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5 Ways to Get Girls to Fall in Love With STEM

President Obama recently announced his Computer Science for All initiative to fund computer science training programs in K-12 public schools. But before assessing the need at a national level, entrepreneurs and tech companies have been assessing and advocating for the need for more STEM education on their own; because as we all know…nothing happens without […]


PART 2: Big Data 101 for PR

We know, we know…sequels so rarely live up to the hype of originals, but I can assure you this part duex is guaranteed to deliver as much punch and pizzazz as what came before. A few weeks ago my colleague and engineering partner-in-crime, Frank Jing, knocked it out of the park with his succinct and […]


5 Tenets of PRTech + 2015 PRTech Awards Recap

Last week in New York, #TeamAirPR hosted the 2015 PRTech Awards to honor the leading minds in PR, Marketing, Technology and Media. Needless to say, the brainpower gathered in one room was staggering. (You can peruse a few snaps of the mind meld here.) Everyone in attendance was there to acknowledge that our industry is at […]


Rick Liebling On The Power of 3: PR + Social + Tech

It’s been said that three is a magic number and when you stop to think about it, some of the best things in life really do come in 3’s.

Three-piece suits…three little pigs…three sheets to the wind…ok, maybe not that last one, but you get my drift.

In an effort to channel the power of three, we’re taking you on video exploration of the convergence of PR, social media, and technology.

To lead our triumvirate travels, we enlisted Unmetric’s Head of Global Marketing, Rick Liebling. A veteran marketer with more than 15 years of agency experience, Rick currently heads Unmetric’s marketing initiatives across the brand, product, and content communication strategies.

The long-time former PR practitioner turned global marketer is rocking at the center of social, PR, and tech, which make him uniquely qualified to speak on the shifts driving the landscape.

Rick operates under the firm belief that the vast amounts of PR and social media data available can be used to not only optimize all current efforts, but should also inform future decision-making across marketing. HEAR HEAR!

We sat down for a candid (and enlightening) conversation with Rick where he graciously shared his thoughts around how social analytics, PR measurement, and innovative technology can work together to demonstrate bottom line business impact.

Here are just a few of the tasty tidbits Rick offered up. All the videos are under 3 minutes and chock full insightful takeaways from one of the best in the biz.

Enjoy!

On integrating social media into the greater PR/comms strategy:

Rick Tip #1: Bring social media into the conversation early and involve them in the entire process from creative brief to ideation.

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LinkedIn’s leading ladies talk PR, tech, and changing the world

As a career professional, can you imagine a world without LinkedIn? It would be like trying to function without a pencil in a one-room schoolhouse. Ridiculous. LinkedIn has essentially replaced the need for business cards, since you can basically use it as a modern day Rolodex. #Connections. Furthermore, if you’ve ever looked for a job, […]


How to Think About Gender Inequality and Diversity in Tech

Last fall I attended the very fashionable and mildly geek-chic Anita Borg Institute’s Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing event, now home to “Nadella-gate.”

There, I observed a sea of 8,000 women aged eighteen to eighty who were there for one express purpose: to understand the technology landscape and future of computing and how it may affect their respective lives–career and otherwise.

My thinking around gender inequality (in this particular case, with regard to the technology industry) tends to align with GoDaddy CTO Elissa Murphy’s thinking when we sat down at the conference to discuss gender gaps, among other things: “I never got the memo that I wasn’t supposed to go to the computer lab, or play baseball, or do any other thing I wanted to do. Being a girl never had anything to do with it.”

On the flip side, as Erica Lockheimer, Director of Engineering Growth at LinkedIn, pointed out: “When you talk to younger generations, the stereotypes about being a girl in computing still exist: we’re introverted geeks who lack social skills and just want to stare at a computer screen all day. It’s in everything from the things they watch on TV to what they see on the Internet.”

What is the truth about why more girls don’t pursue engineering careers? Is it because men are holding them back? Is it because “the system” (that beast! The thing we blame when we can’t identify a culprit) is sending the wrong messages?

If we put gender aside for a moment, and focus on the benefits of diversity within industries and organizations, the thinking ever so slightly shifts into a solutions-based paradigm. The by-product of this modification is a distinct emphasis on a person’s love for a particular subject matter, area of expertise, or knowledge base that allows them to thrive. Along with continued discourse and a general awareness of “unconscious bias,” I am almost certain that if we focused on the following things, we would see seismic shifts in terms of the number of people (who happen to be female) who pursue careers in engineering and other technical roles.

EDUCATION: Thinking about computing education as art, rather than just science

It’s very easy to get stuck in our thinking that pursuing a degree in computer science means one is only adept with numbers. But the truth is that “coding” is actually very similar to learning a language; a language that happens to be numbers based. When curricula systematically approach engineering from the standpoint of science or math, they fundamentally deny those with a propensity for learning languages or a passion for art the opportunity to pursue this path. We have done a disservice by talking about STEM in terms of left-brains, rather than a creative pursuit that requires a different set of skills, often soft skills, in order to master it.

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Tech Talk With Sir Mix-A-Lot

I get a lot of email. Like, A LOT. My team often teases me that my inbox and calendar look more like an anti-productivity war zone than the carefully color-coded, organized chaos it actually is. There is a method to my madness, people! Back in January, I received an email that basically made my year, […]


7 years of Intelligibility

Happy between week: the most highly anticipated time of year for yours truly. I’m not sure if it’s the lull in work tasks post Chrismukkah, or the anticipation for “starting anew”…but whatever the case, I love this particular time of the year.

I have jumped – no, leaped (more graceful if you are attempting to visualize) – to the assumption that, like me, you will spend an ample amount of time this week reading, organizing your Netflix queue, business planning for the New Year, and setting goals for how you are basically going to killit in 2015.

Oh, and obviously you are allocating a wee bit of time for “sale shopping,” because that is the economical thing to do.

If you’re not doing any of the above, and rather, you are sitting around lazily on the couch eating holiday leftovers, I commend you. You’re my hero. And please keep reading on because, despite your general lack of motivation at present, I believe you can still process the information.

This between week, I have momentarily set aside my PR hat and dug deep into the recesses of my Philosophy-degree trained brain, which I knew it would come in handy eventually. I would like to pose a theory about the next seven years (it takes balls to make long term predictions, high probability of being really really “off”) – mostly in terms of business and how it may affect us as communicators of digestible information rooted in data.

The initial philosophizing began a couple of weeks ago when I read a few particularly poignant excerpts from my current obsession: Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. German Rhodes Scholar and economic advisor to a handful of governments, E.F. Schumacher, wrote the book and the original version was first published in 1973.

How’s that for evergreen? I highly recommend it.

Excerpt #1 (page 89):

When people ask for education they normally mean something more than mere training, something more than mere knowledge of facts, and something more than a mere diversion. Maybe they cannot themselves formulate precisely what they are looking for; but I think what they are really looking for is ideas that would make the world, and their own lives, intelligible to them.

When a thing is intelligible you have a sense of participation; when a thing is unintelligible you have a sense of estrangement. “Well, I don’t know,” you hear people say, as an impotent protest against the unintelligibility of the world as they meet it. If the mind cannot bring to the world a set – or, shall we say, a tool-box – of powerful ideas, the world must appear to it as chaos, a mass of unrelated phenomena, of meaningless events. Such a man is like a person in a strange land without any signs of civilization, without maps or signposts or indicators of any kind. Nothing has any meaning to him; nothing can hold his vital interest; he has no means of making anything intelligible to himself.

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4 unlikely lessons from office space trends

Part of the beauty of being an entrepreneur is the uncanny ability to roll with the punches, adapt to change, and ultimately solve problems in a creative way. But whether you’re a first-time founder or a seasoned innovator one truth holds constant: markets do not giving a flying you know what about your product roadmap, company valuation, or engineering pedigrees.

Nope. In fact, the irony of a free market is just how little any of this seems to matter in terms of the ultimate success of a company. Dare I bring up examples of over-hyped companies whose IPOs flopped, over-funded companies who (after years and years) still don’t have an actual profit-making enterprise, or behemoth brands with billions of dollars in the bank who can’t seem to innovate their way out of an open box.

The point? As much as we try, it’s often hard to predict which entrepreneurial pursuits will wind up being lucrative, and which ones will take their rightful place in the graveyard of good ideas (or terrible ones) that suffered from bad timing, ill-equipped people, or poor product execution. Between all the plans and strategies and intentions of a business lie the actual and tactical components of what often end up leading to a big win; or on the other side of the coin, an ultimate failure.

Office space trendsLately, as our company prepares for rapid growth, I’ve been thinking about things differently, which basically means more tactically. From hiring to building a culture, what are factors that we need to consider as we prepare for the next phase?

Last week, I met with two gentlemen from CBRE, a global real estate and investment firm, to talk about office space. You know, to manifest our future digs, which will (obviously) include a yoga studio, a full kitchen, vaulted ceilings, and a spiral staircase. Uh-huh, right. What I learned, however, beyond that fact that the aforementioned criteria would likely send us into early bankruptcy, is just how insightful the statistics and data around office space trends are to understanding the current environment for aspiring businesses.

You ready?

From CBRE’s “U.S. Tech-Twenty: Measuring Market Impact” report, here are a few things you may want to noodle on as you build out your empire – which will require plenty of office space:

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Game Theory as applied to PR

DISCLAIMER: We going to get a bit geeky this week, so prepare to mull. 

Establishing value-driven measurement is an integral step in cementing PR’s seat at the table. But what about other catalysts (beyond metrics) that can used in rational, strategic decision making?

Below is a write up done by our stellar summer intern, Harry Rackmil. Harry brought a numerous insightful contributions to AirPR, one of which was his application of Game Theory to PR.

Besides being a fascinating read, Harry also cooked up some nifty visuals to illustrate the model’s important conclusions. Your head might spin a little during your first read, but that’s just your brain thanking you for seeking yet another angle that proves the value of PR. Enjoy!

Public Relations and Game Theory seem to have little in common, but that doesn’t mean they don’t pair nicely.

Game theory, to paraphrase Wikipedia, is the study of strategic decision making by rational, intelligent agents. It’s easy to see how this could apply to Public Relations – every decision in a PR campaign, from which messages to pitch to which journalists to target, is a carefully considered choice, influenced in part by the strategic choices of the competition’s rational.

But then again, “strategic decision making by rational, intelligent agents” is vague enough to cover just about everything. This is intentional – it means practically any strategic decision can be tweaked into a game modelled by a mathematical game theoretical framework with a few well-placed assumptions. But it also means some important details will have to be glossed over – John Nash never incorporated the influence of the blogosphere into his equilibrium calculations.

With a few simplifying assumptions we can apply game theory to a common situation in PR and explain why increasing PR investment might not increase sales, but not investing in PR at all will cause even more damage.

How PR relates to “competitive advantage.”

Let’s look at a very specific case when two competitors are vying for the same fixed pool of customers. This is certainly not the only PR hypothetical – it is often employed to bring in new customers, coax current customers into spending more, or simply prevent unforeseeable press disasters.

Think of a presidential election – television ads are airing constantly so almost everyone knows the candidates’ names (high brand awareness), but these ads weren’t convincing enough and a number of swing voters still haven’t decided. If nothing further is done, approximately half should vote for each candidate just by random chance. But if one candidate’s PR team gets an article published making a convincing appeal to these voters and the other candidate is silent, the first candidate could get all of their votes.

Now if the second candidate’s PR team gets a second, equally effective article published favoring their candidate, the decision isn’t so straightforward and the split is back to 50/50. So both candidates have spent a lot of money on PR and they’re no better off than if they’d never hired PR pros in the first place.

So if this is the outcome, why invest in PR at all?

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