40 Questions with: Tony Hynes, CEO

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Say hello to the new CEO of Blanc & Otus, Tony Hynes! He’s smart, he’s British, and he says things like “savagely overpriced.” But Tony has been in the US for 18 years now and is becoming quite settled in his American life. He binge-watches The Walking Dead, he has opinions about Uber vs. Lyft, and he orders Chinese takeout. He is even a U.S. citizen! (Note: the “I Voted” sticker). Yet somehow he’s never heard of a tootsie pop…?

Tony enjoys taking the ferry to work every morning and reading The Guardian for his daily news. How Tony wound up in PR, you ask? He doesn’t know, but he blames his sister (and we thank her!). Want to know more? Watch Tony’s Q&A video, below!

  1. What’s your name? Tony
  2. Where are you from? London
  3. When did you move across the pond? 1989… 1998!
  4. What was your favorite college class? I didn’t really go to that many, so uh, let me think… the politics of African Development with Dr. David Pool
  5. What’s your favorite kind of cheese? Brie… Triple cream brie
  6. How did you end up in PR? It’s my sister’s fault
  7. Zodiac sign? Pieces
  8. Favorite dessert? Key lime pie
  9. Philz or Blue Bottle coffee? Neither, they’re both savagely overpriced
  10. What’s your biggest pet peeve? Being videoed for 40 questions
  11. What’s your favorite color? Green
  12. Where did you go to school? Latymer Upper School
  13. What’s your favorite thing to cook? Curry
  14. What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? Echo and the Bunnymen
  15. Where would you go on a dream vacation? The moon
  16. Do you have any pets? No
  17. Uber or Lyft? Lyft
  18. What did you have for breakfast? Nothing
  19. Do you ever make wishes at 11:11? I don’t even know what 11:11 is
  20. Last TV show you binge watched? The Walking Dead
  21. Favorite local pub ? I don’t really have one
  22. What’s the most embarrassing email username you’ve had? GeezerGoodman
  23. Do you have any allergies? No
  24. What song have you had stuck in your head recently? Anything that my children listen to
  25. How do you cut sandwiches, diagonally or vertically? Diagonally—is there any other way?
  26. Would you rather do a truth or dare? A dare
  27. Biggest difference between Brits and Americans? Oral hygiene
  28. What’s your favorite news source? The Guardian
  29. Where could we find you on a Sunday morning? In bed
  30. Do you have any siblings? Yes
  31. What’s your favorite season? Spring
  32. How do you drink your coffee or tea? Black
  33. What is your perfect pizza? Pepperoni and Mushrooms
  34. How do you get to work every morning? It varies, I’m trying to figure that out. The Ferry is my favorite way though.
  35. What is your favorite word? It’s gotta be a clean one, right? I’m assuming… um…I don’t know I can’t think!
  36. What’s your favorite food to order takeout? Chinese
  37. Was the dress white and gold or blue and black? Agh I remember that thing but I never looked at it!
  38. If you’re in a vehicle going the speed of light, what happens when you turn on the headlights? You lose your mind
  39. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? What’s a tootsie-pop?
  40. How do they get those boats in those glass bottles? Painstakingly.

 

40 Questions with: Adrienne Halford, AAE

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It’s time for another Blanc & Otus New Hire Interview to introduce our AAE Adrienne Halford! We gave Adrienne the classic Blanc & Otus welcome by flooding her with a series of unusual questions. She humored us and filled us in on all her likes and dislikes.

This USC grad commutes everyday from Sacramento but the time sure flies when she’s blasting One Direction. In her free time she likes to bake pies, play Minecraft and hang with her two cool cats Ellie and Chavy (another cat person in the office – score!). She likes her coffee black and pepperoni on her pizza, but don’t give her any shellfish – she’s allergic! Find out the rest in the Q&A video below.

  1. What’s you’re full name? Adrienne Halford
  2. Where are you from? I’m from Sacramento
  3. What’s one word you would use to describe yourself? Ummm Funny!
  4. What’s your favorite kind of cheese? Muenster
  5. How did you end up in PR? I went to a public relations school at USC
  6. Zodiac sign? Taurus
  7. What’s your favorite dessert? That’s really hard… um, right now I’m really into pies.
  8. Oo what kind of pie? The last pie I made was Cherry. It was OK.
  9. Favorite meal? My favorite meal is…. Pizza!
  10. Are you a morning person? I’m becoming one.
  11. What’s your biggest pet peeve? Oo the biggest pet peeve… Rudeness
  12. What’s your favorite color? My favorite color is green
  13. How many piercings do you have? At the moment I have two in each ear
  14. What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? The best concert I’ve ever been to is One Direction
  15. Where would you go on a dream vacation? England
  16. Do you have any pets? I have two cats!
  17. What did you have for breakfast? I had a granola bar
  18. Who is your celebrity crush? My celebrity crush is Jensen Ackles
  19. Do you ever hake wishes at 11:11? No I do not
  20. Do you have a favorite Snapchat filter? No I don’t even use Snapchat
  21. What’s the most embarrassing email username you’ve ever had? Um I think it had something to do with N’SYNC
  22. Have you ever colored your hair? Yes
  23. Do you have any allergies? Yes, I am allergic to shellfish
  24. What’s something you’re proud of? I’m really proud of my degree
  25. What song have you had stuck in your head lately? “I’m The Best” by 21
  26. Do you have a drink of choice? If so, what it is? I usually stick with Blue Moon
  27. How do you cut sandwiches, diagonally or vertically? Diagonally
  28. Would you rather do a truth or a dare? Dare
  29. Do you have any siblings? I have one sister
  30. What’s your favorite season? Spring
  31. What’s your favorite board game? Sorry
  32. When was the last time you played a board game? Probably last Christmas
  33. How do you drink your coffee or tea? Black
  34. What’s your perfect pizza? Pepperoni
  35. Do you have any causes you are passionate about? I’m really passionate about education and literacy
  36. What is your favorite word? My favorite word is, “exceedingly”
  37. Do you have a favorite holiday? Halloween
  38. What’s your favorite food to order takeout? Ooo Pad Thai
  39. Most vivid childhood memory? Going to A’s games with my mom and my cousin
  40. Was the dress white and gold or blue and black? White and gold
  41. When they ship Styrofoam, what do they pack it in? Styrofoam peanuts?
  42. If you’re a vehicle going the speed of light, what happens when you turn on the headlights? Good question
  43. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie-pop? I don’t know, avoid the cavities!
  44. How do they get those boats in the tiny bottles? That is a really good question
  45. When you’re at a movie theater, which armrest is yours? Both
  46. Favorite movie? Hot Fuzz
  47. Favorite TV Show? Arrested Development
  48. Favorite childhood book? Hmm… Doctor Seuss? I don’t know!
  49. What is your guilty pleasure? My guilty pleasure is playing Minecraft
  50. Lakes or oceans? Lakes
  51. Favorite Harry Potter book? Chamber of Secrets
  52. Favorite Instagram filter? Don’t know
  53. Peanut butter, almond butter or neither? Peanut butter
  54. If you were stuck on an island for the rest of your life with only one type of food, what would it be? Probably something healthy so that I would stay alive a little bit longer so maybe a salad
  55. Favorite workout? Favorite workout is something with kettle bells
  56. Heels, flats or sneakers? Sneakers
  57. Anything else to add? Nope!

Meet Chelsea Murillo, our newest AAE!

Our latest B&O New Hire Interview is with none other than our new AAE Chelsea Murillo! She was kind enough to take time out of her crazy pitching schedule to answer our rapid-fire questions, which she handled like a pro (though we stumped her on how they ship Styrofoam). According to her, the hardest question to answer was what’s your favorite kind of cheese? To which she finally decided Brie.

This Diet-Coke-and-Moscow-Mule girl hails from San Mateo and is a proud big sister and mom to her dog and cat (hi, Lila and Max!). When she’s not jamming to The Lumineers (in Italy, no less), she probably has a Justin Bieber song stuck in her head. If you want to get on her good side, be sure to say “fabulous” a lot, but never “qupon.” Because it’s COUPON! Intrigued? Be sure to check out her Q&A video below!

  1. What’s your full name? Chelsea
  2. Where are you from? San Mateo, CA
  3. One word you use to describe yourself? Enthusiastic
  4. What is your favorite kind of cheese? That’s so hard, but brie
  5. How did you end up in PR? It kind of just happened. I fell in love with PR during one of my classes that I took in college because one of my professors was awesome, and now I’ve been in PR for a year
  6. What is your zodiac sign? Capricorn
  7. What is your favorite dessert? Anything chocolate
  8. What is your biggest pet peeve? When people pronounce it “qupon” instead of “coupon”
  9. What is your favorite color? Green
  10. How many piercings do you have? I had 3 but I took out my nose piercing
  11. What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? The Lumineers concert in Italy
  12. Where would you go on a dream vacation? Fiji
  13. Do you have any pets? One dog and one cat, Lila and max
  14. What did you have for breakfast? Breakfast burrito
  15. Who is your celebrity crush? Liam Hemsworth
  16. Do you ever make wishes at 11:11? Always
  17. What do you wish for? Anything that helps through the day. I’m like, “get me through the next hour”
  18. Do you have a favorite Snapchat filter? I like the dog one but that’s kind of basic, but I like the very interesting ones that come and go. Cant really think of any right now
  19. What is the most embarrassing email username you’ve ever had? Brunettecutie441@gmail.com
  20. Have you ever colored your hair? I’ve never colored my hair
  21. Do you have any allergies? A medication called Bacterin
  22. What is something you’re proud of? Proud to be a big sister, I have two younger sisters that look up to me. They are 21 and 18
  23. What song have you had stuck on your head recently? Let me think; well, anything Justin Bieber is always stuck in my head
  24. Do you have a drink of choice? Diet coke, Moscow mule girl. Pretty delicious
  25. How do you get to and from work? Bus
  26. How do you cut sandwiches, diagonally or vertically? Vertically
  27. Would you rather do a truth or a dare? Dare
  28. What is the craziest dare you’ve ever done?

Probably jumped into the ocean in the middle of the night

-With clothes or without?

-With clothes

  1. What is your favorite season? Summer, for sure!
  2. What is your favorite board game? Classic Monopoly
  3. When was the last time you’ve played? Probably like 6 months ago, my mom and I like to play board games
  4. How do you drink your coffee or tea? With a little bit of cream and a little bit of sugar
  5. What is your perfect pizza? Its very specific it’s from this place called Flying Goat, which is in my college town and it has a fried egg on top, and arugula and this pine sauce on top. It’s so good
  6. Do you have any causes that you are passionate about? Animal rights, I used to volunteer a lot on the San Mateo peninsula
  7. What is your favorite word? I say “fabulous” a lot
  8. Do you have a favorite holiday? I actually like Thanksgiving
  9. What is your favorite food to order in? Chinese
  10. What is your most vivid childhood memory? I was 4 years old and my aunt got a dog and we went to her house and I threw a tantrum because I wanted a dog. My mom said I kept it up for a week, and I actually didn’t get a dog until I was 8
  11. Was “the dress” white and gold or blue and black? Blue and black!
  12. When they ship Styrofoam, how do they pack it? I don’t know. A box???
  13. How many licks so it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop? That’s a great question, I think 130 maybe 140
  14. How do they get those tiny boats in those glass bottles? They probably have a machine
  15. At a movie theater, which armrest is yours? Both

 

45 Questions With: Taylor Phillips, AAE

We’re back with another B&O new hire interview and this time it’s for Miss Taylor Phillips. Taylor’s pure excitement to start working at B&O gave us the opportunity to bombard her (or possibly weird her out) with all of our crazy questions. She answered like a champ, but still left us guessing on a few (if you can ever get out of her the craziest dare she’s ever done, do share with us!)

Taylor comes to B&O from sunny San Carlos, California. When she’s not enjoying the finer things in life like red wine and brownies, Taylor’s probably hanging out with her mean cat, Mikey. A few things to remember: she’s a birthday princess and even crashed Hillary Duff’s bday party once, she’s a summer-lover (although she might be allergic to the sun), and lastly, her favorite board game is… we’ll give you a CLUE. Want to know more? Watch her Q&A video, below!

  1. What’s your full name? Taylor Phillips
  2. Where are you from? San Carlos, California
  3. One word you use to describe yourself? Fun!
  4. What is your favorite kind of cheese? Manchego cheese
  5. How did you end up in PR? Kind of just happened
  6. What is your zodiac sign? Gemini
  7. What is your favorite dessert? Brownies
  8. What is your biggest pet peeve? When people bail on me
  9. What is your favorite color? Pink… No, blue!
  10. What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? Probably Britney Spears when I was like 6.
  11. Where would you go on a dream vacation? An island or anywhere in Europe
  12. Do you have any pets? I have a cat. His name is Mikey. He is mean.
  13. What did you have for breakfast? Breakfast burrito courtesy of Blanc and Otus!
  14. Who is your celebrity crush? Nick Jonas
  15. Do you ever make wishes at 11:11? All the time
  16. What do you wish for? I usually panic and say “world peace!” I don’t know…
  17. Do you have a favorite Snapchat filter? The puppy
  18. What is the most embarrassing email username you’ve ever had? puppygirl@mac.com
  19. Have you ever colored your hair? Yeah, I dyed it black by accident one time and I also streaked it pink when I was 14
  20. Do you have any allergies? Maybe the sun
  21. What is something you’re proud of? Getting this job
  22. What song have you had stuck on your head recently? Actually have it stuck in my head right now, I don’t want to say it though I don’t know what its called – “I just can’t say it though, I just can’t say it though”
  23. Do you have a drink of choice? Coffee, was that suppose to be an alcoholic drink? Wine, red wine
  24. How do you get to and from work? BART
  25. How do you cut sandwiches, diagonally or vertically? Diagonally
  26. Would you rather do a truth or a dare? Dare
  27. What is the craziest dare you’ve ever done?

I don’t want to say it.

[Oh come on]

I’m not going to say it!

  1. Do you have any siblings? I have a sister, she is 25
  2. What is your favorite season? Summer
  3. What is your favorite board game? Monopoly…? I don’t actually know Ohh “Sorry”! Is a good one. “CLUE” “CLUE!” is the one!
  4. When was the last time you’ve played? Oh a long time ago, should have been more recent…
  5. How do you drink your coffee or tea? Coffee with cream
  6. What is your perfect pizza? Big and fluffy crust
  7. Do you have any causes that you are passionate about? Animals
  8. What is your favorite word? Facetious
  9. Do you have a favorite holiday? My birthday… it’s my holiday
  10. What is your favorite food to order in? Chinese
  11. What is your most vivid childhood memory? Going up to the lake and playing water sports and stuff
  12. Was “the dress” white and gold or blue and black? It was blue and black! I didn’t see white and gold!
  13. When they ship Styrofoam, how do they pack it? In more Styrofoam
  14. How many licks so it takes to get to the center of a toothy pop? Ahh… I always eat it before it gets there
  15. How do they get those tiny boats in those glass bottles? Beats me! Worlds mysteries
  16. At a movie theater, which armrest is yours? The left
  17. Something that people may not know about you? Hmmm… I crashed Hilary duffs birthday party once
  18. Anything else you’ll like to share? Probably not.

 

 

40 Questions With: Rachel Livingston, Intern

 

Our 40 questions series continues with our brand new (and awesome) intern, Rachel Livingston. We pulled Rachel away from her client work to one of her favorite spots in the city, the Ferry Building, and she basically made us laugh our asses off for 20 minutes as we drilled her with weird and random questions. Because, what’s better than spilling your deepest and darkest secrets on camera during your first week, at your first job?

This sunshine-loving, Marin, CA native just graduated from Miami University of Ohio six weeks ago and she’s super excited about starting her PR career at B&O with all of us “cool people” (she actually said that – we’ll let her learn the truth on her own). Rachel started at Miami as a biochemistry major but quickly transitioned to communications when her mom reminded her that, “talking was really her passion.”

If you have the pleasure of chatting with Rachel, make sure you ask her how to get the most bang for your buck at Bloomie’s and Nordstrom – she’s a shopping fanatic – and the latest Bachelorette drama… but not before 10 am on Saturday because she will be in BED. Oh, and to our Nutella or Bacon question — her response was, “is that a trick question?” Clearly we will be fast friends.

Our full Q&A is below, but jump to the bottom of the page for the highlights video!

  1. What’s your full name? Rachel Caroline Livingston
  2. Where are you from? San Francisco
  3. What’s the most exciting thing in your life right now? Just graduated college 6 weeks ago!
  4. Why are we here (the Ferry Building)? I used to take the Ferry in from Marin so it’s a special place for me.
  5. What made you want to work in PR? I started as biochemistry major but I failed miserably. My mom told me I liked to talk a lot so communications was probably a good major.
  6. If you weren’t in PR what would you do? Advertising
  7. Favorite Ice-cream flavor? Mint chocolate chip
  8. What makes you happiest? Sunshine! Beach!
  9. What makes you bored? Airplanes make me antsy.
  10. Favorite childhood themed birthday party? I had a Teletubbies themed party that was really cool, we had a Teletubbies pinata
  11. Favorite boy band? One direction… All the way man
  12. Favorite vegetable? That’s a weird one but… I like brussel sprouts a lot
  13. Favorite fruit? Watermelon
  14. Puppies or kittens? Puppies all the way
  15. Where would you like to max out your credit card? Bloomingdales or Nordstrom
  16. Bacon or Nutella? That’s a trick question… Nutella
  17. Biggest pet peeve? When people are texting at dinner
  18. Do you chew on your pen? No
  19. Number of piercings? Five
  20. Last book you read? Luckiest Girl Alive, pretty good book and pretty mysterious
  21. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Night owl
  22. What was the last dream you remember? A dream where my BFF and I were going on a date with guys and we had to convince them not to get in trouble… then we won the game… my dreams are bizarre
  23. What time do you go to bed? Working in this job? 10ish
  24. Last concert you went to? All American Rejects
  25. Can you play instruments? I used to play clarinet
  26. What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time? Read
  27. Favorite cereal? Don’t eat cereal…Frosted Flakes if I HAD to choose
  28. Worst punishment received at school? Never received punishment
  29. Any strange phobias? I don’t like feet…
  30. Where are you Friday night? A bar or out to dinner
  31. How about Saturday morning at 10 am? BED
  32. What were you like in high school? A mix of things… Probably thought I was cool but in reality most likely annoying.
  33. Last thing you watched on TV? Bachelorette
  34. Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer? Gatherer
  35. You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color are you? Bright purple or pink
  36. What would you do if you won the lotto? Take my mom on vacation, shop, save
  37. What do you think when you’re alone in the car? I don’t think, I sing
  38. What is your favorite 90s band? We had 90s night at our school, therefore “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls
  39. What animal would you be? A sloth because they can lay and relax all day
  40. What makes you most excited about working at B&O? Excited about the people because they all seem really cool!

Wait! What? April 29: Wondering why the lemon emoji is suddenly popular? #LEMONADE…and other news

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  • Siri…is this real? This week, for the first time in the company’s history, Apple reported a quarter Tim Cook deemed “challenging.” Are we looking at a one-time thing or an impending Apple apocalypse? Only time will tell.
  • Bots are the new apps, but are we letting them grow up? And does the world even need this form of conversational commerce? #deepthoughtsonbots
  • If you’re a victim of slow typer syndrome, never fear: Microsoft has released a next-word-predicting keyboard to ease your pain. The keyboard even offers the promise of faster texting via a swipe to type input.
  • Goldman goes digital route, opening doors to the masses with GS Bank, an Internet-based savings bank that consumers can enroll in for just $1. Looks like Wall St. is going a little bit more Main St.
  • Last but not least: Love, betrayal, empowerment, tribalism, family…what’s the story behind #LEMONADE? All we know is we’re hooked and there’s no turning back.

Thanks all and have an awesome weekend! We’ll be back next week with another edition of your favorite tech news, in the meantime tweet us your favorite stories @BlancandOtus!

Wait! What?: Swiftly Saves us SF commuters, Detox Me Saves the #detox game

Somehow this short week still felt like a long one and we are all feeling pretty pumped about the weekend. What better way to get you in the mood than with a few tidbits of news to jumpstart it? Happy Friday, all!

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  • Muni problems? Swifly is a Waze that just launched out of beta for SF residents dealing with moments of Muni delay and car-lessness in attempt to save us all from commuter hell. Seriously, thanks for that!
  • The battle for iPhone freedom continues: Twitter stands with Apple and Tim Cook as it opposes the courts order to help the FBI break into the phone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.
  • Still on the search for that New Year #detox? Detox Me helps users limit exposure to toxic substances by recommending which products are most toxic that you should steer clear of in the store. Combine this app with yoga & green juice and you’re all set.
  • Even Monopoly is going cashless: Hasbro shows off a brand new version that eliminates paper money. Your days of fighting over the banker position have finally come to an end.
  • Last but not least, a tribute to Harper Lee, who we will always remember: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

That’s it until next week! Tweet us @BlancandOtus with your favorite tech stories of the week 🙂

Wait! What?: Stocking Stuffers You’ll Need (Want) and Best #Popculture moments of 2015

It’s officially December, everyone, and the holidays are approaching faster than we can imagine. With winter in the air and the holidays just around the corner, we’ve picked out a few examples of this week’s fascinating tech news for you to read in between your holiday shopping trips:

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  • On the note of holiday shopping, still looking for stocking stuffers for family and friends? Look no further than Mashable’s 23 weird stocking stuffers guide. A 5-way headphone splitter, magnetic hourglass, lightsaber chopsticks … what’s not to love?
  • With the New Year rolling in shortly, it’s time to vote: what was your favorite #popculture moment of 2015? Wall Street Journal weighs in; between Adele’s “Hello” and Caitlyn Jenner announcing herself to the world, how are we supposed to pick just one?
  • In terms of food delivery apps: Are you more of a Seamless or a GrubHub person? Another company called DoorDash is knocking on the door (excuse the pun) of the food delivery app market, utilizing the same business model as Uber and partnering with more upscale restaurants than Seamless. But wait: how much are these apps costing us anyway?
  • Another Facebook update: Want to share videos of your travels or how to cook your favorite recipe? Previously reserved for celebrities and other notable users, Facebook’s live videos are now coming to your news feed.
  • Is your company thinking about upgrading any furniture, or are you just considering upgrading your desk at home? Look here for inspiration: OpenDesk is a humble wooden “smart” desk secure enough for you to keep your files in it. Hoping for other further smart furniture updates soon; stay tuned.

Any other tidbits you saw this week you want to share? Tweet us @BlancandOtus! Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Employee Spotlight: Sara Shaughnessy, AAE

I’ve always been about coming up with a unique story and so writing, a passion of mine, came into my life at an early age. As a young child (think age 4 or 5) I would spend an unusual amount of time creating stories. Writing has always brought me a feeling of contentment, a place I could retreat to, and a place I could take my mind anywhere in the world.SCS

Beginning with picture books with just a few words I soon graduated into writing longer, chapter-length books. In school, it quickly became clear I wanted to pursue writing in some way or another as I spent my days in math class doodling on the problems, drawing and brainstorming story ideas. This was ultimately why I attended Hamilton College, a small liberal arts school known for “teaching students to write effectively, learn from each other and think for themselves.”

So, after the days of college writing classes have come to a close (which I’ll admit I miss dearly), how do I satisfy my constant need to write and create in the world of PR and at Blanc & Otus? Luckily, this has proven a somewhat simple task: I’ve found it’s even easier in the world of PR, as there never seems to be a shortage of writing opportunities that tempt me to jump in and get involved. So if you’re reading this and you’re a writer, and are wondering how you use writing in PR, here are just a few ways I’ve found your imagination and writing skills can take you to new levels of success:

  1. Pitches to reporters: As someone who looked forward to those standardized tests in school when you had to pick a stance and write a persuasive essay (yes, I was weird and loved these), I find pitches an enjoyable aspect of PR as you can creatively persuade and generally be as artistic as you’d like to be.
  1. Press Releases: While much more formal, press releases require you to provide only the most pertinent information about the product/announcement, requiring you to write thoughtfully and minimize every unnecessary word. While this one is definitely more restrained, it offers a unique challenge that helps make you a more direct writer.
  1. Bylines & Blogs: While bylines typically come in the form of an assignment about a specific topic, writers have free reign to do whatever they want with the topic – again, encouraging originality. This is especially true with blog posts, which often prove much more casual and conversational, so if there’s something you have an itch to write about, just suggest it to the client and it’s usually given the green light.

So there you have it: those are just a few of the ways I find myself creatively inclined and able to let my passion for writing run free every day in the PR world. And of course, I’m still writing the occasional creative novel on the side 😉

Wait! What? A Personal Finance Coach App Saves you $ This Weekend, The UN Gets Involved With VR

TGIF! With mid-October weather in Fall swing, here’s a few tidbits from this week you can read as you cozy up this weekend (or head outside to Treasure Island for some music festival in paradise, either one).

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Is Facebook playing with our emotions?
  • Looking to save some pennies? (Aren’t we all?) Penny is a chat-based personal finance coach that’ll gives you graphs on your month’s spending, and even starts talking to you like your traditional banker. She’ll whip you into shape before you have time to waste any more money on brunch this weekend.
  • Leveraging Apple devices for research: Apple is expanding its ResearchKit program with three new studies and three new partner universities. This time, Apple will help research studies on autism, epilepsy and melanoma.
  • Diving into the psychological reasoning behind Facebook’s new emojis: Are these the reactions we actually want and need, or are they the reactions Facebook wants us to use? Facebook’s choice of Reaction buttons could be aligned with the way most people actually interact in real life social situations, says Wired.
  • The UN is getting involved in VR! One of filmmaker Chris Milks’ new projects is teaming up with the United Nations to create a series of short VR films highlighting some of the most pressing global challenges facing the organization, including the Syrian refugee crisis and climate change.
  • Rushing today? Never fear, Uber just came out with Uber Rush, a delivery service for businesses, in NYC, Chicago, and SF putting a big dent into the delivery logistics industry and making errands now our easiest chore.

That’s it for now! Tweet us your favorite stories from the week @BlancandOtus. Enjoy your weekend; we’ll see you here next week for another version of What! What?