sxsw popexpert salon: stand out as a startup with lean PR


Cutting through the noise is a challenge at SXSW. So we were incredibly lucky to have two PR pros host a Salon about how to stand out as a startup.

Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, CEO and Rebekah Iliff, Director of Product at AirPR discussed how startups can leverage the ideas of Lean PR to build campaigns and engage progressive PR experts that are a good fit with startup culture.

We learned about the marketplace they’re building with AirPR, an invite-only, “” for the PR business and also talked about the importance of telling a good story.

Here are some highlights from this amazing session:

  • “Let’s bring back what PR is truly about: creating an entire public relations strategy that includes developing a steady drumbeat of information – helping position your company as a leader, not just getting one big story out about your company.”
  • “A good PR person stays out of the way of the relationship, they are the connector. The PR person is there to fill in the gaps that the client may miss, but first and foremost, the PR person is a strategist who will help craft your message.”
  • “When a startup is first launching, they should aim to have some kind of announcement every 6-8 weeks.”
  • “The new PR economy is around content and thought leadership and driving the narrative forward.”
  • “Give a good story and look for your best customer evangelists – it’s so much better coming from them if they’re qualified to speak on your behalf and believe in what you’re doing.”

Huge thanks to Sharam and Rebekah – we’re excited to see you continue to transform the PR industry. Check out what they’re up to here:

@rebekahiliff @sharamfm

sxsw popexpert salon: building community startup style


“Community” and “curate” are two words we heard a lot at SXSW but our discussion with Amanda Slavin, CEO and Staci Perkins, COO of CatalystCreativ made these words really come alive.

These inspiring and passionate ladies are working with Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and the Downtown Project, to revitalize an entire city – startup style.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone who attended this Salon was ready to pack up and move to Vegas after hearing what CatalystCreativ and Downtown Project are up to.

Here are some highlights:

  • “We launched Catalyst Week, a curated event series the last week of every month that will become an integral part of the Downtown Project culture. For each Catalyst Week, we hand pick experts in philanthropy, wellness, music, fashion, education and technology to speak about their experiences and become part of the Downtown Vegas community for the week.”
  • “As Tony would say, we’re looking for a Return on Community, not a Return on Investment.”
  • “Let’s take an entrepreneurial approach to revitalizing an entire city.”
  • “Community development is more about the people than real estate and if we  catalyze a community, we hope people will be inspired to follow their passions…and this will create an amazing city.”
  • “We want to create a collaborative, innovative place where there are opportunities to accelerate learning by brining together smart, passionate people.”

Looking forward to our visit to Vegas, thank you again Amanda and Staci!

@AJSlavin  @sometimestues

sxsw popexpert salon: women entrepreneurs


Alexis Jones is truly magnetic. We were thrilled to have her host a discussion about the benefits and challenges of being a female entrepreneur and how she is focused on inspiring and supporting women everywhere through her organization, I AM THAT GIRL. 

It was great to see such a strong, accomplished group of women talking about how we can do a better job elevating and educating each other.  This conversation was a great reminder about the importance of substance – from the media we consume to our personal and work relationships – having the confidence to demand quality is incredibly important for both men and women.

 Here are a few quotes:

  • “If you want to know what really matters to you, print out your bank statement.”
  • “At the end of the day, are we taking about substantial things, things that matter?”
  • “Where we are wealthy is we are wealthy in love, and you can’t put a price on that.”
  • “You are living a life of consumption, not of contribution.” – Alexis’ Mom at a pivotal turning point in her life.
  • “Youth are consuming over 10 hours of media per day on average.”
  • “When you make a girl not feel so alone she feels better about herself. And when you inspire her to make a difference in the world, her problems diminish.”
  • “Recognize that with every dollar you spend, you’re agreeing with something.”

Many thanks to Alexis and all of the awesome folks who joined us during her Salon, we’ll be looking out for all the great work coming out of I AM THAT GIRL


sxsw popexpert salon: the pressures of entrepreneurship


Bryan Neuberg and Jamison Monroe teamed up to talk about a critical and timely topic: how to deal with the pressures of entrepreneurship. Both of these guys are experts on the subject and the folks that joined this session had a lot of first hand experience as well, which made for a very enlightening discussion.

Bryan is an executive coach who manages a leadership development firm. He was one of 25 at the Google Coaching Center who recently wrote the most shared article of the week on PandoDaily entitled, “Why many entrepreneurs are privately suffering, and what to do about it.

Jamison is the Founder/CEO of the Newport Academy, an adolescent mental health treatment center and is recognized by his peers as a conduit between the past, present and future of recovery.

Together, Jamison and Bryan talked about the concept of soft-bipolarity and the ups and downs many entrepreneurs experience but don’t talk about.

Here are some great quotes:

“Soft bipolar is a distant cousin to manic depression that often includes mild depressive dips and a light form of enthusiastic, energized, creative mania, called hypomania.”

“Hypomania can be the wiring that helps some entrepreneurs be successful. They’ll have lots of energy and an increased ability to tolerate risk….sounds like a teenager right!?”

“Soft bipolar entrepreneurs can be visionary, highly self confident, persuasive, energized, and boundlessly enthusiastic about the companies they are building…But if someone has too much risk tolerance they can also tear down the enterprise they worked so hard to build.”

“People in the bipolar spectrum are attracted to entrepreneurship. Building businesses can be a great way for hypomanic entrepreneurs to apply their energy and creativity.”

“We need a structure for people who have inherently run away from all other structures.“

“There are builders and optimizers in a company…for folks on the soft bi-polar side it’s important to engage in calming activities like walking and meditating. They also need to surround themselves with people (inside and outside the company) who are willing to challenge some of their wild ideas.

We were thrilled that Bryan and Jamison could spend time discussing a tough but incredibly important topic with a great group of entrepreneurs. Thanks again guys!

@NeubergBryan @jamisonmonroe