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Welcome to the Harriscom Blog

Anita Harris photoHi, and welcome to HarrisCom blog–a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA.
We’re an award-winning strategic communications firm specializing in integrated public relations, marketing communications and thought leadership for companies and organizations  in health, science, technology and energy fields.
The Harris Communications Group blog covers traditional and digital communications issues;  events;  cool companies, and  news of our clients.
We hope you’ll join the conversation through guest blogs or comments–and that you’ll subscribe and share our material with anyone you think would like to have it.
Anita Harris, President
Harris Communications Group
Cambridge, MA

HarrisCom’s Harris & Pirozzolo speak on book publishing for business

amhimage-FBAnharris | Harris Communications Group
Harris Communication Group  Managing Director Anita M. Harris and colleague Dick Pirozzolo told independent PR  practitioners how  book publishing for business can enhance your reputation and your clients’ –yesterday at the Weston Public Library.
As  published authors and PR professionals,  the pair discussed how books enhance professional prestige and thought leadership, underscore expertise, establish authority, create numerous spin-off media opportunities and generate passive income.
Topics included:
– 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
– 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.

–Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is the managing director of the Harris Communications Group,  an award-winning public relations firm specializing in integrated strategic communication, content marketing and thought leadership for clients in healthcare, life sciences, technology, energy and education,  worldwide.  Contact us!

Energy Sage joins with local Chambers of Commerce on solar energy for members

Our Cambridge Innovation Center colleagues at  EnergySage, Inc., have launched a partnership with Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, a national network of local chambers of commerce,   to help local Chambers and their member businesses install solar energy systems.

top-10-citiesAnharris | Harris Communications Group

According to the July 30, 2014 release:

Under the partnership, businesses that are members of a local chamber can use an innovative and user-friendly online solar marketplace at no cost. Users receive quick and easy options for putting solar on their commercial or residential buildings.

The Metro South Chamber of Commerce in Massachusetts is the first local chamber to take advantage of the new partnership. “Lowering costs, saving time, and creating local jobs is a winning combination that strengthens business and increases profits,” said Christopher Cooney, president and CEO of the Metro South Chamber. “The EnergySage process makes it easy for our chamber members to receive multiple quotes, learn about tax credits, and gauge potential long-term gains.”

 “The EnergySage process makes it easy for our chamber members to receive multiple quotes, learn about tax credits, and gauge potential long-term gains.”

Through the partnership, chamber members will have access to robust solar options, an instant estimate of the costs, savings, and financial options and the ability to include local companies in the price comparisons. Chamber businesses that create a free account on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace will receive quotes from multiple pre-screened and high-quality solar installers, easing the process of shopping for the right solar system. EnergySage will make a donation – ranging from $250 for residential systems to up to $5,000 for large commercial systems – to the local chamber of commerce whose members go solar through the EnergySage Marketplace.

“EnergySage is excited about this national partnership with Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy,” said John Gingrich, Head of Corporate Development for EnergySage. “We understand that solar can be complex for business owners and this partnership offers a great opportunity to help these decision-makers choose solar with ease.”

Diane Doucette, Executive Director of Chambers for Innovation & Clean Energy, called the partnership a “win-win” for local chambers and their member companies. “Chambers are always on the lookout for valuable no-cost services for member companies,” Doucette said. “Our EnergySage partnership offers the added benefit of providing chambers with additional revenue for helping their member companies go solar.”


Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy (CICE) is a national network of local chambers of commerce that recognize the economic development opportunity of clean energy. CICE works with local chambers to offer programs that help them and their member companies successfully navigate and prosper in the clean energy space. Through their clean energy information hub, CICE provides easy access to clean energy information, incentives, best practices, and an opportunity for local chambers to connect with clean energy experts throughout the country.


The EnergySage Solar Marketplace, a comprehensive national consumer destination site for solar photovoltaics (PV) systems. The EnergySage Marketplace transforms the complex Solar PV shopping process into a simple online comparison-shopping experience, by enabling consumers to compare quotes from multiple pre-screened installers in an apples-to-apples format across all financing options. The unique, innovative platform provides unprecedented levels of simplicity, choice and transparency, all at no cost to consumers.

The EnergySage platform helps to reduce prices and make solar PV systems more accessible to a larger portion of the population. Its goal is to drive exponential increases in market adoption of solar. EnergySage’s benefits extend to providers such as manufacturers, installers, financiers and other professionals involved in the solar PV sales process as well, through increased consumer awareness, knowledge and demand for their services. By creating efficiencies in both the buying and selling processes, EnergySage slashes the time and effort required by consumers and installers, significantly reducing customer acquisition costs, boosting consumer confidence, and ultimately accelerating mass-market solar adoption.

EnergySage has received two prestigious SunShot Awards from the Department of Energy to develop and commercialize the Solar Marketplace.

–Anita M. Harris
The Harris Communications Group is an award winning PR and marketing firm with clients in health care, life sciences, technology and energy, worldwide. 


HarrisCom Advisors To Address Data Mining Meetup June 18, 2014


The Boston Data Mining Meetup will feature Mark Kon and Eric Morris, both of whom are advisors to the Harris Communications Group.  The talks , to begin at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, June 18, will explore the application of both neural networks and machine learning in the financial markets–followed by networking and refreshments.   For  location or more information–please sign up on line or email

    Professor Mark Kon of Boston University will present: “Some background on machine learning and its uses in financial prediction”Machine learning is still a growing field in both its theoretical aspects and its applications.  It is being applied to such areas as robotics, self-driving cars, and  computational biology/drug discovery.   Its origins lie in artificial neural network theory, which beg

[media-credit standalone=0 id=1 align="alignleft" width="114"]Mark Kon[/media-credit]

Mark Kon

an an evolution in the 90s toward the broader field of machine learning.  The area is based on some simple principles which I will discuss. The first is the  universality of feature vectors, i.e., the possibility of encoding all objects into strings of numbers.  The second is the “geometrization” of learning, i.e., the translation of learning problems into geometrical location tasks, and the third is the so-called kernel trick.  I will explain the basic ideas and give examples of applications in financial and other areas.

  • About the presenter:  

    Mark Kon is a professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Boston University, and is also a faculty member in the Neuroscience and Bioinformatics programs.   His areas of research  have included neural networks, machine learning, computational biology, and quantum computation.   He studied mathematics, physics, and psychology at Cornell, and mathematics at MIT.

    Entrepreneur Eric Morris presents “Introduction to Neural Networks in Financial Market Analysis”

    Neural networks for machine learning have a rich history and recent resurgence in applied problems across a wide range of fields, especially where it is challenging to write rule-based programs. In this talk we will briefly explore the biological foundation of neural networks and why the human brain can be a highly advantageous paradigm from which to construct analytic hypotheses. After an introduction to biological neural networks, we will explore the application of these characteristics to artificial neural networks and their components. Finally, we will use what we have learned to demonstrate a practical application of applying neural networks to financial data to generate a predictive hypothesis.

    About the presenter:

    Eric Morris is consulting out of the Cambridge Innovation Center and working on several projects in the finance and technology space. He recently left the French firm Capgemini where he was a consultant on strategy and technology to Fortune 500 clients. Eric graduated with honors from Cornell University where he earned a double major studying Biology (concentrating in biotechnology and business) and Applied Economics and Management in Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences School and Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management respectively.

    –Anita M. Harris

    Anita Harris is managing director of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning marketing and PR firm based in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA.  She, in fact, suggested both speakers to Meetup Organizer Sheamus McGovern.

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.

Anita Harris on PBS: Ban Sandberg Ban Bossy Campaign?

[media-credit standalone=0 name="Mark Hoffman" align="alignleft" width="300"]Anita Harris, author and communications expert[/media-credit]

Harris Communications Group President and Broken Pattenrns Author Lincoln, MA Library

On Friday, March 21,  Anita M. Harris, author  and Harris Communications Group Managing Director questioned the efficacy of the Sheryl Sandberg Ban Bossy campaign on “To the Contrary,” of national public television.  A taped interview with Harris introduced a discussion of  the campaign–which aims to expunge the term “bossy” from the vocabulary so as to encourage girls to seek leadership positions.

In the interview, Harris reiterated her concerns, first voiced  at  New Cambridge Observer and Broken Patterns Book that  the campaign erroneously equates  bossy–“fond of telling others what to do; domineering” –with good leadership. She also suggested the campaign might diminish confidence in some women and encourage bullying in  others.

To the Contrary,  which airs nationally, is an all-female news analysis series. The segment is available on the Web  at;-ban-bossy;-congresswomen-and-leadership. 

The program also covered the Obamacare Birth control mandate. Guests included:  Former Congresswomen Blanche Lincoln, Carol Moseley Braun, Connie Morella, Barbara Kennelly and Mary Bono. Panelists were Amy Siskind, The New Agenda; Kay Coles James, *resident, Gloucester Institute; Avis Jones DeWeever, NPR host, and Rina Shah, Republican strategist.

The  Harris Communications Group, is  an award-winning PR and Marketing firm based at the Cambridge Innovation Center, in Kendall Square, Cambridge. Anita Harris, HarrisCom’s Managing Director, is the author of Broken Patterns, Professional Women and the Quest for a New Feminine Identity.  Broken Patterns is available at,, and at the Harvard Bookstore, in Harvard Square.

Boston’s District Hall Celebrates Grand Opening

DHALL_w_logo_and_tag_linePleased  to have attended the celebration for the opening of  District Hall–the beautiful new event center  for innovators located in Boston’s snazzy Seaport District–just across from the Institute for Contemporary Art.  Managed by the Venture Cafe Foundation–a sister organization  of the Cambridge Innovation Center (C)C)  where I work– District Hall has a large event space, conference and class rooms, a restaurant and a view of the Harbor. What I like best is its scale–it’s not a skyscraper,  is not overwhelming like the nearby convention center or the CIC in Kendall Square. It’s just a simple, welcoming  space with white board, galore.

As described on  its Web site as:

“It’s the first building of its kind in the world….

” …A dedicated civic space where the innovation community can gather and exchange ideas. Inside you’ll find open workspace, classrooms, assembly space, flexible use ‘pods’, and writable surfaces everywhere!  Also stop by for coffee and food at Brew and Gather.”

“…The result of a collaborative public-private partnership. When Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced his vision for the Innovation District, he called for a gathering space for innovators to get together and share ideas. The building was then privately funded and built by Boston Global Investors, as the first project in their twenty-three acre masterplan for Seaport Square. Operations and programming are run by the Venture Café Foundation, a not-for-profit sister organization to the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC). ”

Its  hospitality partners are Gather and Brew, both operated by The Briar Group. The building and the restaurant were designed by Hacin + Associates.

Without the generous support of John HancockIdeaPaint and Philips Color Kinetics, District Hall would not be the unique space it is today.”

District Hall
75 Northern AvenueBoston, MA.  02210


—Anita M.Harris, Managing Director
Harris Communications Group

The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning PR and market development firm.  Based in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA, we provide a media relations, marketing communications, writing, crisis communications, content, marketing and social media services for companies in health, science, technology and energy. 

With Google Panda…for SEO & content marketing, what’s a small company to do?

panda Free digital
In some ways, I’m pleased with the new (ish) google algorithm for SEO–tho no one is quite sure  exactly what it is.

I’m told it enhances the need for “real” content and makes it much more difficult to game the system because it  filters out spammy black hat stuff, repetitive key words and nonsense content aimed at getting sites to the top of the first page of Google search.

But after  listening to recent Cision Webinar on content marketing I feel daunted.    For search engine optimization (SEO) not only do say you need to post 3 blogs a day, Cision says,  but also you must focus on a single keyword, making it extremely clear to search spiders that you only do one thing.

But what about someone like me—a creative person who is not a twenty-something with just a single product or skill?

Or  my company, HarrisCom, for example–if you’ll pardon the self-serving plug?

We offer a variety of communication services–and there’s not a single word to describe them all.  In years past, “PR” might have filled the bill–but, now, PR means many things to many people. And it now includes aspects of advertising, social media, thought leadership, integrated marketing,  promotions, media relations, training, writing, editing, press release–and we also now offer clinical relations, digital media outreach.   Plus, we do all of the above for clients in healthcare, life science, biotech, energy…You get the picture.

Not to mention the time it takes to post three  non-BS blogs a day.

I ask you–and  Google–  and SEO experts–given the restraints/constraints/requirements of  the PANDA algorithm, what’s a multitalented person–or a small company– to do?


Comments/responses/answers welcome!

Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is managing director of the Harris Communications Group: An award-winning public relations and market development firm specializing in media relations, thought leadership, content marketing, etc. etc. etc. for companies and organizations in healthcare, biomedical science, technology and energy, worldwide. 

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. 


Reimbursement, Regulatory Expert Edward Berger Joins HarrisCom Advisory Board

I’m more than happy to announce that Ed Berger, CEO at Larchmont Strategic Advisors,  has joined the Harris Communications Group Advisory Board.

Ed has worked for nearly 30 years in healthcare , medical technology and  life science fields.  His expertise encompasses biomedical regulatory and reimbursement policy as well as corporate communications.

He  brings a wealth of experience  and insight to our group and to our clients.

As a member of the senior management teams of Fresenius Medical Care, Thermo Cardiosystems and ABIOMED, Dr. Berger exercised responsibility for strategically sensitive communications with government agencies, news media and investors and served as principal corporate spokesperson through numerous crises and other high visibility events.

Through his consultancy, Larchmont Strategic Advisors, he helps life sciences companies create and implement integrated strategies to address the obstacles and opportunities they face in their efforts to secure public and private insurer coverage and optimal reimbursement for new or evolving technologies.

Focusing on issues that arise at the intersection of public policy, corporate strategy development, and internal and external advocacy, Dr. Berger helps clients to deal effectively with the strategic challenges posed by the rapidly evolving healthcare regulatory and policy environment.  His clients have included companies in fields such as mechanical circulatory support, cardiology, orthopedics, neural monitoring and neuromodulation, gastrointestinal surgery, pulmonary medicine, nuclear medicine, diagnostic imaging, clinical laboratory testing, and personalized medicine.

Dr. Berger is a member of Mass Medical Angels, a mentor in Boston University’s IGNITE program, and Past President of the Medical Development Group, a 400 member professional association of individuals professionally committed to the medical device and related life sciences business sectors.

He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Harvard College, and earned his Ph.D. in Political Science at Boston University, where he was later Assistant Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Urban Affairs and Planning program.

–Anita M. Harris

Anita Harris is the founder and managing director of the Harris Communications Group — an award-winning public relations firm specializing in integrated strategic communication, content marketing and thought leadership   for clients in healthcare, life sciences, technology and energy, worldwide.  Based in Kendall Square, Cambridge, HarrisCom  on the pulse of some of the most innovative ideas, technologies and products,  anywhere. 



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