"Hugh MacLeod" Posts

My New Gig (announced via Twitter 1st)

pn_announcementBack in January when I wrote Re-design 2009, I never imagined that my redesign would include an executive position with a leading global public relations firm. In fact, I didn’t even realize that over the last few years I had become a “PR person.”  I just wanted more flexibility in my project choices and changed my business model accordingly. Today, I’m very proud to announce that I have become the EVP and Global Director of Digital Strategy and Social Media for Porter Novelli.

As someone that has been in online marketing for 15 years, I view the changes going on in the marketplace through a holistic lens. I don’t see these shifts as merely “social media phenomena.” I think about digital broadly, understanding all aspects of the evolution we’ve been experiencing for two decades now. Back in the 90’s I participated in the “e-commerce revolution” and worked for companies like Barnes & Noble.com to figure out how online consumer sales would change the world of retail. Guess what – it did! Media, publishing and communications are now experiencing these same cataclysmic shifts. My latest career choice is a symbol of this change and I’m excited to continue to push the envelope of this industry – now as part of the Porter Novelli team.

This was truly a kismet kind of situation (yes that is meant to be geek double entendre). Serving on a panel for @pepsico, I got to meet Marian Salzman and was blown away by her brilliance and spirit. For those who wonder why I’d want to give up working for myself in a very entrepreneurial way, I’ll quote my dear friend  Tara Hunt in her recent post describing her decision to leave San Francisco, “because it is time.”

Yes, large companies bring security and money. Honestly though, talented and experienced independents that know how to execute (and sell) do very well in this business.  I could have easily continued working for myself and had a very lush life.  This choice is about the opportunity and the team.  I’m ready to take on bigger challenges and play in a global pond. I am excited to work with an array of blue-chip clients and be backed by an organization with resources and a commitment to transforming their business through digital marketing. I am also excited to spend more time writing and thinking about trends in this business (when you work for yourself you spend a lot of time on sales and operations and the writing gets put by the wayside).

The Porter Novelli family stole my heart with their passion and smarts. The Executive Team (shout out to Gary, Anthony, Marian, Julie, Michael, Lisa R.) and Brad McCormick (who I will work with hand-in-glove) are total rock stars. Aaron DeLucia and the team in Austin are amazing (and I cannot wait to go visit them soon and have some BBQ and start plotting SXSW 2010). Together, we will cross-pollinate our ideas and experience and innovate in a way that differentiates us from the pack.

Stephanie Agresta Consulting, InternetGeekGirl, Affiliate-Karma and my other burgeoning ventures (TechSet and UltimateRaceDay), will continue in some form and fashion. I’d like to think of myself now as “Powered by Porter Novelli.”

You can find the “official press release” on the site.  As my good friend Jeremiah Owyang pointed out: “It screams so “PR;” I do hope you have a heart felt social way of telling the story too.”

Well I do.  My story is much deeper and more complicated than everything I can put in this post, but it’s a start. I look forward to seeing many of you in the coming months as I head out on the road to meet PN staffers. As I told Jeremiah – I don’t believe in throwing out the baby with the bath water. There is still a place for a collection of words and quotes and background information. How it gets delivered and to who is evolving. But ultimately, there are many ways to tell a story.

I want to give a shout out to the many people who I consult when I think about my life choices.  @chrismccaffrey, my family and non-industry friends make up the foundation of life. Plus my colleagues that I rely on for guidance and support and laughter:  Brian Solis, Tara Hunt, Chris Brogan, Howard Greenstein, Rick Calvert, Cindy L’Esperance, Hugh MacLeod, Steve Rosenbaum and so many more I can’t fit them in here. THANK YOU ALL!!

Hugh MacLeod Leading Artists into new (lucrative) lands

It’s FollowFriday. And if you are not following @gapingvoid by now, you should be. Hugh Macleod is one of my favorite people in the whole world. He’s brilliant, kind and genuinely in love with Texas. I proudly carry my “Jersey girl” hugh card with me wherever I go. You can read lots about Hugh online and view all his great work for Microsoft, Stormhoek, his lithographs and 4×8 foot paintings (he just finished Desert Manhattan).  His newsletter, Crazy Deranged Fool is probably the best way to keep up with this prolific artist-cum-marketer.

When I met Hugh he had just landed in Silicon Valley from Scotland and was beginning the journey that would lead him to Alpine, Texas. I haven’t been there, but when I do go, the first place I will stop is Harry’s (seriously – check out Harry’s webpage, you will crack up).

Hugh’s fantasy application is representative of his passion and empathy – an app focused on enhancing his experience as an artist that can be used by artists everywhere to help them achieve their dreams.  Like the title of his new book implies, “Ignore Everybody, and 39 other keys to Creativity,” Hugh’s message helps others tap into their own brilliance and unleash it on the world. I know it’s true, because, he did that for me!

Here’s to Hugh.  Now go rank and comment on his fantasy app (especially if you are an artist).

Watch a video, hear a story, comment on Magnify, win an AT&T Fuze!

During SXSW (full recap here),  I had the pleasure of interviewing nine of the webs most intriguing, creative, thought leaders.  In the TechSet Blogger Lounge (hosted by me and Brian Solis), sponsored by Windows Mobile, Jen Myronuk (my producer) and I sat down with our dedicated colleagues to talk about their latest projects, industry trends and their take on SXSW. Those video interviews will be up soon.  More importantly for this post, they each also took 2 minutes to tell us what mobile application they would love to see created on a Windows Mobile phone – their “fantasy app.” These videos are live and you can watch them here right now. The best part is – Windows Mobile is going to build one of them (as determined by popularity and feasibility)!

For the next 9 days, I’m going to feature one video per day on my blog (including weekends).  But I’m also going to add a funny story to the post – sharing something special about these individuals (who I am lucky enough to consider my FRIENDS and colleagues). Real Friends, the ones that call you in Real Life!

And, I will give away an AT&T Fuze by HTC to the individual who writes the most thoughtful comments (1comment for each video) on the Magnify site. It’s a brand new phone, (but it’s unwrapped, sorry). So check back daily (or just go put a comment up on Magnify now).  Either way, I recommend that you watch these nine funny, fascinating videos from my friends….

Charlene Li (@charleneli)

Hugh Macleod (@gapingvoid)

David Armano (@armano)

Tara Hunt (@missrogue)

Steve Rosenbaum (@magnify)

Dave McClure (@davemcclure)

Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) – Please note – Chris stepped in for Scoble who was unable to fit it in during the show b/c of BIG exicing news and mobs of people coming after him.

Erin Kotecki Vest (@queenofspain)

Deb Schultz (@debs)

SXSW Recap: Keep Austin Weird & Geeky

The Windows Mobile TechSet banner in the Blogger LoungeBy now, most of my fellow SXSW Interactive attendees have made it home and unpacked. Hopefully you have caught up on your lack of sleep and have warded off the SXSWsars (unfortunately I didn’t – can you hear my sniffles and scratchy voice?). If you’re like me, you’ve been digging through your email and reviewing the huge stack of business cards you collected in Austin. Processing all the information and inspiration takes time, especially for a show which overflows with both.

Unquestionably, SXSWi was a qualitative and quantitative success. There was a reported 25% increase in attendance year over year and the blog posts, tweets, and Facebook updates show nothing but love for this ritual “geek spring break.”

For me, the highlight of the trip was obviously the honor of co-hosting the TechSet Blogger Lounge with my co-founder @BrianSolis (and our event partners at Tokita Bethune, Inc.) The lounge and party were sponsored by Windows Mobile. The Windows Mobile team provided a great service to the community of bloggers, developers, marketers and influencers that set up shop in The Austin Suite. With great bandwidth and great company, the Windows Mobile lounge was THE PLACE to be every day (especially during our tweet ups from 4 – 6 pm – thank you AMD and Zappos). Plus, check out the videos that a bunch of well known geeks made in the lounge – Can you say Fantasy App? We were even lucky enough to have live entertainment one day from Paula Nelson (Austin native and Willie’s daughter). Big thanks to 1938media and John Rosenfelder (@earbender) for putting that together.

On the social front – I enjoyed going to Stubbs for the Diggnation event, The Salt Lick, Gueros, and of course, attending the many parties. “Best in show” include, Alltop, Facebook, Mashable and of course, The TechSet. The best pictures from the entire week come from Laughing Squid, Brian Solis and Wm. Marc Salsberry. Huge shout out to Joie de Vie salon and all the ladies from there that helped make me pretty every day (thanks Amanda, thanks Erin and the other Jerseygirl Steph).

For the last few years the Geeks have taken over the town before the music festival swings into full force. If you stay for part of the transition time, it’s funny to see the difference. My cab driver summed it up best – “the geeks are way more quiet and they are always playing on their phones.” He just doesn’t realize we’re making a ton of noise online and talking to our friends (who are sitting next to us in RL) on Twitter!

If you missed the show or like me, were too busy to attend most of the panels, here’s a short list of some recommended recaps:

BTW – David Carr wrote a nice piece in the NYT today that tells the story of the founding of the entire festival and it’s impact on the town. Plus his insights about the THRIVING Austin Chronicle, which has fueled this multimedia event since its inception, are especially intriguing given a market where many newspapers are failing.

All I can say is….keep Austin Weird and Geeky!

I’ll leave you with a video from my friend Guy Kawasaki that he did from his Kirsty-Alltop Party. Ya gotta love Texas (especially once / year in Austin)!

SXSW – Steph’s Don’t Miss List! (and some tips)

The TechSet Blogger Lounge & Party

Well, it goes without saying that I’m going to start with the events we are planning. We cordially welcome you to join in on the TechSet Blogger Lounge and Party (sponsored by Windows Mobile).

Date: Starting on Friday, March 13th at 1 pm, the Blogger Lounge is located on the 3rd floor in the Austin Suite and the hours are as follows:
Friday, March 13
1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Saturday March 14 – Tuesday, March 17
9:30 am – 6:00 pm

There are going to be amazing things going on here, including daily tweet ups from 4 – 6 pm! Tweetup sponsors include: LiveSearch, AMD and Zappos!

The party at the Belmont Lounge is Friday, March 14th from 8 – 10 pm. What can I say – it will be the party of the week. Be there or be square! And don’t forget to check out the ever so wonderful Gapingvoid, as he cartoons his way through one of the most sophisticated locales in Austin!


Of course you should check out the SXSW website for all details on everything, and make sure you are using the My SXSW.com site too! The list of parties on their site is a must read. Plus, see below for a summary of “reminders” that will make your trip much easier.

Date: Saturday, March 14th

Can you Digg It? – 6.30 pm – 2 am

Revision3 & Digg present  the return of the biggest party at SXSWi – the second annual Bigg Digg Shindigg, Now with 100% More Diggnation! Come for an evening of revelry, music & mayhem at world famous Stubbs BBQ. We’re featuring a live Diggnation, great music from acclaimed band Republic Tigers, DJ Mancub (Space Cowboys) spinning tunes late into the night, and a special live performance of Scam School with host Brian Brushwood. As always, this is a free event to attend, and no SXSW badge is needed…just spread the word and we’ll see you there!

Date: Sunday, March 15th

These Boots are Made for Walking – NOON

Make your way to Allen’s Boots 1522 South Congress Ave….meet Richardatdell and David Armano for “AllHat…No Cattle” shopping for hats (special guest Mack Collier), boots, buckles and then a brunch…a great time of mixing and mingling.

Brian Solis Book Signing – 3.30 – 4 pm

Brian Solis will host a book signing at SXSW for his brand new book w/Deirdre Breakenridge, “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR.” The book will be available for sale on site (or feel free to bring your copy). Located at the South by Bookstore

Date: Monday, March 16th

Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator at SXSW – Downtown Hilton, 10 – 5.30 PM

You know I love me some BizSpark! The newest addition to the SXSW Interactive schedule of activities is Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator at SXSW, which occurs on the sixth floor of the Downtown Austin Hilton. This event showcases some of the web’s most exciting new innovations, enabling the entrepreneurial visionaries behind these new products to demo their creations in front of a live audience of industry professionals and technology trend-settters.

Whrrl Me a Up – 8 – 10 pm

Whrrl is hosting the Official SXSW Film & Interactive party and bringing in some awesome entertainment! Don’t miss the world-premiere of Illeana Douglas with Sparhusen, and the hot new alt-rock band Parachute! Hosted bar and appetizers. RSVP here:

Mashable + Blurb SX Bash at 9.30 pm
Blurb starts things off at 8pm at Tap Room with food, drinks, and rockers Aranda. Mashable kicks it up a notch at 9:30pm in Six Lounge with drinks, DJ Marko, our friends from Powered, Blellow, Pepsi and don’t forget Paypal hosting the Social Media Smackdown for Charity. (will have a link for this once PR has gone out.)  RSVP here!

By the by, you’ve probably received reminder emails from SXSW, but just in case, make sure you note the following:

  • As soon as you get into town, go register FIRST. (bring a valid photo id and copy of your registration form).
  • Check on your hotel and travel reservations.
  • Make sure you are keeping your google calendar up to date with all these events and check it regularly. Things get CRAZY busy, but remember, go with the flow of it all and you will have a blast.
  • Follow all relevant twitter accounts and sign up for mobile alerts by SXSW!
  • Bring lots of casual outfits, but have a one or two dress up outfits for the biggest parties (see above).
  • Ladies, have some comfortable walking shoes to use in between parties. There’s a lot of downtown walking.
  • Don’t leave town without eating SaltLick BBQ and drinking lots of local beers! OH and going to Guero’s is a must!

By the way – there are too many amazing panels to mention here, but make sure you schedule a few of those as well, including David Armano, Deborah Schultz, Aubrey Sabala, and so many more.

See you in Austin next week!


As I said on Twitter, I’m adding stuff that people send me: