From Australia to Silicon Valley – Feature Story in Virgin Australia’s July In-Flight Magazine

ANZA Technology Network CEO Viki Forrest, Startup Bus founder Elias Bizannes and startup successes Andrew Lacy (Tapulous), Ryan Junee (Omnisio) and Mick Johnson (Whereoscope) are just some of the Aussies profiled in Joel Meares’ “From Australia to Silicon Valley.” (Note: After August 1, this issue is archived – see pages 114-115)

The piece appears in Voyeur, the in-flight magazine of Virgin Australia for July 2011.

For many years, Australians and New Zealanders have been coming to Silicon Valley. Known worldwide for their innovative spirit dating back to the Hills Hoist, Down Under entrepreneurs have naturally gravitated to technology.

The ANZA Technology Network was established in 2001 as a gateway to the US for many of these innovators and their early-stage companies. ANZA holds an annual Gateway to the US event to showcase many of Australia and New Zealand’s latest breakthroughs in software, social media, cloud computing, clean tech, gaming and more.

Additionally, two Down Under entrepreneurs have recently purchased a building in the Valley’s hottest sub-hub, South of Market San Francisco (SOMA). An exciting spin-off of Bizannes’ Startup Bus, the Startup House is in the works for the space. Hermione Way of The Next Web talks with Bizannes and gives us a sneak video peak at the space.

Tasmanian Devil Needs a PR Makeover

Tasmanian devil II

Paging Warner Brothers. Bugs Bunny’s old nemesis the Tasmanian Devil has more problems than you think. In real life, the seldom-seen animal is “the size of a cocker spaniel, beady-eyed, standoffish and fond of displaying a mouthful of pointy teeth. Picture a skunk, with the jaws of an alligator and the charm of a weasel,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

About a year ago, it was reported that these animals were facing extinction due to a rare and ugly genetic disease (albeit one that held possible links to cancer treatment). The Los Angeles Times follows up saying that things could improve for the world’s largest carnivorous marsupials if only the folks Down Under would embrace the devils in a more warm and fuzzy way. Perhaps then they’d get behind publicizing the need for help and support the eradication of devil facial tumour disease (DFTD), which causes tumors “to sprout around the devil’s mouth, quickly morphing into bulbous red pustules that eventually take over the animal’s entire face, leaving it unable to eat or drink.” Afflicted animals ultimately starve to death.

Help is out there, but it is a matter of getting Aussies – and those who want to help save an endangered species – to take up the cause. One organization is called Devil Ark, which is dedicated to establishing and maintaining a population of healthy, genetically diverse Tasmanian devils.(Read more)

Sources: Los Angeles Times, Devil Ark and KazzaDrask Media.

Oprah’s 10-Star Treatment Down Under

WATCH VIDEO: Oprah’s Australian Adventure

As the dust settles on Oprah’s thunder Down Under (episodes taped last December at the…ahem, Sydney “Oprah” House have now aired in both the US and Australia), the proof will be in the sticky date pudding. Will the $5 million the Australian government spent on the junket pay off in record numbers of Americans spending gobs of tourist dollars in Sydney, Alice Springs, Cairns and Kakadu? And, if the Americans do come, will they be disappointed when the 10-star treatment Oprah and her guests received is reduced to 5, or 3 or truly low-budget limited to last-minute deals on or hosteling?

Sally Morrell of the Herald Sun asks the question of whether or not Oprah “made Australia look too good?” Barbecues with celebrity chefs on remote beaches, private helicopter rides and closeups with cuddly kangaroos on demand aren’t typically a part of the average package deal. But the wonderful openness of the people and a pie at Harry de Wheels are two things Oprah reported on that are accessible to all.

Different Approaches for Social and Traditional Media Success

I know I write a lot about Twitter and Facebook on this blog. After all, they are still the shiny new toys as opposed to the old tried-and-true pile of traditional PR tools like calling journalists and writing press releases. But, I just read PR Squared’s daily post and in addition to giving some really good advice, they had this awesome picture that blends apples (social media) with oranges (traditional PR). Bottom line:

“The goal is to do a good job in Social Media and in Traditional Media. Success in BOTH arenas creates a force-multiplier effect. The trick is understanding that you need to craft custom approaches to these varying audiences.Social Media demands 24/7 presence, frequently-updated and relevant content, a diplomatic and distinct voice. Traditional Media requires careful timing, a differentiated story, a proud voice, a tightly-packaged and closely-held assembly of content, verifiable proof and articulate defenders.

Understand the difference. Do both.”

Thank you PR Squared for keeping it real for those of us playing too much with the new toys. Think I’ll go back and put the Barbie in the Tonka Truck and go for a spin. (Read more)

Still Not Convinced You Need to Use Twitter? Ask Paula Abdul

Singer Paula Abdul has become the latest “real person” to message big change in her life via the Twitterverse. Last evening, Abdul, if you can imagine for a moment, alone and feeling dejected after a couple of bad months (some say years) at the office (in her case, the judging panel of TV’s American Idol) decided to make her decision to leave the show public.

Unlike stars of old (or even last year), Abdul did not summon her manager, agent, assistants, advisers, attorneys and PR flaks to a high-rise Century City conference room to debate the strategy for this move (yeah, right). Nope, Forever Your Girl Paula Straight Up hopped on a laptop and tweeted the following:

With sadness in my heart, I’ve decided not to return to #IDOL. I’ll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all..Cont’d…

and then…

I’ll miss nurturing all the new talent,but most of all being a part of a show that I helped from day1become an international phenomenon.


What I want to say most, is how much I appreciate the undying support and enormous love that you have showered upon me

but, wait, there’s more…

It truly has been breathtaking, especially over the past month

Well, maybe we shouldn’t mock Ms. Abdul and doubt that she could have tweeted all this by herself. After all, even the flakkiest PR flak knows you only get 140 characters per post with Twitter. And Abdul needed 4 posts to get it all out. Not quite a press release…but close. And the result was the same — if not better. (Read more)

Gov. Sarah Palin’s Resignation Speech: The Professionally Edited Version

Soon-to-be former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is going out with a bang. This week it was revealed (as expected) that she had been under investigation for taking money she shouldn’t have (or something like that). We don’t get too upset about things like that here at KazzaDrask Media because it seems all our politicians do this in some way, shape or form.

What we’re the watchdog of is extremely bad PR, social media miscues and the written word gone wrong. Through not-so-exclusive sources (Vanity Fair), we’ve obtained a copy of Palin’s resignation speech from earlier this month — and what it would look like if it had been professionally edited and researched (review it here).

Well, really now — what did you expect?