Posts Tagged by Thought Leadership
|January 25, 2012||Posted by Anharris under Events|
Last week at the British Consulate, Morgan Stanley Chief Market Strategist David Kelly predicted slow (3%) growth for the US economy in 2012–providing there are no major disruptions like last year’s Arab Spring, the European Debt Crisis, the Tsunami in Japan or what he termed a “home grown” crisis like the one created when Congress allowed this country to hover on the brink of default rather than raise the debt ceiling.
While the deficit is cause for concern, he said, a default would have thrown the nation into a true “great depression.” In diminishing its debt, the US should proceed slowly. Both tax and entitlement reforms are needed, he said, and moving bit by bit can lead to a balanced budget within 7 years (?) whereas trying to change everything all at once could lead to disaster.
Despite the crises of 2011, he pointed out, the Standard and Poor’s Index ended up just .003 percent lower than it had been at the year’s start.The coming year will be one of uncertainty, but “the US economy can grow through that, ” he said.
According to Kelly, factors in several areas will likely lead to growth:
-The current very low level of housing starts, low inventories and rising rents will lead to greater demand for homes, especially as consumer finances continue to improve.
-With mortgage rates at 3.8 percent, consumers are refinancing their homes, which means that consumers now have 14% disposable income, compared with 11% in 2007.
-This is the most affordable housing market “ever. ” Mortgage payments now account for just 10 percent of average household income–which means that people have more money to spend elsewhere.
-The age of the average vehicle in the US has risen from 9.8 several years ago to ten years; as cars break down, sales will go up.
-Companies have held back on capital spending; as confidence rises, spending will increase.%.
The key to it all, he emphasized, is confidence that the economy will improve. Still, he said, he wished that Ben Bernacke and the Federal Reserve Bank would take the year off “to work on their golf game” instead of telling people that interest rates will remain low for the next few years–which encourages people to put off spending. What is more, he said, keeping interest rates low will discourage banks from lending–because they do not want to be locked in to low rates for thirty years, when they know that rates are likely to rise a few years from now.
A link to Morgan Stanley’s Guide to the Markets for Q1 2012 is available at
—Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is president of the Harris Communications Group, a strategic PR firm specializing in integrated marketing communications, thought leadership, media relations and social media for companies in health, science, technology and energy, worldwide.
|January 6, 2012||Posted by Anharris under Cool Companies, HarrisCom News, Health, Innovation, Life Science|
Life Science Startup to Target Multiple Disease Mechanisms
I’m pleased to report that Harris Communications Group Advisory Board Member Robert Langer of MIT is involved in yet another life science startup.
It’s a biotech company called “Blend Therapeutics” that will develop a new class of medicines possessing “unprecedented ability to precisely control each agent’s therapeutic action in concert… ” The goal is to “predictably, effectively, and safely target the multiple mechanisms underlying complex diseases, ” according to a press release.
Blend was founded by three leaders in the fields of chemistry and nanomedicine: Langer, who is David H. Koch Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Stephen J. Lippard, PhD, Arthur Amos Noyes Professor of Chemistry at MIT; and Omid Farokhzad, MD, Director of the Laboratory of Nanomedicine and Biomaterials and Associate Professor of Anesthesia, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Blend has received financial backing from Flagship Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and NanoDimension.
Langer said: ” We see unparalleled opportunity to translate innovative science into important drugs for patients in need, and we’re excited by the strength of our founding investors and management who share our vision of building a successful biotechnology company that is foremost about improving the lives of patients.”
In addition to Langer, Lippard and Farokhhzad, Blend’s Scientific Advisory Board includes eight thought leaders in the fields of chemistry, cancer biology, immunology and medicine:
• Dennis Ausiello, MD, Chief of Medicine and Jackson Professor of Clinical Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
• Philip Kantoff, MD, Chief Clinical Research Officer and Professor of Medicine, Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School
• Alexander Klibanov, PhD, Novartis Professor of Chemistry and Bioengineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
• Ulrich von Andrian, MD, PhD, Mallinckrodt Professor of Immunopathology, Harvard Medical School
• Bruce R. Zetter, PhD, Charles Nowiszerski Professor of Cancer Biology, Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School.
MaestroTM is a trademark of Blend Therapeutics, Inc. More information is available at http://www.blendtx.com.
—Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is the president of Harris Communications Group, a Cambridge, MA public relations firm specializing in strategic marketing communications, thought leadership and social media for companies involved in health, science, technology and energy, worldwide. She also blogs at newcambridgeobsersver.com.
|December 15, 2011||Posted by Anharris under Film, Journalism, New Media|
With just four days to go, Boston independent filmmaker Bill Lichtenstein needs to raise another $34,000 in order to receive any of the $70,000 he’s raised so far for his newest film project. He’s using a Web portal called Kickstarter to encourage individual donors to hep fund a nonprofit documentary about the innovative Boston radio station where, in the 1960s, at age 14, Lichetenstein was the nation’s youngest DJ.
And he’s sweating.
“Tell people that if we don’t get the entire $104K, we don’t get anything,” he says.
Lichtenstein chose $104K as the goal because (a) he needs the money and (b) the station was at 104. 1 on the Boston FM radio dial.
The film, entitled ” “The American Revolution: How a Radio Station, Politics and Rock and Roll Changed Everything” documents Boston radio station WBCN from 1968 through 1974.
As reported in the Boston Herald (Dec. 5, 2011), during those years, Bruce Springsteen did his first radio interview ever on WBCN; Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, of the Grateful Dead, and the Allman Brothers’ Duane Allman stopped into the studio at 2 AM and jammed for an area. When Nixon invaded Cambodia, “BCN got local college kids to strike.
WBCN “had tremendous national impact both musically and politically,” Lichtenstein told the Herald.
Lichenstein, who has produced TV and documentaries for ABC News and PBS, has gathered more than 50,000 photos, documents and tapes, including early performances by Led Zeppelin a, Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground.
“We changed the world one time,” Lichtenstein says. ” And we can do it again.”
But not if he doesn’t reach his goal on Kickstarter–a nonprofit that allows contributors to get tax deductions–but gives fundraisers just a month to get the entire bundle.
Lichtenstein and Kickstarter were featured on Boston’s WCVB-TV “Chronicle” on Dec. 13, 2011.
More info, the WCVB piece and the film trailer are available at www.KickstartWBCN.com
Anita M. Harris is president of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning public relations firm located in tyhe Cambridge Innovation Center in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA. Anita is a former national journalist who got HER start in the alternative press–as a founder of the Harrisburg Independent Press and writer for the The Real Paper and Phoenix in Boston, MA.
|December 15, 2011||Posted by Anharris under Energy|
Despite environmental, cost and market concerns, fracking–the hydraulic extraction of natural gas from shale–is here to stay. That was the consensus of experts who spoke at the British Consulate in Boston on Dec 15 2011.
Sponsored by the British American Business Council and National Grid, the panel included moderator Daniel Goldman, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Great Point Energy; David Hobbes, chief energy strategist for the information/strategy firm IHS CERA; Dr. Elizabeth Kane, first secretary and head of the energy team at the British Embassy in Washington, DC, and Dr. Francis O’Sullivan, research engineer and executivedDirector of the Energy Sustainability Challenge Program, MIT Energy Initiative.
Hobbes described the complexity of shifting international energy markets–pointing out the need to include the costs of extraction and transportation of what otherwise appears to be a low-cost source of energy. He challenged as “shoddy” a recent Cornell University report that extracting natural gas from shale could do more to aggravate global warming than mining coal, and said that it is unfortunate that the study is being used as a basis for US shale extraction policy. He predicted, jokingly, that the UK will come up with “an even stupider policy,” because, as a friend to the US, his homeland “tries to make the US look good,” by comparison.
According to Kane, incentives to invest in shale gas extraction are limited in the UK because the Crown holds mineral rights, because most shale fields are located in densely populated areas (such as under London), and because England does not have the road structure needed to support the fracking industry. Fracking in England was temporarily halted after it was determined that the practice had caused two small earthquakes–but resumed after experts found it was unlikely to cause major quakes, she said. Environmental concerns remain, however; members of a group calling itself “frack off” have chained themselves to fracking equipment to keep it from being operated.
O’Sullivan explained that despite significant shale reserves, few fracking operations are currently profitable because extraction costs are relatively high–but that this will change as technology improves. Regarding environmental concerns, he said it’s unlikely that chemicals used in fracking will leak from pipes into drinking water. In part, that’s because leaky pipes diminish wells’ performance , which provides the industry with incentives to make sure that fracking equipment and wells are tightly sealed. A greater concern is highly polluted “return” water. In Texas, he said, this water is injected into deep sealed aquifer but in Pennsylvania and Western New York State, which have different geologic underpinnings, companies must use other methods to prevent pollution.
O’Sullivan also pointed out that there’s shale to be mined in China, Australia and Argentina–and that the abundance of shale and the possibilities it presents as a source of relatively inexpensive fuel (compared with oil) will impact the global energy market in coming years.
Regarding future markets for natural gas, Hobbes said it’s not likely to be widely used for hybrid electric cars, which are expensive to produce and therefore not popular with consumers. He predicted that the market for shale gas will increase “in little bits and pieces over the next 20-30 years.” Over that period, energy consumption will go down, the US and Canada will add as much oil production as Iran possesses, and Chinese energy demands will optimize the market for natural gas producers in the US, he said.
O’Sullivan predicted growth markets for shale gas in commercial, residential, power, industrial and feed stock uses in the US and elsewhere, and– in light of the recent nuclear reactor failures–in Japan.
–Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is president of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning public relations firm located in Cambridge, MA. HarrisCom specializes in integrated strategic communications, thought leadership and content strategy for companies and organizations in health, science, technology and energy, worldwide. She also blogs at New Cambridge Observer.
|December 8, 2011||Posted by Anharris under Communications, Content Strategy, New Media, SEO, Web design|
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 http://www.hubspot.com/the-science-of-seo/.
|May 21, 2011||Posted by Anharris under Communications, Journalism|
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.”