Ten Questions to a Top Tech Public Relations Team, the Max Borges Agency

^D28309961D98DAC0256CAB36EAB3940A06C0007C496C3E9505^pimgpsh_thumbnail_win_distrAs most of you good readers know, I write about a lot of products on this website. It isn’t often that I talk about where I get my sources, and it isn’t often that those who help put consumer electronics products in the spotlight are put in the spotlight themselves. I am talking about Public Relations (PR) agencies that represent tech, and I want to talk about one of my favorite agencies to work with: the Max Borges Agency.

Over the last ten years, I have had the chance to work with the Max Borges Agency team. I found them to be terrific people to work with, providing me with the info that I need for articles about the latest in consumer electronics. Oftentimes, I will be attending a conference, speaking to a representative about a product, and I always love it when I find out that MBA represents them. Indeed, they represent so many tech companies that I won’t bother to list them.

Max Borges is an agency that exclusively represents tech products. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know many of the people at Max Borges throughout the years, and I was fortunate to meet Max himself a few years ago. I was pleased that he was willing to answer my questions about what his group does, and how they do it.

1) Tell us how the Max Borges agency got started.

I wish I could tell you that I had this grand idea to start and build the number one consumer tech PR agency in the country but the truth is this; 15 years ago I had taken a year off and spent a good part of it traveling the world. When I got back it was time to get back to work. I was looking for a job and no one would hire me. I ended up getting an offer to do some part time marketing consulting work. That was my first client. After a few months, I realized if I found another client, I could make pretty good money and that’s what I did. After that I rented a grungy little office, bought some used furniture and hired some part time help. From there I found some more clients and hired more help and just kept building it.

2) Did you always want to do a PR agency with a tech focus?

No. I had never even worked in PR! At first, I thought I would do events and some advertising work. Our first 4 years were our AFM stage – Anything for money! This worked out fine for a while but after we got to about 12 employees, it got a little crazy. We were doing so many different things that I was running in too many different directions. I realized we needed to focus on one thing that we could be the best at. I had discovered a few things in the first few years. One was that media relations were really a sales job and people with sales ability were much better at it than the typical communications person. Second, there were a lot of small and medium sized consumer tech companies that needed media relations and nothing else. They needed to get their product in front of a large audience but could not afford a national ad campaign. The other thing I learned was that if we made the media our first priority and focused on getting them what they needed to do their jobs, the reward would be more coverage for our clients. We have always focused on doing things to make the media’s job easier for them. That has paid off big time.

^97056804487912FBA5C2517DCCD07E78CFA89C311D08F0863D^pimgpsh_thumbnail_win_distr

3) Tell us how the agency has grown over the past 15 years.

Well, it started with me working on an old laptop (I still have it!) from a desk I pulled out of a dumpster, and now we have 40+ employees with offices in Miami and San Francisco. We have been on the INC5000 list of fastest growing companies 8 years in row. This is all the result of focusing on one thing and putting all of our resources toward being the best at PR for consumer technology clients.

4) You have more than one location now? How does that help your business?

Yes, we’re in San Francisco now in addition to Miami. It really helps for a number of reasons. There is great talent in the bay area plus we have better access to clients.

5) Is it true that you were responsible for 1,000 tech launches? That is insane! What is involved in your typical tech launch?

I know! It’s unbelievable. If you would have told me that back when I got that first consulting gig I would have thought you were crazy. Product launches are more complex than ever and it’s critically important to get it right or you can jeopardize the ultimate success of any consumer tech product. There can be anywhere from 1-3 months or more of prep work that includes research, media tours, message development and media outreach. We handle consumer research, product/brand messaging, influencer and media relations, media events, media tours, and creative asset production among other things for each launch we do. We also conduct consumer focus groups and media beta test to confirm positive and negatives of a product along with unearthing unique use cases and story angles we will use to pitch media. Everything we do is part of our “Smarter approach to tech PR.”

6) Tell us what you do for your typical client.

Ok, we focus our services in three key areas; PR, Content and Insights. Ultimately, it’s about connecting people with technology. We analyze a client’s business/industry, target audience, and customer journey. We then look at where our services can impact their customers’ path to purchase and we design an action plan to make the biggest impact for their bottom line. Depending on the life stage that company is in, that could be heavy product launch driven, thought leadership, content strategy or research based. Once we decide what will make an impact, we work backwards from there to see where to focus our efforts.

PR
o Media and Influencer Relations
o Product Launch and Review Programs
o Strategic Messaging and Positioning
o Corporate, Data and Thought Leadership Campaigns
o Media Tour & Events
Content
o Channel and Content Strategy
o Video, Photo, Graphic Design, Copywriting
o Content Distribution (Paid, Earned, Owned).
Insights
o Consumer Research
o Industry Analysis
o Performance Overview and Analysis

7) Tell us about an average day at Max Borges.

I have no idea what an average day is! We are launching products, conducting research studies, broadcasting tech TV segments from our in-house TV studio, onboarding new clients, onboarding new employees, conducting media tours in NYC and SF, shipping dozens of product samples to media, generating hundreds of pieces of media coverage and more. I also host a podcast called Unconventional Genius where I interview top tech CEO’s as well as authors and other brilliant folks. It’s a lot but its energizing. I love it!

^47EE590A4E4BFD3A6DD62D858F1BA8F8CAC57AD67535FFF57C^pimgpsh_thumbnail_win_distr

8) Can you tell us about the people that you have working for you? How do you work as a team?

I have an amazing team – many of which have been working with me for 10+ years. Even my first employee still works here. He just celebrated his 15th anniversary – and he’s only 32! Of course, there are lots of new people too because we are growing. Everyone here is passionate about tech. They are highly curious about how people discover and adopt new technology. We all love to see how our results drive sales for our clients. As far as working as a team, it goes back to media relations, content and insights. Each person has a role in creating a successful program. That said, I am sure I speak for everyone when I say we all still get excited each time we see our clients getting great media coverage – which happens thousands of times each month!

9) What kinds of tech can we expect to see at CES 2018?

Oh man – that’s a great question! CES is such an important show for us. Almost every one of our clients will be there exhibiting. Virtually our entire team will be in Vegas connecting our clients with the media. Our broadcast team will be there to show the world what is hot and new. Smart home, mobile entertainment and virtual reality are all categories I expect to see some exciting announcements from in January.

10) What are your future plans?

My plan is to keep innovating our service offering to bring consumer tech companies the very best results possible. My focus has always been on being the best at what we do and we accomplish that through our innovative approach to PR. Our growth is a by-product of that. I’m very competitive so I will always be driven to be the best.

Well, you have heard it from Max himself on what he can do for tech, and it is pretty great. We are hoping that we can interview a lot of agencies that represent tech companies here on TheGeekChurch, so stay tuned.

Cherry Keyboards, Part 1: The G80-3850 MX Brown 3.0

Cherry max board 3.0This is going to be some great reviews this week with Cherry, makers of some great keyboards, as well as being known for Maraschino. Just kidding on that last part, but I do like the Cherry MX-Board 3.0 USB Keyboard with Cherry MX Brown Switch.

In case you are wondering about the Brown switches, this is apparently the color of the switches underneath the keys, and as far as I can tell, are not visible by the user. There are other colors available, such as Black, Red, and Blue. The Brown switches are tactile with some actuating force of 55 cN with a switching port of 2.0 mm.

The other colors have some weird specs as well, and I am not certain about those. However, I had a chance to try it and it feels really…smooth. As most of you know, I review every keyboard by writing a report on it. Case in point, this one, and I am surprised that it is so quiet. It is also easy to install as you just plug it in

This particular one has a full QWERTY layout with over 50 million operations per key, then there is an N-key rollover with up to simultaneous operations of up to 14 keys without any ghosting effects.

If you want to check this out, head over to the Cherry website here for more information and it can be purchased on Amazon for about $132.77.

Donald Trump: The War on Christmas Starts Early

d3a86a9ff1613c76d52bbc40b9915133

Starbucks hasn’t announced their cup design and Halloween is a couple weeks away, but Donald Trump made sure to start the fires early at his speech at the Values Voter Summit today. This group, composed primarily of Evangelicals, gathers to discuss items like traditional marriage, religious liberty, sanctity of life and limited government.

Trump has made sure to fuel the “us vs. them” mentality, by telling attendees that, “We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo- Christian values.”

He went on,”We’re getting near that season that people don’t talk about anymore. They don’t use the word ‘Christmas’ because it’s not politically correct.”

He complained that department stores will decorate, and they’ll say other things. But guess what? Donald Trump says “we’re” going to say “Merry Christmas” again! Hallelujah and pass the potatoes!

Look, I like Christmas. I will wish you a “Merry Christmas” if I know you celebrate. I will wish people I don’t know “Happy Holidays” because it’s a nice thing to do. It doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped loving Jesus. I’m not embarrassed by him. I AM embarrassed by Christians who have to throw tantrums if people don’t celebrate the way they think they should. I am embarrassed that this season that is supposed to be about love is becoming a season of “This is a Christian nation, and we are persecuted because people are being politically correct.” I AM embarrassed by the leader of the free world acting like a twit, and Christians fawning all over him.

Trump is not bringing Christmas back to America. It’s always been here. Our last president celebrated Christmas and, no, he didn’t call them holiday trees like the internet rumors say.

Maybe Trump should stop fueling wars on his home territory. I worry about the real wars we are facing.

 

SleepPhones by AcousticSheep

SleepPhonesThe company of AcousticSheep appears to have a specialty making audio products of a different variety. One of their famous products is the SleepPhones, and the name is enough to say what they do: earbuds for those who sleep.

The SleepPhones are not traditional earbuds, but they have super-thin speakers inside of a soft cozy headband. So I am not even certain if the term of “earbuds” is a worthy description.

So, for those who like to sleep with earbuds on, you will love this. It has a comfortable fit with a fleece headband. The end result is a way to reduce the ambient noise, for those who need that extra music to sleep by, here it is.

Now, these thing is made to plug into anything with a 3.5 mm audio jack, but they come in a wireless option as well. Honestly, I was hoping to review the wireless option, but this seems to do the trick.

The wired version costs $39.95 in midnight black, quiet lavender, and soft gray on the AcousticSheep website. Those are the fleece versions, which are made to warm your head. The breeze version is galaxy blue, sunset pink, and pink leopard and is better for the summertime. What is funny is how it says “one size fits most”, as well as extra large and extra small.

Our Review of the BOBINE Flexible iPhone Dock

This KickStarter funded project was sent to us to review from [FUSE] chicken.  This company makes a variety of charging cables, travel cables, phone docks, and stands. The product we were sent to review is called BOBINE, and is touted as “the world’s most flexible iPhone dock.”

30_08ebb200-2317-4268-a349-33bb5aadde84_1024x1024

photo courtesy of [FUSE] chicken

photos courtesy of [FUSE] chicken

Unfortunately, as we don’t have iPhones, and the BOBINE is designed specifically for iPhones, I was unable to actually use the product on my phone, but I did unbox the product, and got to experience how well it is manipulated to be used in various manners- such as this tripod. It seemed to be a very sturdy cord, and handy to use for charging your phone while

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Youtube videos of the product in action in a moving vehicle show that it’s not as stable as a mount on your dash- a bit wiggly, but sufficient to use for hands- free calling or getting directions.

This YouTube video demonstrates ways to flex the stand to make it more sturdy.

 

I enjoyed the tag that was attached to the cord:

“While this product may seem self- explanatory, PLEASE READ the Start Guide first!”

The other side read:

“Stop!

Twist me, curve me, bend me, but PLEASE DON’T fold me or be overly aggressive as I have feelings too.”

Attached to the instructions is the personal e-mail for the founder of the company. It’s nice to see companies with personable service and a sense of humor.

This nice product is 24 inches long, comes with a unique registration code so you can obtain a warranty within 90 days of purchase, and it’s available for $34.95 on the company website. Free shipping on product over $50, too!

Toast Cases for the iPhone 8 and Microsoft Surface Pro 2017

By now, I have reviewed at least three Toast products in the past few years, and it stands to reason that they would put out covers for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, as well as the new Surface Pro 5 (2017). I feel very fortunate to have a chance to review both of these, as I enjoy the Toast products, made in Portland, Oregon.

Toast Real Wood Cover for the iPhone 8

At first, I didn’t think it was necessary, because most iPhone 7/7 Plus products can accommodate the latest models, but it looks like the Toast iPhone 7 model has been replaced with an iPhone 8. In this case, the wooden cover is more than just than just an aesthetic quality with its “designed with heart and cut by lasers” design, but offers at least some protection as well.

Toast iPhone 8After all, that new iPhone 8 has glass on the front and back of it, as we reported upon its initial announcement. I was, of course, warned that putting on the iPhone 8 cover was going to be only slightly difficult, and it is even described by the website as origami-esque. Well, origami is always fun, isn’t it? Putting it on feels like some fun project that is from a kid’s toy kit.

My one concern was that this cover would somehow block the Qi Wireless Capability, but I have been told that this won’t be a problem.

All that, plus you can custom engrave the thing. You should definitely head over to the Toast site and Pay about $34.00 for it in Walnut, Ash, and Ebony.

Toast Real Wood Cover for the Surface Pro 2017 (Pro 5)

So, it looks like Microsoft has the new Surface out, and the laptop/tablet also has a great cover similar to that of Apple’s flagship product. It has what you would expect with the wooden crafted cover, and it is something as well.

Toast Surface Pro 2017I have to admit that I was surprised that it was able to cover the Surface Pro 5, but it does cover them very well, and has all the side wraps and buttons covered. It is made with the same peel-and-stick process for easy application, but that shouldn’t come as any surprise. It is awesome to see that it has four holes in order to show off that Microsoft Log.

There isn’t much more that I can say about this that I haven’t said before. It is available in four types of wood like Walnut, Bamboo, Ebony, and Ash. It is available for about $49.00 on the Toast site.

BSA Officially Announces Girls to be Welcomed Into the Program

Kyrie participated in the ATV program at BSA summer camp

Kyrie participated in the ATV program at BSA summer camp

Rumors have been swirling over the past few months that the Boy Scouts of America program was testing the waters to determine if families would like to allow girls into the program. Today, the Board of Directors announced that they have unanimously voted to welcome girls into the Cub Scout program, and that older girls will have the chance to earn the Eagle rank.

“This decision is true to the BSA’s mission and core values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law. The values of Scouting – trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example – are important for both young men and women,” said Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive. “We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children. We strive to bring what our organization does best – developing character and leadership for young people – to as many families and youth as possible as we help shape the next generation of leaders.”

Starting next year, parents will be able to sign Cub Scout aged girls up to join as well as their boys. Dens will be single-gendered, though, so boys will still be learning their stuff with other boys and girls with girls. Packs already in existence can choose to integrate the girls, or keep them separate. Many Cub Scout Packs already involve the whole family, so allowing the girl dens to participate doesn’t seem much of a stretch.

20476087_10155063010977917_406532426816449758_n

The program to allow girls to earn the coveted Eagle rank isn’t slated to be available until 2019. I don’t suppose that my own daughter who is already part of the co-ed Boy Scout program of Venturing, will be able to attain that rank, as she will be 16 when that rolls around. She hasn’t had the opportunity to earn merit badges- even though she has taught the classes at Boy Scout summer camp.

Teaching the Canoeing Merit Badge

Teaching the Canoeing Merit Badge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kyrie went rappelling with our Boy Scout troop and Venture Crew

Kyrie went rappelling with our Boy Scout troop and Venture Crew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Girl Scouts’ president is not likely to be thrilled about this announcement, as Kathy Hopinkah already sent a letter to the BSA in August accusing the Boy Scouts of stealing recruits from their program.

This new announcement, I believe, is another step in the right direction, as many girls want to be included in what their brothers are doing. In some areas, the Boy Scout program is more enticing than Girl Scouts because the program is geared to do more adventurous things(although, some Girl Scout troops also do exciting things-depending on leadership).

The question now is when will they allow Atheists and Agnostics into their program?

You can read the official story from the Boy Scout Newsroom here.

Our Review of the Olloclip Pivot

Olloclip PivotAt this point in my life as a reviewer, I review an Olloclip product a year. If for some reason that you haven’t heard of Olloclip, they create these photo lenses made for smartphones, particularly for the iPhone, that allow for focuses and a fish-eye lens. The Pivot is essentially a holder for one of their Olloclip lenses, and I’ll start with a disclaimer saying that the Olloclip lens, like the one I reviewed last year, is not included.

It does come with a handle which has that threaded Universal Mounting thing on it. On this particular handle is a button that allows for some rotation, about 225 degrees of spinning. You can see that circle in the middle which allows you to stick your finger for extra support.

The end result is a device that reduces the shakiness in your video. The Pivot also has a Universal Clamp, a 1/4-20 mount for a GoPro adapter. There is also some kind of cold shoe mount so you can put on one of those flash things.

By now, if you are not familiar with my reviews of Olloclip, then you know that I never give them bad reviews. There is a lot of love, work, and care put in Olloclip products, and the Pivot is available for about $49.99 on the Olloclip site.

Mike Pence Protests the NFL on Taxpayers’ Dime

22279656_10101392931460988_2843027870804596132_n

Vice President Mike Pence attended Sunday’s game between the San Francisco 49ers and his hometown Indianapolis Colts briefly, in what appears to be a planned protest of kneeling football players.

Well, he says that he was attending the game specifically because Peyton Manning was being honored, but instead of focusing on honoring Manning, it seems that he has taken the focus off that and turned it into a political statement.

It doesn’t appear that Pence had planned on staying for the entire game, as the journalists with him were told to stay in their vans- that there might be an early departure from the game. Donald Trump tweeted that he told Pence to leave if there were any players kneeling during the national anthem.

This obviously reeks of a planned PR stunt.

Yahoo Sports columnist, Dan Wetzel was right on the button that “this is nothing more than political grandstanding.”

“Next up, Mike Pence will attend an R-rated movie and walk out in protest if there is any foul language, violence or adult situations,” he quipped.

This political grandstanding has been estimated to have cost around $242,000 for the use of Air Force 2 alone. Part of that is paid by the RNC, since he flew to a fundraiser in Los Angeles after that. The cost has not factored in personnel like Secret Service, or anything else needed to support his visit to the stadium.

Hawaiian Democratic Senator Brian Schatz tweeted his criticism that many are feeling:

Am I alone in thinking that it as disrespectful to use the national anthem to make your own anti-protest political statement, as it is to some to kneel during the anthem? Our nation is hurting after hurricanes, mass shootings, and healthcare uncertainty, and instead of listening to those they are supposed to be uniting, the leaders in our White House are throwing tantrums and pulling expensive publicity stunts? Is this real Christianity put forth by those touted to be good Christian men?
What do you think could be done to unite our country? Leave a comment below.

1More Dual Driver LTNG ANC In-Ear Headphones

1More LTNG ANCIt has been quite a while since I reviewed a 1More product, and I was very pleased to review something new from them for the holidays. The 1More company is very good at making headphones and earbuds that are of a higher quality than the standard, and the Dual Driver LTNG ANC In-Ear Headphones are of that great standard.

So where to begin…hmm. Let’s start with ANC, and what it stands for, which is Active Noise Cancellation. It seems that 1More excels at this, and it is made for reducing noises on an airplane, car, or train. For those that care about these numbers, it has a frequency range of 50-2000 Hz with 20 db Reduction. Apparently, they have five-stars in noise reduction performance and multiple environments, and yeah, I took that from their website.

It all boils down to some terrific sound that is expected from this company. Then there is the dual driver sound with a one balanced armature along with one dynamic driver which works like a mini-tweeter and dynamic driver respectively.

There is also a feature that includes a 5-in-1 controller that feels really unique to me. For a call, you just hit it in the center to answer/hang up, and press and hold to reject a call. As for the music, you hit it in the center to play, toggle left for the previous track, and toggle right for the next track. You can also control the volume and take phone calls.

All of this is put in a very great design package with lightweight alloys and made specifically with the Apple Lightning connector in mind, which is why it won a design award this year. You should be able to purchase them on the 1More Site for $149.99.