104 West Perspective

Going Farther …

From the desk of Patrick Ward

Agencies are like sharks: if they are not moving forward, they imperil their existence. The question therefore is never whether to move forward, but more importantly what direction is forward.  

At 104 West, we have made a conscious effort to develop new methodologies and practices that reflect the recent and inexorable evolutions in our industry. And happily, those practices have garnered significant traction in the last 9-12 months. So now we are excited to realize another long-term goal: getting our clients close to the media that still has unquestionable influence over the industry.

I am delighted to announce that 104 West has opened a Media Relations Bureau in San Francisco and that my old friend and colleague, Alissa Bushnell is going to serve as the Bureau Chief.

So what is a Media Relations Bureau? Good question. For us, it is a further extension of our media relations capabilities and gives us an on-the-ground presence in the Bay Area, which remains the home of most of the tech industry's major press corps. We have always had great media relationships, but this effort is designed to make it even better. We spend a lot of time in San Francisco anyway, so now we are going to have staff there to help our clients gain the increased attention they deserve from the SF-based media.

And we have the great fortune to have Alissa Bushnell to drive it. Alissa is a quintessential child of Silicon Valley. Her father Nolan is deemed the grandfather of the video game industry and she was one of Pong's first beta testers. Since then she has done things like introduce the world to the threats of computer viruses, most famously Melissa, the first superstar virus. She helped through work with VeriFone to squelch eCommerce fears back when putting your credit card number on a website was scary. And, she played media defense during Oracle’s takeover of PeopleSoft. She even introduced the concept of touch-screen ordering in restaurants, long before we had all become so used to the idea we now use with tablets and smart-phones everyday. She and I have worked together for the better part of 17 years. She was my agency when I worked for a dot-com era startup. I was her agency when her dad launched that restaurant chain with the touch-screens. She has taken a brief respite from agency life for the past few years, but she is coming charging back.

To put her future contribution most succinctly, when I told some of our mutual friends in confidence about her role at 104 West, the nearly uniform response has been, 'wow, that is awesome.' We concur.

And so we move forward, not assiduously, but headlong with great purpose and enthusiasm. Next year, 2013, we officially celebrate our 10th anniversary. We have come a long way and have even farther to go.


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