Posts Tagged by MA

HarrisCom’s Harris and Pirozollo to speak on book publishing for business Oct. 30, 2014

amhimage-FBAnharris | Harris Communications Group
Harris Communication Group  Managing Director Anita M. Harris and team member Dick Pirozzolo will speak  on book publishing for business at the Weston Public Library at 12N on Thursday, October  30, 2015.
As  published authors and PR professionals,  the pair will discuss how books enhance professional prestige, underscore expertise, establish authority, create numerous spin-off media opportunities and generate passive income.
Topics will include:
– How to get a publisher to buy your book
– Self-publishing in the internet age
– The value of e-books
– What every winning book proposal MUST include today
– Crowdfunding, pricing your book, and other money matters
– How to market your book
Dick Pirozzolo is the author of three books on homebuilding and two corporate biographies. Anita Harris is the author of Broken Patterns,  and Ithaca Diaries, two nonfiction works that have established her as a forward-looking social and business culture authority.This event is free to members of  the  Boston’s Independent Practitioners Network (IPN) of the Public Relations Society of America– and $10 for guests.
Please bring your own lunch. Register.

–Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is the managing director of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning PR and marketing firm based in Cambridge, MA.


HarrisCom Co-Sponsors April 8 Home Energy Monitoring & Privacy Event

Screenshot 2014-03-22 09.10.07Anharris | Harris Communications Group
We’re pleased to co-sponsor  the 360 Chestnut  and BTW [Behind the Walls Magazine ] event

What:  Panel presentation: impact of home energy monitoring devices on privacy
When:  April 8th, 2014
Where: Cambridge Innovation Center, 1 Broadway,Cambridge, MA Havana 5th Floor
With:  Deborah Hurley, Jim Bride, Joseph Kolchisnky, Jason Hanna, and Daniel Hullah. Moderated by Alexandra Hall & Harold Simansky

Google’s recent acquisition of “smart thermostat maker NEST” was met with excitement in the home energy world—Google is finally recognizing the importance of energy efficiency. But now that the excitement has died down, people are realizing that Google will be in their homes more intimately than ever before. What does this mean for Americans’ already compromised privacy?

On April 8th at the Cambridge Innovation Center in Kendall Square, 360Chestnut, Inc., and BTW: Behind the Walls magazine will host a panel discussion titled, “Does Your House Know Too Much About You?” Featuring experts on the home energy industry and “green” home improvement, the panel will address the looming issue of “smart” home monitoring devices: with sales expected to increase by 300% by 2020, are we giving up too much of privacy when embracing them?

The panel will include Deborah Hurley, a fellow at Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science; Jim Bride, Founder and CEO of Energy Tariff Experts, LLC; Joseph Kolchinsky, Founder and Managing Director of OneVision Resources; Jason Hanna, Founder and CEO of Embue and Daniel Hullah, Partner and COO of Rockport Capital.  The moderators will be Harold Simansky, Founder and CEO of 360Chestnut Inc, and publisher of BTW: Behind The Walls and Alexandra Hall, Executive Producer of 360 Chestnut Inc, and Editor-in-Chief of BTW: Behind the Walls and COUPBoston will be the moderator.

The Panel:

Deborah Hurley is is a Fellow of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS) at Harvard University and directed the Harvard University Information Infrastructure Project. At the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in Paris, France, she was responsible for drafting, negotiation and adoption of the OECD Guidelines for the Security of Information Systems. Prior to joining the OECD, she practiced computer and intellectual property law in the United States. Hurley is Chair, Board of Directors, Electronic Privacy Information Center. She carried out a Fulbright study in Korea and is the author of Pole Star: Human Rights in the Information Society, and other publications. Hurley received the Namur Award of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) in recognition of outstanding contributions, with international impact, to awareness of social implications of information technology.

Joseph (Joey) Kolchinsky is the founder and Managing Director of OneVision Resources, a company that merges his curiosity with technology and passion for simplicity. The firm is redefining excellent service for the modern family, providing comprehensive and stress-free support to members across a growing range of needs including personal technology, smart home design, and health management. Joey lives in Boston with his wife Jennifer and daughter Penelope.

Jim Bride has over a decade of experience in the energy and environmental industries. He launched Energy Tariff Experts, LLC to address an unmet need in the marketplace for accurate utility rate and energy cost information to enable more informed energy investment decisions. Prior to Energy Tariff Experts, Jim spent over four years at EnerNOC, a pioneering Smart Grid firm.

Jason Hanna is the CEO & Founder of Embue; a Boston-based company developing connected heating & cooling controls for residential and small commercial application. Jason is also the Founder & Board Chairman of Greentown Labs, a Boston-area incubator for clean energy and hardware companies, now home to over 40 emerging start-ups. Jason previously worked in high technology and was responsible for building an organization that automated over $1B of transactions for EMC Corporation.

Daniel Hullah is a Partner and COO of RockPort Capital a multi-stage venture capital firm that invests in the areas of alternative and traditional energy, mobility, and sustainability.  Daniel is an active member of the screening and diligence team and has worked on multiple transactions in several key cleantech sectors most notably solar energy and green buildings.  One such company is EcoFacto, a leader in home energy management, providing user-friendly active management of residential and small commercial thermostats using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model.

Harold Simansky (moderator)  is the founder of 360Chestnut.  Before 360Chestnut he was involved in the creation of Green Guild of MA, LLC, a full-service energy audit and home weatherization company that has helped over 1,000 Massachusetts home owners make their homes more energy efficient.  Earlier, Harold was the developer of one of the first green, LEED-certified residential buildings in the Boston-area.  Harold also has experience in the world of finance and as a consultant with Bain & Company. He is a graduate of the MIT Sloan School of Management and Brandeis University.

Alexandra Hall (moderator) has more than ten years’ experience as a critic, lifestyle writer and editor of lifestyle topics in Boston and beyond. Alex has covered fashion, travel, entertainment, food, beauty, books, and the arts. She is currently editor-in-chief if COUP Boston, the city’s only luxury digital lifestyle magazine, and a freelance writer for publications including: Condé Nast Traveler, Bon Appétit, Town & Country, and Elle Decor.

360Chestnut is a multi-platform media company that helps consumers make their homes more sustainable, healthy and energy efficient.  This free-to-the-consumer service provides engaging experiences, expert information and personalized access to the 5000+ rebates that pay homeowners to be more energy efficient, as well as a connection to those who can do the work.  360Chestnut also published BTW: Behind the Walls magazine in partnership with the Wall Street Journal.

BTW: Behind the Walls is a quarterly magazine focused on healthy, sustainable and beautiful homes.  It is created in partnership with the Wall Street Journal and is distributed to more than 50,000 Wall Street Journal subscribers in MA, NH and VT.

COUPBoston is a multi-platform online magazine dedicated to all things innovative and forward thinking in Boston’s lifestyle community.


–Anita M. Harris, Managing Director,  Harris Communications Group, an award-winning PR and marketing firm based in Cambridge, MA that  advised 360 Chestnut on outreach for this event. Anita  is also the author of Broken Patterns, Professional Women and the Quest for a New Feminine Identity and the  publisher of New Cambridge Observer.

Dick Pirozzolo on “Next Level PR”

Dick Pirozzolo

Richard Branson, Jack Welch and Mark Zuckerberg are among the savvy CEOs who get better and more powerful press coverage.

It’s because they use Next Level PR principles that rely on these factors to generate news: controversy, humor story, consistency and simplicity  – the same principles you can use to promote and grow your company.

For details log onto my latest artricle on Next Level PR strategies in First America Startup or read excerpts below.

If Your Company Wants to Make Big News Use ‘Next Level PR’

Controversy – A colleague just told me that medical PR was tough now because of all the controversy over The Affordable Care Act.

What! Now is the time to jump in with two feet and take full advantage of the controversy over the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare to generate news for those who want to become leaders.

More than anything, journalists love controversy. We recently got a cover story in The PCB Magazine on how manufacturers of printed circuit boards for medical devices and an automated medication monitoring system will benefit from the Affordable Care Act with supporting comments by the nation’s leading medical ethicist Dr. Zeke Emanuel.

Funny –

There are times when funny will get you a lot more positive exposure than deadpan. Think New Jersey Governor Chris Christie eating a donut in front of David Letterman or Michelle Obama getting her groove with Jimmy Fallon.
Washington Post humorist and syndicated columnist Gene Weingarten once interviewed our client Hilla Ovil-Brenner, founder of WhiteSmoke, a turbo-charged spellchecker.

Weingarten quipped that Ovil-Brenner probably didn’t like it when people learned to spell because it would hurt her business.
She quipped back, “If I sold plus-size fashions, that would not mean I want women to be fat, it means I want them to feel good, look good and be successful in their lives. Just like WhiteSmoke helps people….”

The interview was hilarious and got picked up by newspapers nationwide. Product sales soared.

Story – 

Too often organizations forget that their CEO is a real-life character whose heart, skills, challenges, obstacles and conflicts make for far more interesting reading than canned quotes about how, “Delighted we are to announce Jean as the new VP engineering at Techno Pants Corp.”

Stop sanitizing CEOs. Let them be human, let them talk about how they resolve conflicts with the board of directors, investors or the government and their personal and business relationships. Make them come alive. We love knowing about Ben and Jerry, Jobs and Wosniak, Bill and Melinda and Richard Branson because we see them as real people.

Quick, who knows the CEO of Dell or American Airlines?

Consistency – 

While representing institutional investment managers, a journalist once mused, “How come 75% of all money managers are in the top quartile when it comes to their performance news releases?” That’s because the poor performers hide in the weeds when their numbers are down and emerge only when their numbers are up.

Want to win the respect of journalists, build credibility and generate positive press over the long haul? Be accessible when the news is bad. Get it out, get it over with and move on. When it’s time to deliver good news, you will be far more credible and will have a bond of trust with the editors and reporters that results in positive press.

Simplicity – 

Keep it simple. How many times do we use jargon like OEM, Forex or Q4 without thinking that the journalist who makes the first cut on our news release might be new to manufacturing or finance to say nothing of the reader. Journalism critics note that The Wall Street Journal, whose readers are supposed to be mostly business types, explains every term that is likely to be unfamiliar to the layperson.

Kim Wallace of the market research firm Wallace & Washburn in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and author of “Why People Don’t Buy Things,” puts it this way. “Liken new concepts to what we already know. Let’s say you want to reach customers who had never seen snow tires before and wanted to explain their benefit. If you say, ‘They are like snowshoes for your car,’ everyone will get it instantly.

Consider these news-making tactics when it comes to creating the kind of awareness that establishes your company as an influential leader and building greater awareness and brand equity.

That’s Next Level PR!

Dick Pirozzolo is Managing Director of Pirozzolo Company Public Relations in Boston, founded in 1980, and a Media Bistro Teacher. His firm figured prominently in promoting startup companies that have become publicly held or been acquired by major public corporations. He lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts and Nantucket.

The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning PR and market development firm specializing in PR, marketing, content and thought leadership for clients in healthcare,  science,  biotech, technoilogy and energy. Located in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA, we’re on the pulse of some of the most exciting ideas, products and technologies, anywhere.

Social Media, Scientists and…Sales?

Was privileged to attend Hubspot’s recent Inbound Conference in Boston…One  highlight was a presentation by Sonya Pelia,       Director of Social Media at ThermoFisher Scientific,  on  “Selling to Scientists, the Most Skeptical Audience in the World.”

I’m not a scientist–but, before the talk,  I  was skeptical–finding it hard to imagine  the scientists I’ve worked with tweeting and friending one another about new products.  But, after learning that two years into its social media program,  Thermo Fisher, which offers a variety of scientific instruments and tests,  now gets 30 percent of its qualified sales leads  from social media links  to its Website and that Pelia herself  now has more than 90 thousand twitter followers @chromsolutions,  I’m reconsidering.

How does she Pelia do  it?  She posts five 400-word  blog posts a week at  . Each post includes 2-3 links to the ThermoFisher Web site and is summarized, with links,  on twitter, Facebook,  You-tube , Pinterest, Linked-in and various bookmarking sites.  Some of the posts are original; many repurpose news garnered from other sites.  Within two years, the blog had 3200 subscribers.  The majority of useful leads come from Linked-in,  Pelia said.

But other sites are, evidently, tremendously appealing to scientists and others interested in scientific fields. According to Pelia,  a Facebook page  called  “The earth story”  has half a million “likes.”  Another,   with the delightful title   ” I f-ing love science” has 8 million.

I still believe that social media efforts  strategies should depend on whom you want to reach and why–  but these numbers are impressive.  Clearly,  for anyone seeking to reach scientists, social media is not to be ignored.

Anita Harris, Managing Director, Harris Communications Group
HarrisCom is a PR and market development agency providing media relations, content, and social media services to companies and organizations in health, science, technology and energy, worldwide. 


New zoning law to transform Kendall Square

Kendall Square will become a livelier  business and residential area as a result of a new zoning law passed last week by the Cambridge City Council.

According to Tim Rowe, president of the Kendall Square Association and a founder of the Cambridge Innovation Center, the zoning change will:allow a new gateway to MIT facing the Kendall Square MBTA station, construction of 1.1M additional square feet of new commercial space around the T stop,  hundreds of new housing units, plus additional restaurant and retail space on the ground floors of  all new buildings.

The new law requires that at least half the restaurant and retail space be operated by non-chain retailers, and that 5% of all new office space be set aside as “innovation space,” defined as small (avg. 200 sq. ft.) spaces rented on a month-to-month basis, with substantial shared-space components such as kitchens and coworking areas. The requirement for “innovation space”, along with incentives to building owners who increase their startup space to 20%,  address the concern that with the success of Kendall Square–which has seen considerable development in the last few years–global corporations ” might otherwise squeeze the startups out,” according to Rowe.

The law also requires MIT to create a new bike path (subject to a feasibiliy study) crossing Kendall Square that could eventually provide connections all the wya to the MInuteman bike path, which runs from North Cambridge to Bedford.

In a blog posted to the CIC community, Rowe said, “It is hard to overstate the importance of this change to the future of Kendall.”

–Anita M. Harris

Anita M. Harris is president of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning public relations and digital marketing firm headquartered in the Cambridge Innovation Center, in Kendall Square. 


Collaboration a key trend at 2012 BIO International Convention, Boston

Had a great time at the BIO International Convention in Boston, last week. Met teams from Norway, Australia, France, India, Israel…not to mention New York, North Carolina, Maryland, Oklahoma, etc.

Attendance, at 15,000, was down from its  25,000 high here five years ago but I found participants friendly and accessible.  HarrisCom advisor Christa Bleyleban said she counted more than 70 parties or networking gatherings (not a few of which I attended).

While the overall theme was” innovation,” it was a trend toward collaboration that I noticed most.


At a meeting sponsored by Polaris Ventures, industry execs and VCs discussed the shift of VC funds from biotech to the tech sector–which is occurring in part because tech investments can lead to quicker returns. One observer commented that pharma companies themselves are the new VCs–investing in early stage research rather than doing the research themselves.

In that regard, I  partnered with the Communications Strategy Group on a press conference and outreach in which the Swiss company AC Immune  announced a $400M licensing agreement with Genentech for development of an antibody to combat Alzheimer’s disease.

Also of interest was a keynote talk, sponsored by Scientific American, in which CNN’s Fareed Zakariah asked whether the US will continue to maintain its lead in technologic innovation.

For  more details,  please visit  my postings at New Cambridge Observer.

–Anita M. Harris

Anita Harris is President of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning  PR, marketing and communications firm headquartered in Cambridge, MA.

Clarifying CIC Venture Cafe’s New Policy

Just spoke with Venture Cafe manager Chris Myles, who said he’ll  be providing more information about Venture Cafe’s new incarnation shortly–including the list of affiliated organizations whose members may attend without applying.   Those do include the Cambridge Innovation Center and various entrepreneurial groups…

Chris said the The Cafe’s new incarnation is not meant to be elite or exclusionary–but rather to encourage participation from the innovation community. More to follow.


–Anita Harris


Anita Harris is the founder and president of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA. HarrisCom is a strategic communications firm specializing in public relations, thought leadership, marketing communications and social media for emerging companies and research institutes in health, science, technology and energy, worldwide.   She also blogs at New Cambridge Observer.  

Is SEO Dead? Content strategy to drive traffic to your Web site

Hubspot’s  SEO Scientist Dan Zarrella  definitely caught my attention  when he asked in a recent Webinar if search is dead. He concluded that it is not–but that there’s no point in hiring SEO (search engine optimization) experts to game search engine algorithms to up your rankings on the Web.  His words, “What you really need are content production people “, were music to my content-strategist ears.

In “The Science of SEO” (Dec. 8, 2011), Zarrella outlined new research suggesting that while high search engine rankings can make your site seem more trustworthy, people under 30 are aware that many of the highest ranking sites are paid–and most people surveyed did not trust pay for click sites or admit to clicking on them.

This means that the key to optimal search engine placement is  “organic” search–in which “spiders” electronically find and rank sites based on the usefulness of their content, he said. That usefulness is determined mainly by the numbers of links connecting a site from other sites. |

How can you get more links? Zarrella advises:

-Post “piles and piles” of content: a blog or more  a day

-Keep titles to 40-80 characters–tweet length–so that your content can be readily picked up  by social media users

-Write on newsworthy, timely topics

-Post early in the week and early in the day–which is when bloggers are looking for news to cover/link to.

-Don’t use buzzwords or jargon

-Bear in mind photos and video on sites encourage links–and that, according to Zarrella’s research, videos are linked-to far more often than are photos.

Zarrella said he can’t explain why that should be but “it shows there are many different kinds of search engines and they are all looking for content.”

The Webinar is available for free at

Anita M. Harris

Anita Harris, a content strategist, is president of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning public relations firm in Cambridge, MA. She also blogs at New Cambridge Observer.

Vishwa Robotics’ military surveillance ‘bird’ drones to diminish civilian deaths

Recently, at the Cambridge Innovation Center, I happened to meet  Bhargav  Gajjar,  who founded Vishwa Robotics two years ago, while still a grad student at MIT.    I  was blown away by the product for which he’s received NASA funding:  a battery-powered robot, the size and shape of a bird, which, if successful, will serve as a surveillance drone that can be perched, undetected, on a windowsill or statue to provide information about activities in its purview.

Today, Gajjar  explains,  most drones are the size of automobiles, which means they can easily be seen and shot down. He   and his team are currently developing designs for the birds–which will be made to look like species native to particular areas of the world.  Operators wearing special goggles will be able to see what the “birds” see and to guide the birds’ movement–having them walk, fly and perch–from miles away.  Vishwa’s robotic birds hold larger batteries  than recently publicized robotic hummingbirds and, thus, can be used for longer periods of time than the tinier drones.

The immediate goal is to  help the military prevent unintended civilian deaths in war zones. And,  Gajjar says, the devices should also be useful in industrial or other situations to assess environmental, human or other hazards.

I do wonder how much the devices will cost–and whether they could make it too easy for the wrong people to snoop.  Gajjar says the bird/drones will be owned by the military and regulated by the FAA, which will prohibit their use in civilian areas (except with specific permission in times of disaster) in the US.  He’s not speculating about how they will be used in foreign nations.

Vishwa Robotics offers consulting and design services in a range of fields, including mechanical design, simulation, advanced control systems and prototyping of complex electromechanical and robotic systems.

According to company materials: “In a world where radical technological advances are taken for granted, Vishwa’s goal is to revolutionize industrial and consumer robotics through applications of new concepts and cutting-edge technologies and to create a better future for mankind.

“Leveraging their experience from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s famed Media Lab, MIT Leg Lab, MIT Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lab and other advanced research organizations like NASA and US Air Force Research Lab, Vishwa works with a diverse array of experts from various fields.
Vishwa can  reached at info “a-t” .  A Website is under construction at


—–Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is the president of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA,  which specializes in strategic outreach for companies and organizations in health, science and technology, worldwide.  HarrisCom also publishes New Cambridge Observer,  offering commentary on art, science, technology and community. 


Is the News Embargo Dead? Xconomy says “yes.” I say, “not so fast.”

Xconomy  senior correspondent and  San Francisco editor Wade Roush says  he’s done with news embargoes.

In a column entitled, “The News Embargo Is Dead. Tech Crunch Killed It. Let’s Move On,”  he writes that he’ll no longer agree to being “pre-briefed” by tech companies or  PR firms with the understanding that he’ll wait to publish until the stories are  made public— because he’s been burned one too many times.

What happened?  TechCrunch went to press early with an embargoed story that he was also covering–making him look like an “also ran.”

In an email,  Roush explained:
TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington…[claims]  that TechCrunch has never broken an embargo. His implication was that in the cases where TechCrunch seemed to be publishing stories before the agreed embargo time, they’d been authorized to do so by companies or their PR firms who gave them an earlier embargo. Of course, an embargo where one party gets special treatment is no embargo at all, and if Arrington is to be believed, then the PR community (and not just Arrington himself, who long ago proclaimed “Death to the Embargo”) shares in the blame for the breakdown of the embargo as a reliable way to manage news. It’s a rotten system that I’m happy to walk away from.

Speaking as a former journalist who now works in PR,  I am of two minds (or more).
Certainly,  as a journalist, I didn’t liked being “scooped”  when I honored an embargo. And no reporter wants to feel that s/he is being used  to manage a company’s image. But, in covering health and science for national public television,  I much appreciated  having time to fully  understand a development before I wrote about it.
From the PR side– I use embargoes because they  allow me  to research individual story angles  rather than blast out the same pitch, to all reporters, all at the same time.   True, those  blasts can occasionally  lead to a rush of interview requests—but sometimes you get so many that busy scientists or execs can’t respond to them all–leaving some journalists empty-handed.  And, with today’s 24-hour news cycles, too many important stories are hastily written and errors  are made.
I might mention that  it’s not only journalists who get burned:   I once sent an embargoed announcement to a reporter who  did an end run–going to someone for information who was not in the know.  The reporter beat out the pack but got the story wrong,  pissed off his competitors,  my client, and me.  He no longer gets advance notice of my clients’ upcoming news.
I do think it’s great that Roush is NOT saying that he’ll knowingly break embargoes. Like  Wall Street Journal reporters,  he simply asks that sources not send him embargoed stories; he’ll wait to the info goes public,  then decide what to do.
Will he  still accept “exclusives”–in which a source promises that only he, Roush, will have the story, so that he can break it first?
Yes, I still love exclusives, as long as they turn out to be truly exclusive.  If I learned later that a PR firm had given the same story to someone else, then that would destroy my trust in that firm and I’d stop working with them.
I do think it’s about trust in the end. 

From all sides of my mind—I definitely agree.  Trust is key.
–Anita M. Harris
Anita M. Harris is president of the Harris Communications Group, a  public relations and marketing communications firm located in Cambridge, MA.