Jennifer Pino

Jun 05

Men invented the Internet and the Earth is flat

And to think, I believed Beyoncé when she sang, “who run the world? girls!”

But alas, the opening lines of New York Times article, Lawsuit Shakes Foundation of a Man’s World of Tech, reads:

MEN invented the Internet. And not just any men. Men with pocket protectors. Men who idolized Mr. Spock and cried when Steve Jobs died. Nerds. Geeks. Give them their due. Without men, we would never know what our friends were doing five minutes ago.

Hmmm. I’m sure there must have been a woman thrown in there somewhere, right? You know, as Steve and Bill clinked glasses and smoked cigars, as Mark bathed in dollar bills at night…surely there was a secret bunker somewhere full of X chromosomes coding by day, and needle-pointing by night.

The article’s “bold” opening leads way to the debate that has sprung up surrounding Ellen Pao, a junior partner in her early 40s at venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and the sexual discrimination lawsuit against the company and her colleagues. The complaint has Silicon Valley in a bit of a pickle.

Instead of talking about the New New Thing, people are discussing an old, old problem. And they are taking sides.

But is Pao’s lawsuit exposing an uncomfortable truth about Silicon Valley: starting tech companies in 2012 is still a male game, and so is funding them? It may seem very cliché and heard in many industries, not just technology, but what I find interesting is that the firm Pao works for is one of the few exceptions to VC’s disinterest in hiring women; one quarter of its 50 partners are female.

That fact fits awkwardly with the lawsuit’s claim that one male executive told Pao  women would never succeed at Kleiner “because women are quiet”  and another male is quoted saying women were not being invited to a big-deal dinner because they would “kill the buzz.”

You know what also “kills the buzz”? A lawsuit.

Now, without cold hard facts behind the complaint as of yet, I’ll keep my pointing finger in my pocket. And trust me, if you read the entire article, the accusations and information starts to read more like a Nancy Grace special than a simple lawsuit in the valley, but regardless (and not to get all Norma Rae about it), it brings to light the fact that they’re still using glass to build those ceilings. The article continues to point out:

Claire Mazur, a founder of Of a Kind, an e-commerce start-up based in New York. Ms. Mazur said she never had a problem getting meetings with venture capitalists. “But it’s definitely harder to talk to male investors who don’t have as much experience with retail and fashion,” she said. “That kind of personal connection can be key to getting funding.”

Or, as another e-commerce entrepreneur put it, “You’re trying to explain to a man why shopping is fun.”

Speaking only on the condition of anonymity — you never can tell whom you’re going to be asking for money — some entrepreneurs are more despairing.

One woman said she interviewed at a top venture firm in 2000 after coming out of business school. “I was told point-blank that they once had a woman and it didn’t work out,” she said. “That was 12 years ago and they haven’t had a single woman partner since.”

Here’s hoping this isn’t a retro trend coming back into style.

May 17

By now, I’m sure most have you have seen Arik Hanson’s Is Corporate America Killing Our PR Writers?
Well, video killed the radio star, and yes, at times it does feel like corporate America has stifled our creative spirit. Nothing would please me more than to write a press release for one of our clients and say it like I mean it. Tell it like it is. Pay the piper.
Picture the Office Space fax machine moment.
But before we go postal on the printer, the team at Crossroads PR vented on this subject using the sharpest tool in our shed; our rhetoric. These are the most hated buzzwords in our PR vocabulary.

By now, I’m sure most have you have seen Arik Hanson’s Is Corporate America Killing Our PR Writers?

Well, video killed the radio star, and yes, at times it does feel like corporate America has stifled our creative spirit. Nothing would please me more than to write a press release for one of our clients and say it like I mean it. Tell it like it is. Pay the piper.

Picture the Office Space fax machine moment.

But before we go postal on the printer, the team at Crossroads PR vented on this subject using the sharpest tool in our shed; our rhetoric. These are the most hated buzzwords in our PR vocabulary.

May 03

Should pharma just divorce social media, citing “irreconcilable differences”? Part II

Here we are, nearly a year later from my original post on pharma’s struggle to stay committed to social media, and it appears trust issues are still at the forefront of relationship resolution. Apparently my advice for couples therapy was lost in translation.

A recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found drugmakers have failed to gain the trust of most consumers on social networking sites. While the survey found only 37% of consumers trust information from drug companies on social media venues like Facebook, a third of those consumers did say that information from social networking sites influence their decisions about medicines - proving that pharma just can’t ignore its transparent, outgoing partner completely.

So, what’s a girl to do?

Tightly-wound, regulated, top-down, Type A, one-way, controlled, structured lady, Miss Pharma thought she was finally really letting loose and embracing Mr. Social Media. She employed his free-wheeling, bottom-up, conversational, unpredictably evolving, current, wide open misfit spirit and setup that Facebook page, joined LinkedIn groups, tweeted what she had for breakfast, alerted the masses that she checked-in to CVS, and even pinned some corporate history.

But, no, it’s never enough, is it?

"Health organizations have an opportunity to use social media as a way to better listen, participate in discussions and engage with consumers in ways that extend their interaction beyond a clinical encounter," PwC’s Kelly Barnes, of the company’s U.S. health unit, said, as quoted by InPharm. “Savvy adopters are viewing social media as a business strategy, not just a marketing tool.”

It looks like Miss Pharma (and her Life Sciences Sisters and Biotech Babes) need to take it another step further and really dig into the wealth of consumer data from social networking sites.

She needs to communicate better with Mr. Social Media and find out what really makes him tick. Maybe treat him to a candlelight dinner downtown. Order the surf and turf and a nice bottle of Rosé. Learn about the hot topics among target patient groups and what is influencing decisions.

Maybe then, the divorce papers will be traded in for hashtags; the ballpoint pen for a pin, and the dotted line for a broadcasting hangout.

A girl can dream, right?

Apr 23

Beyond the job description

I recently read Steve Farnsworth’s (or @steveology for all you Twitter fans out there) article, Is Social Media Beyond a Public Relations Professional’s Skill Set? Steve was responding to an article by Howard Sewell, Is Social Media Wasted on PR Agencies?

My first reaction to just the titles of these articles was an emphatic, near defensive, NO. I think of social media as just another artillery in the PR Pro’s arsenal of communications weaponry. But then Steve-O and Howard got me thinking.

Perhaps the question should be, Is Lead Generation Beyond a PR Professional’s Skill Set? Or is Media Relations Wasted on PR Agencies? Let me explain…

Both admit PR’s traditional foundation and dynamic has put blinders on some very smart PR pros, segmenting out variables of PR plan (specifically, social media) rather than integrating, and often leaving lead generation to fend for itself by the wayside.

For example, a social media plan authored by a client’s PR agency was recently shared with Howard. The stated objectives of said plan were:

Not horrible, but, as Howard points out awareness and thought leadership represent only a fraction of the potential return from social media, and there’s no reference to lead generation and lead nurturing. He goes on to say that his plan would have also included:

While I think both Steve and Howard make some excellent points in their discussions, what struck me the most was not the social media conundrum, but that these PR “plans” are just that. Plans.

I think the most important part of PR is understanding your client, the space they are in, their audience, and most importantly; their goals. Not necessarily how you get there.

Maybe lead generation isn’t important to your client in the beginning stages of your PR relationship. And that’s okay. Your plan should reflect that, and work towards meeting their other goals, such as brand awareness or market disruption. A good PR team should be able to guide the client through ways to meet those goals, and how to measure if activities are working. Sure, social media may be a part of those PR action items, but only if it makes sense towards meeting goals and getting the kind of ROI your client is after.

Yes, you can have your social media cake and eat it too.

Bottom line is, a PR professional wears many hats, and nothing should be beyond your job description if it makes sense for not only the client’s, but also agency’s success (within reason, of course, i would think ‘panhandling’ for example would be outside of an expected job responsibility for a public relations team, but hey, maybe that’s just me…).

I’d love to hear your thoughts as well. Share a comment below!

Apr 03

In like a LION, out like a…networking matchmaker?

Are you a LION? And, no, I don’t mean in the “rawr” giant-cat sense of the word, I’m talking about a LinkedIn Open Networker.

The basic idea behind LIONs is that open-networkers are LinkedIn users who are willing to establish connections with people with whom they’ve had no previous relationship.

LIONs to me are kind of like the Patti Stanger of the online networking world. “I don’t know you, and you don’t know me, but I think we’d be a great match. Maybe we could talk about it over wi-fi and a bowl of mashuga nuts.

For some, this may sound like a plan. I can see many of our clients in sales salivating right about now. [I’ll just advertise myself as a LION and pretty soon, I’ll have so many connections, there won’t be enough time in the day for wi-fi mashuga nut business dates!]

Not so fast, fast-cats.

First of all, this breaks all the LinkedIn “rules” about users limiting connections to those they’ve known and worked with in real life. In addition to this caution-to-the-wind attitude, LIONs also experience excessive connection requests, many of which end up being spam from internet marketers creating fake LinkedIn profiles.

It really poses the quality vs. quantity dilemma. The connections made as a LION are typically more about quantity than anything else, and while sure, being in the right networking circle at the right time could mean success, most of the time you’re just another profile in a sea of PhDs and MBAs.

A better way to approach this might be simply adding a few strategic LIONs to your network, rather than becoming one yourself, and see if you can facilitate additional connections that way.

Or, you could get out there and actually physically meet people (say wha?). Get retro and ask someone for coffee or lunch. How else are they supposed to see your winning fashion sense and green sensibility when you drive up in an electric car? You can’t do that on LinkedIn.


Mar 16

Welcome, News Over Wireless!

Roll out the welcome mat for new client, News Over Wireless!
                               
About News Over Wireless (NOW)
Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, News Over Wireless works with broadcasters and wireless phone carriers to provide news and information on mobile phones through video channels, applications and mobile websites. NOW assists partners with quick launches and full support of mobile solutions to help them build their own applications by customizing content, menu structure and their brand. The company helps extend newsrooms, increase customer loyalty, maintain their technology leadership and add additional revenue stream for partners.

NOW is ahead of the game as one of the few providers with extensive expertise in the mobile application and advertising space, with a number of innovations under its belt. NOW enables customers to take an advantage of multiple platforms with a breadth of offerings, giving industry partners the ability to add-on new features as their needs change.

NOW came to Crossroads PR…
to establish themselves as a key player within the mobile applications and advertising industry. Crossroads PR will help educate the market, media and key analysts on NOW’s mobile applications and advertising technology and build thought leadership for the company.

         

Mar 14

Welcome, Valencell!

Roll out the welcome mat for new client, Valencell!
                               
About Valencell
Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, Valencell develops physiological monitoring technology for the growing mobile
fitness market and licenses this technology to industry partners for integration with brand-name accessories such as audio earbuds and mobile fitness applications used by consumers each day.

With over 25 patents pending, Valencell’s V-LINC™ sensor technology is the only solution on the market that allows you to capture accurate, meaningful, actionable, and personalized health and fitness data such as metabolic rate and cardiovascular fitness (VO2max). Moreover, V-LINC™ technology comprises the only earbud-based continuous heart rate monitoring technology proven accurate during virtually any exercise in virtually any physical environment or condition.

Valencell came to Crossroads PR…
to establish themselves as a key player within the mobile fitness technology space, as well as build brand awareness and their tradeshow presence. Crossroads PR helped Valencell build industry buzz at CES and is now focused on educating the broader market, more media and potential partners on
Valencell’s unique technology.

             

Mar 07

Time After Time

That Cyndi Lauper was ahead of her time.

Caught up in circles confusion—
Is nothing new
Flashback—warm nights—
Almost left behind
Suitcases of memories,
Time after…

How many of you are confused or ‘caught up in circles’ by Facebook Timeline? Remembering the days of yore when you had finally figured things out (kinda, sorta) and were feeling good about your personal profile and company page?

Sure, for months on my personal Facebook page, I had seen the top-bar indicator, enticing me to take a ride on the Timeline pony. “Look how many of your friends are already trying it,” it pursued. Yet, I chose to “x” out that indicator box and ignore, ignore, ignore. Facebook and I had finally gotten to a good place, and I didn’t want to unravel our relationship (again).

Then news broke that Timeline for Facebook brand pages was about to unveil. A dark cloud formed over my Macbook.

After my picture fades and darkness has
Turned to gray
Watching through windows—you’re wondering
If I’m okay…

I’m okay, Cyndi, I’ll be okay.

I decided to educate myself a bit before diving into Timeline headfirst. Here are some great articles/resources I read to help get started, and some high-level takeaways:

What differs is the ability to pin a post to the top of a page and a friend activity box that makes pages more relevant to each user. Page tabs still function, but there is no longer an option to set a third-party tab as default. A new admin panel, activity log and direct message feature will help page owners manage their communities.

Develop a personality around your brand. A good social strategy starts off with the question “If your brand were a person, who would it be?”

B2B companies who want to succeed on Facebook must now develop and share content that doesn’t just provide value, but that catches peoples’ eyes. A recent study has already shown that many large brands don’t get that much fan engagement on Facebook, so this can be even more challenging for many B2B companies.

When Facebook rolled out the Timeline for businesses, they [NYT] were one of the first to roll out, not only a cover photo that shows their employees on two levels of the organization’s building, but also historical data, going back as far as the 1850s.

Facebook’s advertising strategy is being unified around the notion of storytelling; dedicated to the creation and amplification of stories through advertising…this philosophy—together with new advertising features Facebook has announced, such as the inclusion of ads within news feeds both on the web and mobile devices is a watershed moment for the social giant - the biggest advertising innovation seen in years of working on the platform.

After you upgrade a page to timeline, it might look like the spam filter has changed, when in fact it has simply relocated — or rather, posts flagged as spam are aggregated in the same place rather than strewn all over the wall. Facebook puts all your spam in one place under your admin panel.

No longer will visitors to a business’ Facebook page be greeted by a landing tab to entice consumers to “Like” them. Now the previous conversations on the business’ timeline – which are more easily accessible under the new format – will have to attract new subscribers.

The idea makes some sense. Since social media emphasizes two-way conversation (as opposed to the one-way shouting of an advertisement), wouldn’t you want your conversations to be the focus of your Facebook page?


So, with this knowledge under my belt, I’ve been plugging away at updating Crossroads PR’s Timeline.

You said go slow—
I fall behind
The second hand unwinds…

And yes, with Cyndi’s tutelage, I’ve been going slow and taking my time to make it right. It’s actually been really fun to think back to past milestones and humble beginnings. Since many Crossroads “firsts” were before my time, I’ve enlisted the help of my coworkers to fill in the gaps.

Stay tuned for more updates, (sing it with me), time after time…

Mar 01

Feb 20

This is your corporate Twitter handle without PR [prior to January 10].
This is your corporate Twitter handle with PR [January 10 and beyond].
Just wanted to show you a visual of a particular client of ours’ Twitter activity. Once they let PR drive the tool, the number of followers increased. And this was with just an average of 5 tweets per day.
This just shows if you remain engaged, with around 5 tweets per day, your Twitter traffic will grow!

This is your corporate Twitter handle without PR [prior to January 10].

This is your corporate Twitter handle with PR [January 10 and beyond].

Just wanted to show you a visual of a particular client of ours’ Twitter activity. Once they let PR drive the tool, the number of followers increased. And this was with just an average of 5 tweets per day.

This just shows if you remain engaged, with around 5 tweets per day, your Twitter traffic will grow!