Sunday, October 26, 2008

Room to Read Boston - Join us November 12 at Elephant Walk!

Elephant Walk has long been a favorite restaurant, with its exotic blend of Cambodian and French cuisine. Imagine my delight that the chefs at Elephant Walk not only agreed to host our Room to Read fundraiser on November 12th (7-9 p.m.), but two of them will be presenting on Cambodia and its cuisine. (This event kicks off a modest campaign by the Boston Chapter to build 10 libraries -- "reading rooms" -- in Cambodia, at a cost of approximately $40,000.)

We're very honored to have Elephant Walk's founding chef, Longteine de Monteiro, (above) speak that evening. She's had a remarkable life, having been born into an upper class Cambodian family and married to a prominent diplomat, and then been forced to flee the country in 1975, with the rise of the Khmer Rouge. Her family settled for several years in France, where Madame de Monteiro ("Nyep" to her friends) opened her first restaurant to keep the family afloat. She had no previous business experience and no formal training as a chef.

In the early 90s, the family moved to the States, which had long been their objective. Elephant Walk was born, and the restaurant was hailed by Esquire Magazine as one of America's Best New Restaurants in 1992, calling Nyep’s food “absolutely delicious and enlightening.”

We'll also hear from Gérard Lopez, who is the charismatic chef/owner of the Cambridge location. He was born in Capestang, a small town in the south of France. He learned Spanish dishes from his father, a native of Madrid, and Algerian food from his mother, a French woman raised in North Africa. According to the website, "He brings to his kitchen the passion of a Spaniard, the sensibilities of a Frenchman and an international palate." (Yum.) According to his colleagues at the restaurant, he's a much-beloved live wire.

We're also honored to have Stephanie Scott and Yashvinee Narechania joing us for the evening from Room to Read headquarters in San Francisco.

If these wonderful speakers aren't enough to get you out the door, perhaps our silent auction items will tempt you. We'll be offering the following and more:

  • Tickets to a Red Sox/Yankees game (date TBD)
  • Dinner gift certificates to Elephant Walk
  • Cooking classes at Elephant Walk
  • Accommodations for a weekend in Provincetown
  • Wine tasking with Stonehenge Winery
  • Tickets to the ICA and Children's Museum
  • Photo sitting for a family portrait
  • Dinner for two at Grill 23
  • Accommodations for a weekend at Naswa Resort, Laonica, NH

Buy your tickets in advance for $25 at this link; $30 at the door.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Marshmallows, Metatomix and MassTLC

It remains a deadlock between my top two moments from last night's MassTLC award ceremony - lobbing a marshmallow at founder Jeff Taylor or watching Metatomix VP of marketing Jon Pilkington accept his CXO of the Year award.

The marshmallow toss was an impromptu part of Taylor's - the night's emcee - opening remarks. An usually rowdy crowd took things one step past the deferred gratification analogy and sent a barrage of the tasty treats up on stage to end the night.

This was really just icing on the cake as we'd already gotten to see our friend and client at Metatomix take home top honors as the year's best CXO. Once the hardware made its way to table 15, our contingent of CHENers and the team from Metatomix enjoyed the rest of night basking in Jon's glory and sharing some laughs. Congrats to Jon and Metatomix for a well-deserved win.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Boston Globe's next chapter

We hear so much these days about conventional newspapers losing marketshare to new and social media that one might expect the journalists at the former are simply sitting back and accepting their inevitable fate. So it is refreshing to encounter a conventional newspaper journalist who is energetic and enthusiastic about the role her profession and employer will continue to play in giving readers news worth reading.

The reporter to whom I refer is Boston Globe Business Editor Shirley Leung. At a Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) event in Boston last night, Leung met with a room filled with Boston area PR professionals representing healthcare, technology, financial services and other Boston-area businesses. If the Boston Globe should wave the white flag, accept its demise, and hand news-reporting responsibility over to new and social media, nobody seems to have informed Leung. She articulately and energetically charmed her listeners as she described the way she believes the imminent changes to the paper and her section will better serve readers.

There’s no question new and social media offers exciting opportunities for readers to get their news in new and different ways. But Leung's obvious professionalism and commitment to journalistic excellence serve as a reminder that traditional media too will have its place in The New News Order. It seems clear that the days of conventional newspapers as choke holders on the news are behind us. But in my opinion papers like the Globe will continue to play an important, if different and less monopolistic, role in providing readers with the news they need. As a Boston area PR professional rooting for the Globe, it gives me confidence to know Leung is at the helm of the business section.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Where will you be Friday night? Come to Social Media for Social Change!

A limited amount of tickets have just been released for the Social Media for Social Change event in Boston tomorrow night (10/10).

All proceeds from the event support Jane Doe Inc., an amazing organization that supports victims of abuse. Personal disclaimer: I am a former intern for Jane Doe Inc. and served on their teen advisory board, so I have seen their mission in action.

Social Media for Social change is founded on the idea that social media has untapped possibilities to be used for greater good. Something powerful that could help nonprofit organizations — organizations that struggle to keep their bottom line alive — get the support and recognition they need to help the families and individuals that depend on their efforts. We want to use the tools that are helping businesses and companies grow to do something more than make a buck… we want them to make a difference.

Join with us in starting a movement that will bring individuals, startups, companies, corporations and the causes we value together to change the lives of those who need it most.

I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Hectic day, takes toll
Coffee and friends, make day whole
Empty cup, soothed soul

Quite some time ago, I did a piece on stunt marketing. For some reason, it generates a lot of Google love for our blog when you search on the term.

Here's a stunt from Green Mountain Coffee that makes me smile.

Green Mountain ran a contest for customers, who submitted haikus, which "had to be about how coffee makes a difference, either in the world or in an individual's day," according to GMC. The 14 winning haikus will be featured on the company's eco-friendly paper cups from now until the end of the year. (The sheer poetry above was a winner.)

According to a company press release, the cups won a 2007 Sustainability Award from the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Most paper cups are lined with petroleum products to make them watertight, but the GMC cups use a bio-plastic made from plants and other renewable resources.

For those of us whose English classes were a few years back, a haiku is a poem of 17 syllables on three lines - five on the first line, seven on the second, five on the third.

More favorites from the winner's circle below. And thanks to Chris Reidy for flagging this story in the Globe, a welcome light spot in the gloomy news.

Stop and go, brake, gas
Raise to lips, careful sips, bliss
Drive on, coffee fueled

The thought of coffee
Releases the daily grind
And helps me unwind


Thursday, October 02, 2008

MTLC Gets SaaSy

Last Wednesday, I attended “Software as a Service: Transitioning from On-Premise to On-Demand,” an MTLC event. CEO Ed Mallen of TimeTrade Systems, a CHEN client, was on the panel. TimeTrade’s newest product, TimeDriver – an on-demand personal appointment scheduling solution – is a purely SaaS model so Ed was an obvious addition to an impressive panel. As CHEN PR has several SaaS clients including Authoria and IBM Information Protection Services, the event was right in our wheelhouse.

Dave Mitchell, IBM’s program director for SaaS, began by sharing some eye opening statistics to an audience filled with CEOs, directors and presidents of companies looking to transition their existing business models into SaaS-based businesses. Mitchell noted that according to IDC, the SaaS business, which can also be called a “cloud enabled service” (there’s that “cloud” term again!), will grow to $17B by 2012. Based on this statistic alone, it’s no wonder there are panels like this one offering suggestions to business owners on not only how to make the transition but what companies can expect during this time.

A lively discussion was held on how to identify if a business should transition to SaaS and the expected benefits of such a transition including faster time-to-market, predictable revenue streams and lower costs. Additionally, the panel shared the cultural, operational, organization and economic changes that a move to SaaS will have on the company and its employees.

Especially in the current economic business cycle, it’s clear why more companies are interested in acquiring new applications through a SaaS model and in offering their own products on-demand.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Two CHEN PR Clients Snag Wall Street Journal Innovation Awards

Kudos to two CHEN PR clients – Phase Forward and Palo Alto Networks – for earning 2008 Technology Innovation Awards from the Wall Street Journal. It's quite an accomplishment, given that the Journal received more than 700 entries, and recognized just 32 organizations across 16 categories.

A CHEN client since 2006, Phase Forward brings technology to the pharmaceutical industry, helping its customers automate global clinical trials (a $50B per year market) and shed inefficient paper-based methods – yes, paper – and as a result deliver better, safer drugs to market. The Wall Street Journal award honors its industry-changing work with GlaxoSmithKline in the Health-Care IT category. Several public companies serve this market, but only Phase Forward has posted 16 consecutive quarters of revenue growth since its 2004 IPO and counts 18 of the top 20 pharmaceutical firms as customers. This award is just the most recent in a long string of accolades including the Boston Business Journal naming safety group President Chan Russell a 2008 Champion in Healthcare.

Next-gen firewall provider and CHEN client since 2007, Palo Alto took the runner-up spot in the hotly contested Network Security category (a shout out to our Waltham, MA-based neighbor Veracode for taking the trophy for its on-demand application testing solution.)

With a rock star team that includes father of the firewall, Founder and CTO Nir Zuk, President and CEO Lane Bess and VP of Marketing Steve Mullaney, Palo Alto is redefining its category – populated by behemoths like Cisco, Juniper and Check Point – by bringing much-needed application visibility and control to one of the biggest-dollar sectors in network security. The nod from the WSJ adds to Palo Alto’s recognition, which includes earning the Grand Prize Winner at Interop in May.

All that and they're pretty funny, too -- check them out on YouTube, but only if your firewall allows.


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