming a way of life for many companies. One of the hottest trends within Social Business is collaboration and our client CaptureToCloud has just launched a product that stands to fundamentally change the way professionals and SMB’s do just that.

 

 

 

CaptureToCloud has released its Social Workspace that streamlines how people capture and collaborate with others on important digital content. For the first time, users can capture any type of digital content to share or collaborate with anyone on any device in the cloud.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how it works:

CaptureToCloud is changing how people work with content by moving beyond the traditional file-centric mentality. With CaptureToCloud, there is no longer a need to convert content from its original format into a file or to keep important but different types of content in different places.

With the click of a button, users can capture Internet content or drag and drop items from Google Drive or files from Dropbox into their Social Workspace. Users can then organize content into topical or thematic collections and share them with anyone via email, Facebook, Twitter or CaptureToCloud while retaining control of their content.

 

 

 

 

Users can engage others in private conversations that include people from inside and outside the firewall and integrate relevant content to work smarter and transform information sharing and decision-making.

CaptureToCloud is also mobile and is the first to allow users to capture mobile web pages. With CaptureToCloud, mobile users not only have access to their content libraries, but can send, share and comment from their mobile devices while on the go.

CaptureToCloud has already received rave reviews from customers on its Social Workspace:

“CaptureToCloud has fundamentally changed how our team works with digital content when collaborating with others. Having all the relevant content for a project in one place and integrated with Google’s real-time document collaboration suite is genius.” -Jim Weldon, managing director of ePopDev.

“We deployed CaptureToCloud across our organization to make our team more productive. CaptureToCloud makes it easy to capture virtually any type of content in our normal workflow and work collaboratively with anyone in or outside our organization. The integration with Google Apps is a huge plus and being a cloud app makes it easy to install and manage.” -Oscar Garcia, CEO of the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce.

 

 

 

 

 

With social collaboration all the rage, CaptureToCloud’s release is as timely as it is useful. And did we mention it is free? Try it out for yourself! CaptureToCloud is available in the Google Apps Marketplace, Google Chrome Web Store, Google Play and at www.capturetocloud.com.

 

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Sonarflow Invades Spotify!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Navigating your way through Spotify’s 16 million tracks just got a little easier!

Spectralmind has released Sonarflow Spot, “a fun, simple and interactive way to discover new music in Spotify directly on your iPhone and iPad.”

Spectralmind CEO Thomas Lidy says the goal was to take Spotify Premium users on a “journey of musical discovery:”

“Most people are overwhelmed by the massive amount of musical choice on Spotify. To listen to 16 million tracks would take a lifetime, so the average person doesn’t really venture that far from the music they already know. We want people to find new and interesting music that they will like, in a fun and playful way.”

So how does it work?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sonarflow Spot displays Spotify’s most popular tracks and a user’s starred tracks in colorful playlists shaped like bubbles. Zoom into an individual bubble to reveal the artists inside. Tap once to show tracks from that artist, tap twice to begin playing music from that artist. Tap on the magnifying glass icon to show similar artists. Sonarflow’s discovery feature matches a user’s music to bring the best recommendations from the 16 million songs on Spotify. In addition, users can also watch music videos of each artist, powered by YouTube.

Key features:

  • Free iPhone and iPad music discovery app designed for Spotify subscribers
  • Sonarflow suggests new artists based on the user’s preferences
  • Sonarflow displays artist biographies
  • Listen to music from Spotify inside the app
  • Watch related music videos through YouTube
  • Share music discoveries on Facebook and Twitter

Lidy believes Sonarflow Spot will fundamentally change how people use Spotify:

“Sonarflow represents a whole new way to explore Spotify’s music database. This new visual layer makes it really easy to find new music and stream it instantly. From the millions of choices, we bring the people the right music according to their taste.”

So if you’re a Spotify Premium user, what are you waiting for? Go on your own Magical Mystery Music Tour and discover your next favorite band or artist!

Sonarflow Spot is free and available for download in the App Store.

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LMGPR Finds Its Way to San Jose!

We’ve moved our headquarters! After several years of calling Murphy Square home, we’ve said “So long, Sunnyvale” and “Hello San Jose!” That’s us there on the right… above Starbucks… how convenient!

 

 

 

 

 

We’re now located in the heart of downtown San Jose, the capitol of Silicon Valley, with our office overlooking bustling San Pedro Square. Here’s the view from our meeting room:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exposed brick, private offices and a mid-century meets zen-like feel to the building have all of us here at LMGPR (especially Woody!) feeling a bit “Mad Men” these days:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the view from Michael’s office:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s a peek in on Angel:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Janet… hard at work:

 

 

 

 

 

 

While Sunnyvale had its charms, there’s a certain sense of excitement we get from working in downtown San Jose with all the hustle and bustle around us… not to mention the restaurants, bars and Friday Farmers Market right outside our door! Change is good and the entire office is feeling inspired and invigorated about a fresh start. If you’re ever in the area, stop by and say hi!

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LMGPR Expands Its Reach and Catches a Rising “Starr!”

LMGPR is expanding its PR services with a new entertainment and music practice: LMGPRTrax. LMGPR has prior experience working with authors, musicians and celebrity talent and pulls from Sony Entertainment, Virgin Records and Warner Brothers.  The agency team resides in Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area. Watch for the new site coming soon.

Meanwhile, we are proud to introduce Renegade Music Group, an independent record label based in San Francisco producing pop, hip hop, rap and Latin dance music for today’s generation, as the newest edition to the LMGPR client base. The label’s first recording artist Aki Starr is generating serious buzz with the video release of “The closer I get to you” on You Tube:

In its first week, the video went viral with more than 40,000 views. “The Closer I Get To You” is an electro remake of the 1977 hit by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway and is the first in a series of songs Aki Starr will produce on the Renegade Music label.

Starr is a singer, songwriter, dancer, actor and music producer. He was recently the lead singer on Jorge Santana’s, Gracias Madrecitas and performs with Foreverland, an electrifying 14-piece tribute to Michael Jackson. Starr also played the lead role of Cesar Chavez in a musical adaptation of his life in Let the Eagle Fly.

For Aki Starr… the sky’s the limit and LMGPR looks forward to helping this “Starr” shine!

Check Aki Starr out on:

YouTube

Facebook

Twitter

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Phone Halo: The Guardian Angel of Your Bluetooth Headset!

 

 

 

If you use a Bluetooth headset, chances are you’ve misplaced it at one time or another, or perhaps even lost it completely. And while they may be small in size, the price tag certainly isn’t. With higher end models in the $70-$100 range, losing a headset is a potentially costly loss!

 

 

 

Luckily, our friends at Phone Halo have come up with a solution. The item tracking company has just released “The Phone Halo Bluetooth Headset Tracker,” the first-ever Smartphone app that helps users keep tabs on their headsets.

 

 

The app sends out an audible reminder before a headset is left behind and also takes a GPS snapshot of its last location for easier retrieval. The app not only saves consumers time and money, but gives them peace of mind as well.

The Phone Halo Bluetooth Headset Tracker will soon be available for download free of charge through the Apple App Store.

 

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We All Scream For Ice Cream!

Public Relations become PUBLIC ELATION for ice cream lovers everywhere today as Ben & Jerry’s holds its annual “Free Cone Day.”

Ben & Jerry’s holds the event to thank customers “for their support and to celebrate 34 years of scooping the chunkiest, funkiest ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet.”

On the PR front, these types of customer appreciation events go a long way in not only keeping existing customers, but bringing in new ones as well. Customers love free things… and if it’s edible, well, that’s even better. Perhaps the old saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” should be revised with “the way to a customer’s heart is through his or her stomach!” Something to consider when devising a PR plan…

So whether you prefer Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey, Chubby Hubby or just a plain scoop of Vanilla, indulge yourself in a free scoop today.

… and justify the calorie guilt by reminding yourself that it’s free!

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OneID: Solving the Digital Identity Crisis

They say that as you grow older, the memory is the first thing to go. If so, then we’re in big trouble when it comes to our digital identity!

If you’re like most people you’ve got dozens perhaps even hundreds of usernames and passwords: one for your bank account, one for your PayPal, one for your Amazon… the list goes on and on. Remembering them all can be a hassle and that’s where OneID comes in.

OneID is your new online identity. With OneID, you can say goodbye to usernames and passwords. Instead, you enter your personal information one time when setting up your OneID service account and from there you can sign in to any OneID enabled website with a single click. In addition, you’ll no longer need to fill out your name, email, shipping or billing information when you make online purchases.

OneID is the brainchild of Silicon Valley visionary and serial entrepreneur Steve Kirsch. He came up with the idea after his sister was hacked and asked, “How do I know if it’s safe to log into my bank or PayPal account?” Kirsch sprang into action, creating a new service that stands to change the way people log on to websites forever.

And did we mention it’s secure?

OneID was designed to be unbreakable. People using OneID needn’t worry about identity theft as phishing, key logging, password guessing and malware attacks are useless against OneID’s secure authentication system. To see how it works, click here.

Steve Kirsch calls OneID his “best idea ever.” A bold statement, but consider the source! This is coming from a man who has been at the forefront of technology for more than three decades and has founded several companies including Mouse Systems, Frame Technology, Infoseek, Propel and Abaca.

If Steve says this his best idea ever, we’ll take his word for it!

Click Here to find out more about OneID…

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It’s the thought that counts… right?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Did you get candy, flowers, a card, jewelry or make dinner plans for your certain someone this year?

You’re not alone!

For a closer look: EggDrop Valentine Infographic

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Simplicity is Bliss!

With so many social media outlets out there today, people relatively new to the social media phenomenon may find themselves overwhelmed.

Luckily, Douglas Wray posted “Social Media Explained” to his Instagram. Using a doughnut as inspiration, the role of each social network is explained in its most primitive form. The tongue-in-cheek definitions outline the basic premise for each site so that even a social media newbie can understand.

The photo went viral across Facebook, Twitter, blogs and eventually on major sites like Business Insider.

Is there a PR lesson to be learned here? Perhaps.

Maybe the idea that breaking something down into “the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions” (Thank you, Anthony Michael Hall) can be much more easily understood than a long drawn-out explanation.

As PR pros we sometimes have just seconds to garner the attention of a writer, editor or producer. It is what we say or write in those first few seconds that sometimes determines whether or not our pitch is accepted.

So perhaps we should take the words of Bruce Lee to heart when pitching a story to the media:

Simplicity is the key to brilliance.”

… or we could just bribe them with doughnuts.

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Another Acquisition!

This is becoming a bit of a habit! We’re proud to announce that another one of LMGPR’s alums has been acquired! This time it is Reppler being acquired by TrustedID, a leading provider of credit and identity protection services.

Reppler is a social media monitoring service that keeps your social reputation clean and safe by addressing three critical elements — content, privacy and security. Reppler monitors sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn looking for inappropriate content, malicious links and personal information that should be made private. Reppler also analyzes profiles showing users how they are perceived across social networks.

Reppler and LMGPR began working together in May of 2011. Over the course of the year LMGPR was able to land Reppler in numerous high profile media outlets including Mashable, San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes and VentureBeat. LMGPR also secured a briefing between Reppler and renowned columnist for the Wall Street Journal Walt Mossberg.

Through this exposure, Reppler was able to build its brand recognition and was soon considered “one of the industry’s most advanced reputation management and protection services.”

Reppler is being seen as a natural fit for TrustedID, who up until now has focused primarily on identity and credit theft issues. With the acquisition of Reppler, TrustedID says it will now offer “identity management help across the board.”

LMGPR is proud to have once again helped a client reach the next level. The Reppler acquisition comes on the heels of Motorola’s acquisition of our client Rhomobile late last year. When our clients are acquired, we take great pride knowing that we played a role in helping them achieve new levels of success. It’s what we strive for at LMGPR and we just want to wish Reppler the very best on its new endeavor.

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Rhomobile Recognized!

Congratulations to Rhomobile! InfoWorld has chosen Rhomobile Rhodes for a 2012 Technology of the Year Award. The Rhodes framework allows developers to more easily build mobile apps for Android, IOS, Windows Phone 7 and Blackberry devices.

This award is just the latest triumph for Rhomobile. After joining forces with LMGPR in early 2011, the momentum began to build with dozens of media placements including Forbes and Bloomberg News West. The momentum culminated with Motorola Solutions acquiring Rhomobile in October 2011. Now a new year is here and Rhomobile continues to move forward with this InfoWorld award.

We take great satisfaction in seeing Rhomobile continue to garner the accolades it deserves and are proud to have worked closely with Rhomobile to get to this point.

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Aussie App “Roamz” into U.S.

 

 

LMGPR would like to introduce you to our newest client: Roamz. The Aussie-based company released its location-based intelligent mobile app at Web 2.0 in San Francisco on October 17th.

So what is Roamz and what does it do?

Roamz helps users discover the world around them by aggregating and showing relevant information about local places and events in real time.

What does that mean?

Well, let’s say for example it’s Friday night and you’re looking for something to do. You go to Roamz and you tell it where you are and what you’re interested in. Roamz then filters through all kinds of online content including social websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare and gives you information about what’s going on at that moment in that area. Roamz doesn’t tell you where to go, but instead let’s you know what’s happening… the rest is up to you.

Another benefit to Roamz is that it includes artificial intelligence that customizes its results to each individual user. The more you use Roamz, the more it learns about you and the smarter it gets! The end result is a unique and customized experience for each person.

And Roamz can be used anywhere! If you’re on a business trip or vacation, simply tell Roamz where you are at that moment and you’ll soon be in the loop about what’s going on. Roamz is designed to make you feel like a local, no matter where you are in the world!

Roamz has received lots of press since its launch. Here’s some of the feedback:

“… what I like about it is how it summarizes the disparate establishments that make up a neighborhood, from restaurants and bars to beauty parlors and art schools and including both ones I know about already and ones I’d never pay attention to otherwise.” – CNET

The result, ideally, is that you don’t have to be constantly checking your social networks to find out what’s going on, what’s popular or where your friends are checking into right now.” – TechCrunch

 “At first I was hesitant to connect Roamz with my other social media, but after trying it out it really helps give you better recommendations for what you’re looking for.” – The Daily Campus

If you haven’t tried Roamz yet… you should! It’s free and can be downloaded here.

Whether you’re at home or on the road, Roamz is the perfect app for people with busy mobile lifestyles looking to add serendipity to their lives!

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App Advice!

 

By Ashley Albert

If your life is anything like mine, there’s not enough time to spend skimming through the bazillions of apps that are currently on the market. I have both an iPad and an Android cell phone, and with commuting, working and socializing, I’m looking for ways to simplify my busy mobile lifestyle. So I’ve decided to delve deeper into those top-rated apps and weed out the ones that don’t do much. Here are my recommendations:

 

For Apple:

Auto Park – “Say Goodbye to parking tickets!” This app aims to keep money in your wallet, as it reminds you when time on a parking meter is about to run out. This app could put Meter Maids out of business!

Gigwalk – Have you ever needed a few more bucks to pay those unexpected bills? This app will alert you when there is a small job available in your area. The example given in the iTunes store is “go check if there is a road block at a certain location!” Easy four bucks, right?

Giftplan – If you can never remember what people’s favorite colors are or when their birthday is, this app is right for you. What it does is allow you to create tiny profiles of your friends, so when it’s time to buy a gift, you just look them up and voila! Gift shopping finally made easy.

Flipboard – Instead of having to log in to your Facebook and Twitter accounts and then browsing the web after you’ve finished there, Flipbook allows you to do all of these things simultaneously. This app is specifically for iPad users only.

For Android:

We Reward – Similar to Gigwalk where you can do little jobs around your area to make some extra cash.

My Coffee Card Pro – This app prevents the deep dig through the purse or wallet for a credit card. You can now purchase coffee at Starbucks just by swiping your phone. It’s in your hand already anyway so why not avoid that extra effort?

Grades: Student Organizer – If you have kids or if you’re still in school yourself this app comes in very useful. This will keep track of your grades and projects and lets you know where you stand in class. This app may make it more difficult to use the “Dog ate my homework” excuse!

For Both Apple and Android:

Log Me In Ignition – Have you ever needed a file from a computer at work, but forgot to send it to yourself? With this app, you can get that file. It’s $29.99, but if that happens to you a lot, it’s worth it.

Bump – This is a really cool app. If you’re one of those people that hate it when you have to sit there and enter in contact information when you meet someone or just want a faster way to share information, this app helps you do that.

myBantu – Translation: “a trusted personal assistant that works exclusively for you.” This app provides relevant and personal entertainment recommendations based not only on YOUR likes and dislikes, but your Facebook friends, experts and the World Wide Web. It’s a one-stop shop to plan your next restaurant, shopping, or movie outing. It truly is a smart digital assistant that is catered to who you are.

 

What apps do YOU use to make YOUR life easier?

 

 

 

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It’s Time to Bantu!

 

 

 

 

 

By Michael Erwin

It’s finally here! The eagerly anticipated release of myBantu’s app for IOS and Android has come to pass!

For those of you not yet in the know, allow me to make the introductions! myBantu is your new smart personal assistant! What does it do? Well, it gives you personalized and relevant entertainment recommendations based on a user’s profile, Facebook friends, experts, and the World Wide Web.

 

 

 

 

Need an example? Here’s one. Say you’re in the mood for Japanese food in your area. Now the last time you randomly chose a sushi joint, let’s just say it didn’t turn out so well… so you’re wary of making a similar mistake. What do you do? You Bantu!

Simply type “sushi” into the myBantu search engine and using its ActiveRelevance technology, myBantu will provide a list of up to nine restaurants in your area that have been tried and tested. Using myBantu, you’re on your way to a successful sushi soiree!

myBantu won’t just help fill your stomach. It can also be used for shopping, movie, and other entertainment-based outings. Turn a Date Night into a Great Night with myBantu!

myBantu also has a to-do function that not only keeps you organized, but allows you to share your to-do’s with your contacts.

 

 

 

 

 

… the best part? myBantu is free! So what are you waiting for? It’s time to Bantu!

myBantu can be found in both the Apple App Store and the Android Market.

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LMGPR: Getting Our Clients in the Spotlight!

By Michael Erwin

“SocialGuard did what it promised, and I believe it could be a real benefit to parents and children alike…”Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal. 

LMGPR has delivered the goods again! Using our systematic approach to public relations called SysCom, we’ve landed our client Check Point in the July 28 edition of The Wall Street Journal—front page of the Personal Technology section.

The Wizard of Personal Technology Walt Mossberg takes an in-depth look at ZoneAlarm SocialGuard, a product that helps protect children from social threats on Facebook.

In the column, Mossberg gives Social Guard a glowing recommendation: “… if you’re a parent with limited time who worries about your child’s safety on Facebook, yet wants to give her some privacy, SocialGuard is worth trying.”

In addition to its front-page status, the column was also picked up by several media outlets online.

This is the kind of national exposure that SysCom aims to deliver. Using our Strategic Story Engine, we are able to generate story ideas that result in our clients being placed in these types of distinguished publications.

Recently, another of our clients, FireEye, was the focus of a four-page feature spread in Businessweek. We’ve also just completed a media tour with Metrogames CEO Damien Harburguer, who met with top Bay Area and national gaming & tech publications.

We take pride here at LMGPR in seeing our clients receive the recognition they deserve. It’s not only a boon for our clients, but also a feather in our own cap. Landing a client in The Wall Street Journal isn’t easy, but it’s worth every orchestrated minute to see our clients in neon lights.

To learn more about ZoneAlarm Social Guard

To follow Walt Mossberg

To follow our editorial travels on Twitter

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Rhomobile… In Good Company!

By Michael Erwin

Congratulations to Rhomobile!

The San Jose-based company that offers products for enterprise smartphone applications has made the ninth annual AlwaysOn Global 250 Top Private Companies list. AlwaysOn selects 250 companies annually that are “demonstrating significant market traction and pursuing game-changing technologies” in Silicon Valley.

The award shines the spotlight on Rhomobile as a company that is innovative and making a difference in the mobile industry. Rhomobile’s Rhodes platform is making it possible to create smartphone applications that support Near Field Communications (NFC). It’s this type of breakthrough that has resulted in Rhomobile being chosen as a standout amongst thousands of businesses worldwide.

Rhomobile finds itself in good company this year. The 2011 list reads like a who’s who of tech, gaming and social media innovators with Jive, Zynga, Twitter, Foursquare, Groupon and Facebook all being recognized.

The companies will be honored at the Silicon Valley Innovation Summit 2011 in Santa Clara July 27th and 28th.

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Tackable “TapsIn” to Bay Area News!

By Michael Erwin

 

 

 

 

 

“I’ve waited two years to write this: WE. ARE. LIVE.”- Luke Stangel

That was the first Facebook update from Tackable co-founder and LMGPR alum Luke Stangel as TapIn Bay Area, a news-generating mobile app, went live Tuesday July 12th.

TapIn Bay Area is the product of a partnership between Tackable and the California Newspapers partnership that includes the San Jose Mercury News. The app for news junkies allows users to contribute photos and information about news in their areas. In addition, people can request news information with the hope that someone in that particular area can provide a real time update.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s more to TapIn Bay Area than just breaking news however. The interactive map also links to other news stories of the day, happening events, restaurant and movie listings, and one of the hottest social media trends right now: coupons and daily deals.

The end result is that TapIn Bay Area amounts to a real time digital newspaper. The app is currently free from the App Store with the intention of adding a future $4.95 monthly subscription fee. Those who post photos or contribute other content will earn points. Those points can then potentially be used toward free subscriptions. TapIn is also looking to generate revenue through local advertising, coupons and classifieds.

TapIn Bay Area is the first app of its kind and is looking beyond the Bay Area. The hope is that other newspaper groups will look to adopt the innovative technology, realizing that interactive newspapers may well be the future.

LMGPR would like to extend its warmest congratulations to Luke Stangel and the entire Tackable team. It’s been a long road, but well worth the wait! All the best!

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Turntable.fm: Let’s Make Beautiful Music Together!

By Michael Erwin

Remember chatrooms? Well, they’re back… sorta! This time however they are musically themed and not only do you get to chat, but you get to share music as well. Of course I’m talking about Turntable.fm: the newest hangout for the cool kids!

So how does it work?

The rooms are mostly themed by musical genre: 80’s, Indie, Hip Hop, etc. Once you find a room you like, you find yourself in a crowd. On the stage are five DJ’s. The DJ’s take turns playing songs and the crowd has the option of liking or disliking the song and can make comments as well. There is a gaming element in that DJ’s are awarded status points for playing songs that people like. You can also become fans of DJ’s and you are notified via email when and where they are DJing.

If a DJ leaves a room, anyone can jump into the open slot and start playing music by either taking songs from the Turntable.FM database or by uploading songs of their own. Also, if you’d rather, you can start your own room and play what you like. I spent hours in a room the other night with a friend from LA and a couple more from San Francisco just playing music and reminiscing. Don’t be surprised if an LMGPR listening room pops up in the near future with our talented PR staff providing the soundtrack to your workweek!

The best part is that if you don’t want to DJ or chat, you can just listen to an uninterrupted stream of music all day long. No commercials and no hearing the same songs over and over again. Most of the DJ’s are music nerds and you are just as likely to hear an album track or an obscure B-side as you are a hit single. It’s also a great way to learn about new bands and find out what the hipsters are listening to!

Warning though: Turntable.fm is addicting… don’t say we didn’t warn you!

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Hot Mobile Apps for Summer!

By Anton Molodetskiy

After an unconventional start (record-breaking rain in June… really?) things are heating up in Silicon Valley and Summer 2011 is kicking into high gear.  With that in mind, it’s time to get into summer mode with several mobile apps that can help make the most of any vacation, staycation or day trip:

Weber’s on the Grill App ($4.99): I’ve had to sell grills as a job before and hold a particular appreciation for the Weber brand. This manufacturer consistently delivers quality merchandise and support for products that fit a range of budgets. Their range of accessories and books is also top notch, the books in particular providing both a wealth of practical knowledge and tasty looking recipes. Although this app will set you back a five-spot, it is another quality Weber product, offering videos, high-quality picks and time guides for different food. It also features a grill timer which tells you when your steak is done; this way, you don’t necessarily need a meat thermometer if you have to have it medium-rare like I do. Available on iPhone and iPad only though, so Android owners will have to settle for their less-powerful Weber BBQ Guide app.

Gas Buddy(Free): I actually use this app on a regular basis; it shows current gas prices at gas stations around your location, cataloguing them by distance or price. When you choose one, it links you to directions and often provides a picture of the station itself, as well as reviews. I’m the type of person who will drive a slight distance if there is a dramatically lower gas price, especially filling up before a big trip, so this app is super helpful. It can also help you not run out of gas in the middle of nowhere. As long as you plan ahead, of course. It is available for both iOS and Android.
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Tripcase (Free): Although Business Week raved about this app back in 2009, which is on-par with the Stone Age in the mobile world, Tripcase still feels like a solid travel app.  The streamlined main menu allows access to all app features, including arrival times, flight schedules and various maps and phone numbers. As with most apps, Tripcase aggregates hotel pictures and car rental information, but it’s solidly put together and its’ PRO version adds nice features like airplane seat maps and conversion for currency. It is available on both iOS and Android.
Word Lens (Free application + $9.99 charge for language):  If you’ve ever found yourself in a foreign country, staring at a sign and wondering what it says, Word Lens might just be for you. This app is still in its’ early-adopter stage, able to only translate things into Spanish, but the process is already comprehensive and convenient. Simply aim your smart phone camera at the offending letters – those you cannot read, and they are immediately translated on your phone screen. It is available on the iPhone and iPad only for now, so Android users will have to rely on other methods of getting around in Cancun this summer. ¡Una Cerveza, Por Favor!
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Wikitude (Free):  If you haven’t been paying attention, one of the next big things in mobile tech is Augmented Reality.  Wikitude is an app that combines data with the images of the world around you, allowing you to discover and interact with your surroundings in various ways. Through different filters (or layers), you can pan your device around you to discover nearby locations. From there, you can interact with them – get directions, info, call, etc. If they could only integrate this technology into a headset, we could all have terminator-like vision. This app is available on both Android and iOS and is free!

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Don’t Get Burned on Facebook this Summer!

By Lindsay Newman

School is out, summer is here and it’s time to protect yourself… and we’re not just talking about the sun. While it is time to lacquer on the SPF for sun protection, there’s another potential summer hazard to be wary of: Facebook.

It’s become the norm these days for students to chronicle their summer vacations. Mobile phones now allow for status updates and new photos in real time, but this can potentially lead to some problems.

While it may seem innocent enough at the time, liking your friend’s edgy comments, posting a suggestive status update, or posting an *ahem* alcohol-induced photo could potentially come back to haunt you.

Why? Because your Facebook profile is an extension of your reputation.

In this Internet age, job recruiters are looking at social networking sites before hiring prospective employees and that moment of spontaneity could potentially result in you not landing that dream job.

Meanwhile, a different type of a hazard has the potential to increase during the summer months that targets those most vulnerable: children.

Consumer Reports recently reported that of the 20 million minors who actively use Facebook, 7.5 million are younger than 13.

With extra time on their hands and parents at work, the younger set has the potential to spend hours on the social networking site. This could not only result in an increase in cyber bullying by peers, but could also lead to “friending” people who aren’t who they say they are.

People of all ages need to be aware of the potential dangers and possible repercussions that exist in cyberspace.

Some of LMGPR’s very own clients have joined the fight for safety & personal accountability online.

Reppler is a Facebook application that will alert you every time you or someone in your network uses profanity or offensive language that could affect your reputation. It provides 24-hour monitoring, something that even the most dedicated Facebook user can’t do. The result is immediate awareness and the ability to act upon inappropriate content.

 SocialGuard, a product of Check Point Security, allows parents to monitor all activity on their child’s Facebook account, wherever they use Facebook, without having to “friend” their child. SocialGuard provides parents peace of mind knowing they can keep an eye on their child as their tween/teen experiences social networking sites without encroaching on their privacy.   In addition, SocialGuard fosters open communication between parent and child/teen by alerting the parent to any safety issues that the child might be uncomfortable discussing.

The message here is simple: don’t let your summer become a bummer! LMGPR wants your summer to be a safe one! Keep your online reputation in check, talk to your kids, and always wear sunscreen!

 

 

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I Spy FireEye… in Businessweek!

By Michael Erwin

“It was early in the morning of Mar.16. The 25-year-old cybersecurity analyst had spent months preparing for the events soon to unfold. His reddish hair still matted down from sleep, Lanstein stood up and poured another cup of coffee. Suddenly, the data stream flickering on the monitor became dark, and a smile curled across Lanstein’s stubbly face. Operation Rustock had begun.”

It reads a bit like a spy novel, doesn’t it? But this is a true cybercrime story entitled “Fireye: Botnet Busters” featured in this week’s issue of Businessweek. The Bloomberg-owned magazine takes an in-depth look at how FireEye played a key role in bringing down Rustock, an organization believed responsible for nearly half of all junk e-mail sent.

Fireye’s rise to prominence is also chronicled in the article and Businessweek calls the company “one of the world’s most effective private cybercrime fighters.”

LMGPR is celebrating FireEye’s national recognition. Using our Systematic Communications (SysCom) approach to public relations, LMGPR was able to help FireEye achieve the acknowledgement it deserves.

SysCom is built upon three key components: Over the Horizon planning, Social Media Communications and our Strategic Story Engine to support marketing, business development and sales. LMGPR works with each client to identify compelling and timely topics that promote company messages and thought leadership objectives.

The end result? Our clients find themselves in high-end publications like Businessweek.

… and when that happens, it’s not just a victory for our client, but for LMGPR as well.

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Father’s day tribute: Edward Bernays “The Father of Public Relations”

By Lauren Barnard

It’s almost Father’s Day, so we figured we should tip our hats in respect to one of the key founding fathers of public relations, Edward Bernays, who has been credited for founding and naming our profession.

In 1923, Bernays authored the first public relation book, titled “Crystallizing Public Opinion.” This book presented the profession as socially valuable and necessary in society.

We found a copy of the book, which reads as a passionate creed and constitution of what high hopes Bernays had for the field of public relations, and although some of the ideas are dated, we found a few snippets that still hold value in the field today.

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 “The social value of the public relations counsel lies in the fact that he brings to the public facts and ideas of social utility which would not so readily gain acceptance otherwise.”

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2011 Translation: Bernays believed that public relations should be a profession that serves the public ideas and facts that are useful. If we think about the most successful PR pitches we deliver to reporters, they almost always have an angle that provides utility to the publication’s readers, even if it’s something the reader had not previously known about.

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The public relations practitioner…

“must be able to generalize, as far as possible, from these points of view in order to strike upon the appeal or group of appeals which will be influential with as many sections of society as possible”

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2011 Translation: The best client PR campaigns should carry the ability to pique the interest of any targeted party, so long as the party’s needs are understood first. If a PR person knows what each section of a particular society needs, a PR practitioner can fine-tune client messaging to appeal to everyone.

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“Therefore, the public relations counsel must maintain an intense scrutiny of his actions, avoiding propagation of unsocial or otherwise harmful movements or ideas.”

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2011 Translation: Basically, public relations shall maintain an ethical profession that does not promote harmful movements or ideas. This makes me think of the film, “Thank You for Smoking.” Unfortunately PR does exist for harmful industries, but I’m sure when Bernays wrote this, no one knew how harmful cigarettes even were.

Bernays concludes “Crystallizing Public Opinion” with this hopeful line: “It is in the creation of a public conscience that the counsel on public relations is destined, I believe, to fulfill his highest usefulness to the society in which he lives.”

I think that for the most part, we would have made our founding father proud.

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The New App Economy

By Michael Erwin

The App explosion has been nothing short of astounding. Apple’s App Store was launched back in 2008 and saw its inventory jump from 10,000 to 100,000 in just the first year. It has never looked back. In January of 2011, Apple announced 350,000 apps were available and in late May that number was raised to 500,000.

148Apps reports that if a person bought every available app, they’d need a 7.5 terabyte iPhone and $891,982.24.

The popularity of apps has led to what is being called the “New App Economy” and a Palo Alto company is at the forefront of this new venture. appbackr is the first wholesale marketplace for apps using a CrowdFunding platform. There, app developers sell bulk copies of their apps to investors at a discount. Investors turn a profit when the app sells on the App Store.

appbackr’s approach has created quite a buzz and the company was featured on CNN-affiliate KLIV radio this week as part of its “Economy and Silicon Valley” series. To listen to the segment, click here

Apps have become more than just games for your iPhone such as Angry Birds or Words With Friends. A whole slew of app categories including lifestyle, entertainment and business have surfaced as more and more people adopt mobile lifestyles in an effort to simplify their lives.

With a New App Economy and unlimited app ideas, the future of apps is bright. It appears it won’t be long before we look back at 500,000 apps with a sense of nostalgia and ask, “What isn’t there an app for?”

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“Liking” LMGPR Has Never been So Rewarding!

By Michael Erwin

As the Internet has “World Wide Webbed” its way into the everyday lives of people across the globe, there has unfortunately also been an increase in online crime. Online predators, cyberbullies and hackers are new foes that Internet users need to be wary of.

As a result, the US Senate passed a resolution in 2006 declaring the entire month of June as Internet Safety Month, an awareness effort to make the Internet safer for all users, particularly for children.

LMGPR is getting involved in the outreach effort with its own Facebook campaign. Now through the end of June every time someone “Likes” LMGPR on Facebook, we will donate $1 to GetNetWise, a coalition of Internet industry corporations and public interest organizations who share the common goal of creating a safe online experience for all users. GetNetWise.org features articles and video tutorials for Internet users on items such as computer viruses, identity theft, and the risks children face online.

LMGPR is aiming for 500 new “Likes” by the end of the month, so tell your friends! Go to our Facebook page and simply click “Like.” We’ll handle the rest. Not only will you be helping a great cause, but you’ll also be keeping your finger on the pulse of all that is going on with LMGPR.

Everyone who uses the Internet is at risk, so do your part. “Like” LMGPR… a safer Internet is just a click away.

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The High Cost of Hacking

By Michael Erwin

It’s been a rough few months for Sony. Hackers hit the entertainment giant back in April resulting in a nearly month-long shut down of its PlayStation Network.

The cost of the shutdown: approximately $171-million dollars. Perhaps worse than that however, was the public cost. Sony’s image took a hit as personal information and credit card numbers of its 100-million users were put at risk.

Following the attacks, Sony hired security experts to figure out what went wrong. The network was rebuilt and was rendered safe and secure… or so they thought.

This week, on the same day Sony reopened its PlayStation store, the company was hit by yet ANOTHER cyber attack. More than one million customers reportedly had their information compromised.

Hacking group Lulzsec took responsibility for the attack and in a release explained why they went after Sony:

“Our goal here is not to come across as master hackers, hence what we’re about to reveal: SonyPictures.com was owned by a very simple SQL injection, one of  the most primitive and common vulnerabilities, as we should all know by now.  From a single injection, we accessed EVERYTHING. Why do you put such faith in a company that allows itself to become open to these simple attacks? What’s worse is that every bit of data we took wasn’t encrypted. Sony stored over 1,000,000 passwords of its customers in plaintext, which means it’s just a matter of taking it. This is disgraceful and insecure: they were asking for it.

The recent attacks on Sony and other corporations including Lockheed and PBS have highlighted an alarming rise in corporate attacks. FireEye CEO Ashar Aziz believes this is only the beginning:

“This is the new reality. We live in a persistent state of cyber insecurity due to the lack of efficacy of traditional defenses against advanced cyber attacks.”

Aziz adds that the recent attacks are an example of the weaknesses that exist in cyber-security defenses:

“No organization, no matter how well run they are, are well protected against these kinds of attacks, considering that the new threat landscape has effectively obsoleted traditional enterprise security defenses.”

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Sony can rebound from the attacks. The company remains in damage control offering a “Welcome Back” package for users that includes free games, movie rentals and virtual items for PlayStation Home.  But will that be enough to appease those customers who are now checking their monthly credit card statements for any suspicious activity?

Time will tell…

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Tales of a Public Relations Internship

By Ashley Albert, aka “The New Girl”

As a student you tend to hear stories of less-than gratifying internships from classmates. I mean, what can really be learned from being a coffee-runner, filer or photocopier? I was absolutely terrified of this when I first started applying. How often do you hear of people saying they had the “best experience ever” while working as an intern?

But I was closing in on graduation and in need of some hands-on PR experience before being thrust into the “real world,” and so I reached out to LMGPR.

Here I am one month later and happy to report that my internship here IS the “best experience ever!” We’re a cozy, happy family and I fit right in from Day One. Never have I started working somewhere and felt so instantly integrated within the culture of the company.

I enjoy sitting in my cubicle where I sometimes find little gifts from Donna. The glow from the hot pink lava lamp always gets me excited to sit down and get to work. I’m actually helping out with one of our clients on a daily basis and whenever I have questions or I’m learning how to do something new, I can depend on others to help me out. I’ve done a briefing document, tons of market research and a bunch of side tasks… talk about an educational experience on steroids!

This internship has proven challenging on the tech-jargon front: SaaS? IaaS? MDM? What does it all mean? And why are there two types of MDMs? It’s like learning a different language! I can honestly say, however, that with all the news I read daily with these terms, I’m on way to becoming a stellar tech-based PR practitioner.

I realize not everyone’s internship will end up like mine, but I can offer some advice to potential interns:

New Girl’s Top 3 Reasons for Why You Should Intern While Still in School

1)     The classroom does not teach you all you need to know about the public relations field.

2)     In this current economic climate, it’s best to have all kinds of PR experience on your resume. Anyone can get a degree, but experience counts!

3)     The transition into the working world may not be so drastic if you get acquainted with the field ahead of time. What if you decide this isn’t for you? An internship will help you realize that before potentially wasting years in the classroom.

… and the best part of MY internship? It has opened the door to a permanent position here at LMGPR. Finding a job in your field upon graduation has become increasingly difficult these days, and I know without this internship the transition from classroom to workplace would have been far more difficult.

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LMGPR RETAINS “BEST OF SUNNYVALE” STATUS…

By Michael Erwin

Loughlin Michaels Group is adding another award to its trophy case.

The US Commerce Association (USCA) has selected LMGPR for the 2011 Best of Sunnyvale Award in the Public Relations Counselors category.

This is the third consecutive year LMGPR has won the award, a feat that puts the firm in elite company. According to the USCA, less than one-percent of 2011 Award recipients qualified as Three-Time Award Winners.

“We are thrilled to receive this award for the third straight year,” said Donna Michaels, president. “We attribute our continued success to a dedicated team and an exciting portfolio of clients.”

The USCA “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country.

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IT’S ONLY CHEATING IF YOU GET CAUGHT!

By Michael Erwin

Tsk Tsk! The fallout continues after last week’s PR snafu involving Facebook and Google.

For those out of the loop, Facebook found itself in an embarrassing situation after it hired PR firm Burson-Marsteller to approach news outlets with negative stories about Google’s privacy practices on its “Social Circle” site. One of the journalists approached went public with the conversation.

Facebook denies the goal was to run a smear campaign against the Internet search giant, but admitted it had concerns about how Social Circle collects and uses personal data.

The issue has turned to an ethical one not only for Facebook, but for Burston-Marsteller as well.

The PR firm has vowed to retrain the the two employees at the center of the scandal. In addition, a code of ethics will be redistributed to all employees.

But is there really evidence of wrongdoing? While attempting to create negative press for Google could appear shady, these types of attempts are not uncommon. We see similar behavior in the political world constantly.

It appears the main ethical issue here is Burson’s failure to disclose who it was working for. The Public Relations Society of America’s Code of Ethics calls for members to “reveal the sponsors for causes and interests represented.”

Burson’s lack of transparency is being criticized, though it is not the first (nor the last) PR firm to withhold such information. The problem is, Burson-Marstellar got caught.

… and as part of damage control, the firm is doing the right public thing by admitting wrongdoing and taking steps to rectify the situation.

That’s what good PR is all about, right?!

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Reppler Monitors Your Online Identity and Safeguards Your Reputation


7 out of 10 employers will monitor your network to keep them safe from you

By Anton Molodetskiy and Roberto Araujo

Picture this: You’re a college student looking to graduate in a few months. Two weeks ago, you blasted job applications and were confident that your academic achievement, experience and skills would help you land your dream entry-level job. After completing your last round of midterms and applying to a plethora of jobs, you and your friends spend your last Spring Break together where you all had an unforgettable time… Little did you know, while you and your friends were partying over Spring Break, a recruiter was able to read your Facebook updates and your friend’s comments. The recruiter, who was initially impressed with your application, decides to move on as s/he’s shocked by the profanity and the racial tone of the comments made by your immature and drunk friends.

Rhonda Wheatley, a job recruiter and career coach in Silicon Valley, told Fast Company, “No matter how liberal a company is (doing the hiring), most would still prefer to hire reliable employees who aren’t out doing heavy partying and/or displaying themselves in photos others may consider distasteful.”

Our new client, Reppler offers a free solution that monitors our online persona. This service will scan content which relates to our updates and comments from our network of friends. Additionally, Reppler notifies you about malicious links, security issues and negative or explicit material.  Like a virtual chaperone, it even gives an overall sentiment of the user on its network and even our own trending Facebook wall words. This allows us to ensure that our online presence is clean and does not compromise our chances of obtaining their next job, promotion or simple ruin our reputation.

Seventy five percent of all job recruiters today use Facebook to evaluate a potential candidate’s online reputation and four out of every five college admissions offices use the social network to recruit students according to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2010 survey of college admissions officers.

In our quest to make our online reputation more exciting or interesting, sometimes decorum is dumped by the wayside.  The number of people who lose their jobs due to an online post on Facebook or the number of students who miss out on that golden opportunity because their profile picture includes them in compromising situations with drugs or alcohol has only increased in recent years.

Elias Aboujaoude, a Stanford psychiatrist discussed in a recent podcast the impact our online personas have on our physical lives. Without actually entering the tron grid, our exciting online selves have begun influencing our real-time selves. However, the results can be damaging. Aboujaoude references a decrease in patience, narcissism, impulsivity and a lack of consideration for others which extends into our off-line lives, becoming ingrained in our personalities.

Though cloning and gene manipulation are still considered unethical and financially impractical, we have turned to virtual environments to make our lives easier and seemingly more exciting or appealing. The internet has prevailed into all parts of our lives. Where to eat? Yelp it. Who to date? OkCupid or eHarmony. Where to buy books? Amazon or half.com. Music? Rhapsody or iTunes. An internet-linked GPS prevents us from getting lost and Flikr allows pictures of us skydiving to be shared with our legions of “friends” on Facebook.  It doesn’t matter if that skydiving photo was taken over a year ago; our online personalities can exhibit it front and center to make others believe that it’s a regular occurrence in our high-octane lives of accounting and daycare visits. We start and end relationships through email and can be brazen and fearless behind facades of online anonymity.

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You Are What You Tweet

By Lindsay Newman

There is no denying that Twitter has taken the social networking world by storm. Facebook and YouTube have become overly time consuming in the shadow of a tweet. Why read through an entire bio when you can consume a whole personality in just one sentence?

Twitter allows every individual- whether enterprise, celebrity, or every day ‘regular Joe’ to run their own identity campaign- if, of course, you can express yourself in 140 characters or less.

But with this accessible power comes a personal liability to responsibility, to avoid pitfalls such as self-destruction, public embarrassment, or even a ruined reputation. Sounds a little dramatic? – Let me explain why ‘responsible tweeting’ has become a crucial skill to master.

When comedian Gilbert Gottfried recently tweeted an insensitive joke regarding the tsunami in Japan, he lost his job as the Aflac company duck.

An enterprise who wants to push their message to their customers and develop a voice in their space uses Twitter to gain an identifiable opinion which leads to equity in their respected field. Yet, one misleading tweet about a new announcement could turn off customers and put a wedge in the entire company positioning. Talk about throwing their PR team in a panic!

And in 2009 when a newly hired Cisco employee tweeted about dreading work, the company immediately responded and alerted the hiring manager. I would imagine that meeting did not start with smiles. 

Why are these short thoughts so powerful? The answer is exactly what makes Twitter so valuable. A tweet is an unfiltered personal expression, the closest a customer, or audience, will get to the subject.

Therefore, the importance of responsible tweeting means always keeping this fact in mind.  Tweets should be crafted carefully and appropriately. Do this, and Twitter can deliver positive benefits unmatched by other avenues. Never tweet anything you wouldn’t post on a billboard in front of your house.  And remember, once the tweet is sent, it becomes a part of that identity- good or bad.

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After 100 Years celebrating women internationally, are Men and Women Treated Equally in the PR Field?

By Roberto Araujo

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the International Women’s Day. Our field of public relations is practically filled with great women of all ages, races and sexual orientations. In fact, according to PRSA , 70% of PR professionals are women. Yes, this figure is an excellent indicator of the female dominance, but why is there still a gap between men and women salaries in public relations and other female dominated fields?

In an article “In PR, Women Outnumber Men But Men Still Earn More” posted by Media Bistro, show how there are many inequalities and in fact 80 percent of the top management is male. Meanwhile, the same article points out that “some [women] are making a concerted effort to recruit men.” This is definitely interesting considering female empowerment is still on the rise; however, this shows that there’s still some resistance and it comes from “her” side.

Another recent study posted on Guardian.co.uk shows that the gap increases from a lower level PR position to a more managerial position from 3% – 21% per gap.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics revealed some interesting data on women in the workplace. Here are the highlights:

  • By 2018, the number of women age 65 to 74 in the civilian labor force is projected to increase more than the number of women in any other age group.
  • In 2010, over 66 percent of women in the labor force had either attended some college or graduated with a degree.
  • In 2009, only a few countries (notably Canada and Sweden) had higher labor force participation rates for women than the United States.
  • In 2010, more women were employed in the education and health services industry than in any other industry; in the 1960s, manufacturing employed the most women.
  • Women working as personal financial advisors earn 58 percent of what men earn—lower than the overall ratio of women’s to men’s earnings (81 percent).
  • When they were 23 years old, about 23 percent of young women held a bachelor’s degree (or higher), compared with about 14 percent of young men.
  • Single women spend about 25 percent of their annual expenditures on shelter.

It is still evident that the differences of salaries among men and women are shrinking, yet still not equal. Much more effort and support from feminist groups and non-feminist women will be needed to close this unfair gap. Today, being Women’s Day, we should recognize and appreciate the efforts made by exemplar women in history as Susan B. Anthony, Mother Theresa, or even the women who recently marched at the Egyptian protest, those in the military and our own mothers.

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Gamification—It’s all in the Game


Matt Sarrel and Donna Michaels

Gamification is a hot topic these days.  This is sort of funny to me that in 2011 it’s all about gamification.  The reason why I say this is that I remember a bit push in, oh maybe 1985, to start building game look and feel into non-game related software.  But it’s different now, more advanced and more thorough. In fact, there’s entire editorial blogs dedicated to Gamification such as http://newstopiaville.nextnewsroom.com/what-is-gamification/.

Gamification isn’t just about making software look like a game.  It’s about incorporating the most critical aspects of games such as rules, scoring, objectives, social interaction, and immediate feedback into web sites, software, and business processes.  Although it isn’t just about making something fun, gamification does have a lot to do with making every day actions fun.

For example, think about the way an online RPG works.  Players get together and form guilds or clans to work together to accomplish a common goal that benefits all involved.  Now think about a site like Groupon.  You band together with your friends (or strangers) to gain volume pricing and discounts.  Then add the element of artificial scarcity (only 5 minutes left to buy!) and a slick interface and shopping becomes just like playing a game.

There are plenty of places where game mechanics are implemented in our daily lives.  I would even go so far as to say that whether we like it or not our lives are game mechanics.  How many times has someone told you that life is like a chess match?  Have you ever noticed yourself shopping for a better deal, not because of the deal but because of your internal sense of competition?  I have a friend whose father pulls in $5 million a year, but to buy a TV he’ll spend 3 months looking for the best deal even if it means saving $10.  That’s not about saving – that’s about playing the game of saving.

Loyalty programs, like those of airlines, hotel chains, and car rentals are very simple game mechanics.  We love earning those points (see Up in the Air) yet we never use them.  Why?  Because our competitive nature just wants the points and the actual use of them is incidental.

I suspect we’re going to see more and more websites rely on game mechanics to increase conversions.  In a way, what the market is saying is, “games are popular and this is an industry where there is money to be made.  If they can make money using this tactic so can we, so let’s build game mechanics into our product.”

It’s my opinion that this is a significant trend for game developers to follow.  Let’s be honest, all of us would love to write games.  But there aren’t necessarily enough game developer jobs for all of us.  Plus, there’s the reality that developing business software might pay better than developing a game.

I’m not saying that there should be a mass exodus from gaming.  Rather I’m saying that there is some value in learning how to apply the mechanics that work in games to the development of other software.  It may open up new doors for you, should you choose to open them.  And look at it this way – the more aspects of gaming that we can build into the rest of the world, the better the rest of the world can be.

Recently, Donna Michaels and I met with Tim Chang of Norwest Venture partners.  He shared with us his knowledge on gamification in this video interview.  We will continue to report on gamification in 2011.

Interview with Tim Chang on Gamification:

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