The San Francisco Horn Group office usually holds its annual industry shindig in the spring, but this year decided the Summer Solstice would be the best time to celebrate the continuing resurgence of the technology industry in the Silicon Valley and beyond.
Industry executives, venture capitalists, and media all gathered at the beautiful Spanish Suite at the historic Clift Hotel. We were 15 floors above San Francisco’s Union Square, and the tented deck let us all enjoy a gorgeous San Francisco night. We were happy to welcome almost all of our SF-Silicon Valley based clients and friends, and it was certainly a blast to shoot the breeze (as opposed to pitch) reporters and editors from such publications as Barrons, CNET, Forbes, Business 2.0 and eWeek, to name a few. Clients in attendance included ArcSight, Blue Roads, Collabnet, Glam, Good Technology, Right Now, Taleo, Transera, Vontu, WebEx and Westcon
Our fearless leader Sabrina, toasted the night by first showing off the decidedly non-technology product from one of the distinguished Horn Group alumni, Jonna Jurkovich. I wish I had a better picture, but here’s Sabrina, sitting next to Jonna, (on the left, with HG’s Jaimie Lovejoy on the right) and wearing one of Jonna’s fashion creations. Sabrina ran down the technologies we’ve seen come and go in the 15 year history of the Horn Group, remembered the tech bust, and celebrated the return of the energy, funding and rush-hour traffic. As the industry evolves, PR is evolving as well, and Sabrina says it’ll be less public relations, more marketing communications moving forward with increased roles for video and interactive services, blogging and social media in general. And as to a global view of the future, Sabrina said “As a country we find ourselves looking over our shoulders for the first time to India, to China, and Russia. Sadly, I believe, and maybe you disagree..or agree....Americans must shed their sense of entitlement to play in a new game that’s not in our own backyard. As Geoff Moore recently said, we need to get better at playing away games because those are the games we’re going to be playing a lot more of.”
Esther Dyson, editor at large at CNET and of course the woman behind PC Forum and Release 1.0, was scheduled to give a toast, but rush-hour at the airport kept her from attending. She did send these remarks: "The proper role of the PR firm, increasingly, is to explain complex truths. More and more things in our world are hard to understand, and need explanation rather than description. The public wants to know how things work. They want to know not just what is offered, but the revenue model and motivations behind it. PR is becoming increasingly challenging. From the point of the view of the PR firm's client, the job of the PR firm is not just to praise products or explain behavior, but to feed back the public viewpoint and to *improve* the client's behavior. That is, the PR firm helps the client not just to speak, but to listen. That's the value the Horn Group brings in, and I invite you to represent me in celebrating it. " Thank you Esther!
Tom Foremski of Silicon Valley Watcher, was live and in person and took the microphone for a few moments. “I come from the mainstream media side of things, there’s something really interesting happening right now that affects us all in PR, communications and in the media,” Tom mused. “Never at any point in our lives will we be at such a disruptive period of our industry, and that means we have a chance to figure out what the next 5-10 years is going to look like. And a lot of the innovation is going to come from the media and PR industry, and that is such a thrilling thing to be a part of.” Amen