The Heavy-Hitting Investigative Interview with NarNar

The do-it-all man, the softly spoken, laugh out loud, self-motivator in the office, Spencer Naar joined Outside PR in mid-2013 as Account Coordinator, quickly rose to Account Executive and has been kicking butt ever since. Born of the same township as the infamous James Franco, the Palo Alto native is much more charismatic and gets in far less social media hot spots, making him a real catch.

With an almost addictive obsession with running, completing his first trail ultra last year, Spenno balances work and life with an impassioned perfection rarely seen. It helps that he can go running along the spectacular Sausalito waterfront on his lunch-break too. Having worked at a yoga retreat, non-profits and an international foreign exchange company, Spenno brings a variety of dynamic skills to the table. Now, let’s bombard him like the Spanish Inquisition.

1. Name and Occupation at OPR: Spencer Naar. Two people in the office refer to me as Spenno and NarNar. Account Executive.

2. Favourite sport: I’m a big fan of trail running and came to learn it was a great way to discover new places — I would intentionally try and get lost so I could find a new way back home. I’d end up finding all sorts of gems along the way – hidden parks and dive bars in San Diego, deserted beaches in Hawaii, crazy lookout points in San Francisco, including Tank Hill, my favorite place in the city.

3. What’s your spirit animal? Elephant

Riding the Spirit Animal

Riding the Spirit Animal

4. What do you love about the PR industry and OutsidePR specifically? I like the challenge of finding new and creative ways to communicate, whether pitching a product, a brand or a story. I also enjoy the process of disseminating and sharing information. I love the people at OPR and appreciate the energy and drive they bring to work each day.

The biggest challenge is working inside while watching tourists, bikers, and wine lovers vacation below our office outside.

5. Drink of choice? Moscow Mule (Ed note: great choice)

6. Speedos or boardshorts? Boardshorts… Hawaiian-themed preferred (Ed note: another great choice. This is why he’s paid the big bucks)

7. If you had to pick one sport to do for the rest of your life, not including trail running, what would it be?  Outrigger canoeing

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This is no outrigger canoeing, but it still rules.

8. Who is your inspiration in life, personal and professional? It would definitely be my parents. They’ve taught me the value of hard work, persistence and going after what I want. They’ve also been my biggest support network.

9. What’s your jam? “For What It’s Worth”, Buffalo Springfield, or anything by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

10. What decade speaks to you? The 80s. Especially the movies: Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Christmas Vacation, Big, Back to the Future, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I love all the classics and the simplicity of films back then.

11. What has been a highlight of working at OPR so far? Jenny and Gordon’s impromptu dance parties, which quickly turn into slapping matches. It’s like watching two young children all jacked up on Mountain Dew.

jacked-up

12. What sport would you add to and which would you take away from the Olympic line-up? I would add the ultra marathon or fat bike racing and take away shooting.

13. What do you think that Public Relations adds to a brand, and why is OPR so important? I think PR adds a more in-depth and richer story to a brand in ways marketing and advertising are unable to do so. All three are important but PR more fully communicates a brands’ context and connects consumers with the heart and soul behind the product. OPR is important because we’re good storytellers, we have long-lasting personal relationships with the media and we believe in the outdoor lifestyle. We also deeply love the brands we represent and engage.

14. Can you dance? NOPE!

15. Prove it. NOPE! :)

16. Favourite quote/mantra? “Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things”. My personal favorite though is “Blessed is the man who having nothing to say abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.”

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17. If you were an item of food, what would it be? Animal-style nachos.

18. What has been the best place you’ve traveled to and why? I lived in Western Samoa for 4 months back in 2007 and the experience changed the way I looked at the world. I learned so much about culture and community. The locals were the friendliest people I’ve ever met – complete strangers would invite me into their homes for dinner. I was completely inspired by the subsistence way of living. It was eye opening to see how resourceful we can be and how simple we can live.

19. Favourite funny story that involves you? In the 5th grade I was in a Cub Scout troop and one day we were talking about government and the Executive branch. Our troop leader started shouting out questions. “Who is the president of the United States?” “Bill Clinton” we all yelled back. “Who is the Vice-President of the United States?” “Al Gore a couple of us said.” Then, our troop master threw us a curve: “Who is the Speaker of the House?” The room was silent but I confidently raised my hand and without hesitation blurted out “My Mother!”

Dominating Salt Lake City

Dominating Salt Lake City

20. 5 Things someone might not know about you:

1)- I’m a big sleep talker. Some of my friends refuse to camp with me.

2)- I can play the trumpet.

3)- I make a mean lasagna.

4)- I was named after the 80s mystery tv series Spenser: For Hire

5)- I’ve been known to rearrange furniture when I get anxious.

Winning at life

Winning at life

 

 

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20 questions with our newest member Jess Smith

Last week, OusidePR announced the addition of our new Account Manager, Jess Smith. Joining us after living in Whistler, BC the majority of her life, Jess’s active nature and enthusiasm for the outdoors meshes perfectly with the OutsidePR philosophy.

Born in Australia to Canadian parents, this nomadic world traveler has spent numerous years fully immersed in the PR, communications and marketing world. She previously served as a Brand Marketing Manager for adventure-travel start-up ZOZI and as a Communications Manager for the World Ski and Snowboard Festival in Whistler. Her adventurous spirit is evident through her passion for CrossFit, skiing, running, climbing, yoga and travel. Out of the office Jess can most commonly be seen running across the Golden Gate Bridge, hitting the slopes, or enjoying a cold local beer after one of her many activities.

Lets find out more about our spirited new member with 20 random questions:

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1)  Most impressive athletic achievement or most extreme sporting feat?

This is a throw-back but I co-captained (with my best-friend) my high school track team to an all out victory across all ages for the female team in my senior year. I was so proud of my athletes performances, their perseverance and the camaraderie.

Recently, in one year, I did my first deep-water solo climb to a 50ft jump, skied the Couloir Extreme on Whistler, did my first skydive, learned to free-dive, and ran my 2nd half-marathon. There’s still lots more to do but that was a fun one.


Jess deep-water solo climbing before the big jump

2)  Of all the places you lived, which was your favorite and/or where do you see yourself in the future?

Ooh, great question, but I don’t have a succinct answer for that one. I’ve traveled extensively in Europe, lived in Australia, Scotland, Canada, the States, visited India, Mexico and Thailand, and honestly, I can’t tell you where I love most or where I’m meant to be. Perhaps I haven’t even been there yet! I am lucky to be able to travel a bit with Outside PR and I’d definitely like to be able to keep traveling with my work in the future, who knows what it holds!

3)  What was the best trip you have been on?

Thailand was incredible, I am desperate to go back to South East Asia and really see the bare bones of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Philippines, etc

4)  3 celebrities you could go out with for a night?

Will Smith – Fresh Prince of Bel Air era

Ingrid Backstrom – She rips

Bill Murray – no justification needed

5)  Do you have any hidden talents?

I won synchronized swimming competitions when I was 13, I can highland and hip-hop dance, I used to be a Wine Director and have my level 1 wine cert (this basically just means I’m qualified to drink), I’m alright at public speaking (if it’s something I’m passionate about), I’m pretty good at legless rope climbs, burpees and being upside-down. Man, these are useless talents…

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6)  What do you like most about the PR world?

The passionate, invested team I work with. Besides being super bad-ass at a multitude of sports and life in general, they’re inspiring and hard-working. I also really love working with our clients and I adore the media relations portion of PR, that’s the social butterfly in me coming out.

7)  Guilty pleasure movie or song

Love Actually is my favorite movie. Mainly because I love Christmas, Bill Nye, Hugh Grant and British films. I have so many guilty songs that it would be social suicide to admit them. You’ll get an indication below..

8)  New sport or activity you want to get in to/start

Triathlons, casual pole-dancing (for the pure athletic and gymnastics components, of course), mountain biking

9)  What is the funniest thing that happened to you recently?

I was sitting in a cafe in Pacific Heights, emailing on my iPad, eating Quinoa Toast with organic honey butter and drinking a kale ginger smoothie, when I flicked some smoothie into my eye. It stung so bad and I quickly went from well put-together and health-conscious lady to eye-watering disheveled hipster wannabe. Not my finest moment and made me realize how difficult it is to be cool.

10)  What are some of the places people guess you are from (based on your accent)?

New Zealand is a top one, and I don’t mind that at all because Kiwi’s are bad-ass. I also get South Africa but the most common one is; “I have no idea where you’re from.. What IS that accent?”

11)  What is your biggest pet peeve?

Slow walkers and poor communicators.

12)  What did you like about ZOZI? Or what you gained most?

Great work experience in a larger start-up environment. I made great connections and it was an interesting and diverse working environment. I’m excited to see where the company goes!

13)  Any big projects you accomplished/enjoyed working on?

The 12 Days of Adventure giveaway was a super intense but very rewarding sweepstakes to coordinate.

14)  What song do you sing when nobody else is around? Or what would you sing on American Idol?

I’m a god-awful singer so American Idol is out of the question, but I’ll sing anything really. I know all the words to “Baby Got Back” so I definitely whip that out every so often. Oh, geez, “Eye of the Tiger” too. Classic.

15)  3 things you would bring to a desert island?

GU Energy! A knife (Crocodile Dundee style) and a water filter.

16)  Most embarrassing moment?

I’ve lost my top a bunch of times in the surf and jumping into the water, but it happens so often it’s not that embarrassing anymore. Most other moments are probably not suitable for public consumption.

17)  Drink of choice at a bar?

Classy night: Red wine

Not so classy night: Vodka grapefruit

Apres: Beer and Caesars

18)  Favorite Aussie saying?

“Bloody oath, mate”. Translation: “That’s the truth, friend”.

But really, I don’t speak Australian anymore.

19)  Who is your celebrity crush?

Rory Bushfield. James Franco. There’s more but I don’t want to bore you.

20)  What do you like/dislike about moving to San Francisco?

LOVE the environment here. The synergy between city-scape and outdoors space is electric and you have so many choices of things to do, see, feel, experience here. It’s a great mid-way place for me, after living in the mountains but wanting a city-feel, without leaving the great outdoors behind. The rent situation is rather yuk, but I have no problem with sleeping in the office if it comes to that.

All in all, I adore San Francisco for the diverse culture, interesting people, incredible history and beautiful views.

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Secrets from the big man behind the reports

The most crucial cog in any PR agency wheel is the often un-sung, less than glamorous account coordinator position.  Responsible for endless spreadsheets, media reports, and constantly knee deep in shipping requests, this person carries the tedious torch of metephorically (and sometimes physically) doing quick feet until one of us shouts, “Can you send me a list of (insert any brand here) hits for the month of February?!” or “Can you put together a shipment of GU for (insert editor here) – you’ll have you figure out the mailing address!”

Fortunately, here at OutsidePR, we’ve managed to acquire one who not only does all of the above, but can dunk a basketball, surf a mean break at Ocean Beach and knows all the lyrics to most, nay, all Beyonce songs.

Friends, family and colleagues, meet our main man and account coordinator, Alex Ryan.

Rob Stark

Alex rockin’ the Game of Thrones look

A recent grad of University of Oregon (GO DUCKS!), Alex was born and raised just north of Sausalito in beautiful San Anselmo where his family still resides.  A jock from the word go, Alex grew up playing basketball and surfing the numerous breaks along the Northern California coast.  When he’s not jamming boxes full of Road ID’s and Pearl Izumi, he’s coaching basketball, getting barreled or escaping to Cal Poly or Oregon to visit friends.

Graduation

In hopes to peel back the onion and find out more about our 6’4″ Roger Federer look-alike, we interviewed Alex to find out what really makes the master of all things google drive tick.

Q: What is your sport of choice?
A: My sport of choice would definitely be basketball. That answer has been the same ever since I could talk. I have played it all my life and I have coached for the last six years. Over the last few years I have really become more of a runner and I keep surprising myself by how much I am starting to enjoy it.
Q: Where is your happy place? And what are you doing in your happy place?
A: Without any doubt my happy place is the beach. I usually surf a couple times a week, everyday if I am lucky (It helps that the OutsidePR office is so close to Cronkhite). Whether I am with a group of friends or by myself, I always enjoy being in the water if the conditions are decent.
Q: What is the best part of working at OutsidePR?
A: The best part of working at OutsidePR is that I am able to work in the sports industry. Sports has been my predominant passion my whole life and I am very lucky to be in an industry that I am so interested in. Along with that, I really love how it is always encouraged to be more active in our daily lives.
Q: What is the worst?
A: The worst part about working here is that I am the worst runner here. I thought I was pretty fit until I started here.
Q: Favorite outdoor brand?
A: My favorite outdoor brand would be Patagonia. I love their apparel (especially my wetsuit), but also all the environmental work they do.
Q: If you had to trade places with a rapper for a day, who would it be?
A: I would definitely switch places with Macklemore because he just always seems to be having fun doing whatever he does.
Q: Guilty pleasure song you’d turn up if alone in a car but turn off if you had someone riding with you?
A: Mostly anything Beyonce, so right now “Drunk In Love” is a favorite of mine.
Q: Do you have any hidden talents?
A: My hidden talent is that I am great with little kids. I actually started as an education major at the University of Oregon and switched to business.
Q: What exotic pet would you like to have?
A: If I could have and exotic pet I’d have a spider monkey. Kind of like the one in Hangover 2, but not for doing drug deals.
Q: What’s it like growing up with all sisters?
A: I have seen way too many chic flicks, but I usually get out of doing the dishes.
Q: What movie can you quote word for word?
A: Space Jam. Its kind of embarrassing how many times I have seen it.
Q: Favorite quote or words to live by?
A: The quote I have started to live by more was taped on my desk here before I started here and really fits the OutsidePR lifestyle, “Life is about experiencing all the things you find interesting and fascinating. Just get out there and experience as much as you can. Participate in life.”

-Louie Zamperini
SnowboardingShredding
So there you have it.  If you need a good babysitter, information on the best NorCal surf break or someone to do a Crazy in Love duet with you…come see our boy Alex!
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The Way, Way Back

When you have a two-year-old and a six-month-old, you tire easily; you look for excuses to sit down.  And yes, that even means, for a guy, peeing like a lady.  Don’t judge.

So it was there, on the throne, that I first decided to try “adventure racing” — after reading about it in my wife’s copy of Conde Nast Women’s Sports + Fitness (now long, lamentedly gone).  The article talked about a “Hi-Tec Adventure Race,” something a reasonably fit adult could take on, something less brutalizing and impossible than the multi-day adventure races I’d heard about called the “Raid Gauloises” and the “Eco-Challenge.”

That was in December, 1997, and by the following June, I was on a hardtail Trek Antelope 930, bouncing around Folsom Lake with two buddies: Austin Murphy and Jeff Rowser.  

That race was a seminal moment.  I had owned my own PR firm for three years, yet was still stuck doing work for insurance companies and law firms.  But from the moment I finished my first, tiny adventure race, everything changed.  Within months, I had done my first (unpaid) work in the endurance field.  Very shortly after that, we had our first paying clients in the industry.

In another two years, our old agency name was gone — changed to OutsidePR.  I learned how to actually pronounce “Raid Gauloises” and became the media director of the Primal Quest.

By 2005, all of our clients save one were fitness and outdoor-related.

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There’s a lot to laugh at in this photo — and please feel free to comment (who wears gloves in a multi-sport race?  Could my shorts get any shorter, or more purple?), but by 2003, Austin and I were competing in, and doing well in, multiday races of our own.

Now, my two babies are both teenagers — and one of them is in college.  OutsidePR has been around the block and represents some of the best brands in the outdoor industry.  But none of that would have happened without that first race, that first exposure to the endurance lifestyle.  It’s funny, what sneaks up on you and grabs your heart.  This race did — it changed my life — and I’ve never looked back.

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$13 Bucks Per MIle

Here at OutsidePR, we run.  A lot.  And we like to pin on a race bib now and then.  But when one of our staffers was mulling an entry to the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington D.C., she got a bit of a shock.

Entry fee?  $175.  That’s $13.36 per mile, and that isn’t the worst of it.  To enter, you must also register yourself with “Nike+,”, which is NIke’s portal for marketing, community, and technology.  They want your data, because they want to sell you stuff.

The event is so popular that even giving up your personal data to a multi-billion dollar company — and coughing up what constitutes half of a semester’s tuition when I went to UCLA — still doesn’t get you into the race.  No, that’s done via a drawing from applicants, because the event is “sold out.”

I don’t begrudge Nike trying to make a buck, but fees like this help explain the rise of bandit races, which ultimately undermine traditional races.  It’s self-defeating in the long run, and with the data mining added on, a poor reflection on one of America’s biggest brands.

If, despite all that, you’re into it — go ahead and check it out here.

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Listening is always good

Listening is always good

We caught this recent stick-save thanks to Gawker Media.  Someone in the General Motors PR department was listening closely to the internet grapevine and discerned that the idea of their marketing cohorts was…just wrong.  So Chevy pulled the plug on a marketing tactic that would have offended many, and made many more cringe.  Kudos, Chevy, for listening hard.

 

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The Man, The Myth, The Legend

It’s not often one can say they met a legend.  

What’s even more uncommon is when one can say they got to shake a legend’s hand, mutter a few “I love your work” sentiments and slink back off into the crowd.  

And the most unbelievable experience is one in which you not only say hello (while managing to not be creepy) but actually enjoy multiple beers with a legend in the smoky backyard of San Francisco’s most hipster bar Zeitgeist.
 
Well friends – myself and fellow OutsidePR lackey Jeff Howard can say just that.
 
We recently had the honor of not only meeting the Founding Father of Mountain Biking, Mr. Gary Fisher, but sat in this legend’s presence for over an hour listening to the endless antidotes, wisdom and insight from the man who changed the face of traditional cycling as we know it.
 
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The man, the myth, the legend – Gary Fisher
 
Now for those of you non-bike geeks whose head doesn’t nod in immediate awe of Gary Fisher’s accomplishments and contributions to the bicycling world (or didn’t click on that handy link above like any sane internet using person would) – let me regale you with some facts.
 
Gary Fisher began his career in 1963 at the young age of 12, competing in road and track races in the Amateur Bicycle League of America.  Only a few years later in 1968, he would be suspended from racing for having long hair.  It wasn’t until two years later in the dawn of the 1970s that Fisher manages to shake the long hair ban, get back into racing and become a Category 1 USCF Road Racer.
 
In the meantime, yearning for a bike he could ride off-road, “away from the cops and concrete,” Gary and a few friends started tinkering with parts, grafting gears with moto parts and eventually created bikes that could be taken down Mt Tam’s steep and treacherous Repack road.
 
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Fisher tearing it up old school
 
By the end of the 1970s, Gary and friend Charlie Kelly took these innovative models and started a company called Mountain Bikes.  For the next two decades Fisher manages to found the National Off-Road Bicycle Association (NORBA), introduce front suspension fork and suspension ready geometry, have his personal Gary Fisher Bike Co purchased by Trek, and be named by Smithsonian as the “Founding Father of Mountain Biking.”  
 
So yeah, he’s KIND of a big deal.
 
Needless to say when we learned through our buddies at Bicycling Magazine that Gary Fisher would be joining us at Zeitgeist, Jeff and I celebrated…then panicked, celebrated again, researched Fisher, panicked again and finally set off to see the man himself.
 
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Jeff and I celebrating 
 
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Jeff and I arguing over who gets to hug him first – I won
 
What transpired from there was nothing short of surreal.  As we sat with the Bicycling Mag gents (who really are responsible for luring Fisher there – so thank you Matt and Andrew) – I couldn’t help but sense the crowd shift when Gary rolled in.  It was like these hipsters knew greatness had entered the patio.  You could just feel his presence.
 
Now, if dapper and eccentric had a baby…that baby would likely be named Gary Fisher.  Mixing perfectly pressed jeans with a sleek button down shirt, vest AND tie – he looked like someone who strolled out of a magazine.  Or possibly an older, more rugged, bike riding, version of Justin Timberlake.  Less boy band, more bad ass.
 
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Justin Timberlake – Cool (in the eyes of some)
 
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Gary Fisher – Cool (in the eyes of all)
 
Anyway…back to our magical evening.  
 
Over the next hour, Jeff, myself and the Bicycling guys listened in rapt attention to the many stories and insight Gary shared about his experience in the bike world.  You can tell this man truly lives and breathes everything bike related.  He talked passionately about not only wanting to get more kids on bikes, but more engaged in mountain biking in general.  He also spoke highly of the work he does with Trek and seems to follow a mantra of “Get more people riding bikes. Period.”
 
Truthfully, at times I forgot I was sitting with a legend, and instead almost felt like I was having a beer with a fun uncle.  Because despite the incredible contributions he has made to the bike community, he remains intensely humble and amazingly down-to-earth.  Which makes for the immediate feeling like you can try to hug him at the end of the night, which I definitely did – don’t worry it went well.
 
Now this might be the point you want picture proof that this isn’t just a whacky tale for the blog but an actual occurrence.  Well I’m sorry…there is no picture proof.
 
Come on, Jeff and I are way smoother than that!  You don’t go asking for a picture with a bike LEGEND when you’re chatting over beers!
 
Actually we’re not that cool – we simply forgot to ask.  The only thing we could rationalize was that because of his candid and charismatic nature, it was easy to detach the heavy “legend” title from the jean jacket wearing man across the picnic table from us…and thus forget to document this amazing evening.
 
Either way, picture or no picture…we did meet the man, the myth, the legend, Mr. Gary Fisher.  And he was awesome!  Completely beyond what I would have imagined from someone of his status in the bike world.  
 
A true innovator, gentleman, and legend – Fisher serves an example of what it means to be bold, think outside the box and always follow your passion.  Even if that passion includes a full jean outfit or crazy facial.  
 
Hey if you got it, flaunt it right?
 
 
Jenny
 
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OutsidePR Blog Policy

By Gordon Wright

Gordon Wright as a young man (right).

“County finals?  I didn’t even know you were running track.”

My mom, who was raising two kids on her own, was far too busy to know that in my eighth-grade year, I was running track for Neil Cummins Junior High School.

“Yeah.  I kind of need a ride, because it’s at College of Marin.”

“When is the meet?”

“Um…in about an hour.”

After grinding her teeth for a bit, Mom calmly put down her Saturday morning coffee, changed out of her sweats, and bundled my gangly 13-year-old body into our Mercury Cougar.

On the way to the local community college, she asked what events I was running.  “Sprints,” I said, “The 100, 200 and the 4×100 relay.”

It was the relay that worried me.  We weren’t a fast squad, and we’d be facing fearsome Del Mar of Tiburon and their legendarily fast anchor, Jim Detomasi.*

After a fairly quiet ride, my mom glanced at my shoes.  They were clunky, awful things — canvas and suede proto-tennis shoes that merged all the performance benefits of Hush Puppies with the weight savings of backpacking expedition boots.

“Honey, are you running in those?”

Well, yes, I was.  I had been, all year.  Things were pretty tight, post-divorce, and I didn’t want to ask my Mom to buy me new running shoes when my boats still had a good sixteen or seventeen years left on them.  Plus, we needed to…you know – eat.

With a sigh of resignation, my Mom took a quick detour, over my protestations, to the local sporting goods store, and spent $35 dollars she didn’t have to buy me a pair of fly Nikes.

We didn’t beat Del Mar that day, but I flew in those shoes.  I wore them until they were so threadbare that my Mom threw them in the garbage, where I found them, pulled them out, and wore them another year.

Bottom line is: I don’t like to ask for stuff.  I’d rather suffer for ages than ask for anything.

Which brings me to bloggers.

Way back in 2007, when we first started really devoting ourselves to publicizing our clients to the blog world, we made a critical decision: we would treat bloggers like journalists.

This had a profound effect: because we treated all bloggers seriously, because we devoted the same sort of care and diligence to our interactions with them, they responded well to us.  Our clients, in turn, have enjoyed expansive coverage in the blogosphere.  Everyone wins.

But things have changed.

As of this writing, two new trends are developing that has caused us to write our very first Policy Statement Regarding Blogs.

The first trend that we are noticing is the proliferation of blogs that ask for product from our clients despite the fact that they don’t have any readers.

I do not understand this.

If you don’t have any readers, you may have a blog, but it is not a blog that is a credible outlet for our clients.  There are dozens of blog posts devoted to the subject of developing readership, and developing that audience should be a requirement before you approach a brand or PR agency to review their gear.

I’m not trying to be harsh.  You may write beautiful, thoughtful prose, but if you’re asking for gear for your blog, and you have no readership, or very small readership, it isn’t a proper venue to ask for free gear, for one simple reason: our clients are commercial enterprises.  They absolutely believe in giving product away, but only if it increases their sales, and they can’t do that if you don’t have an audience.

How big an audience?  That’s a fair question.  You don’t need to be as big as Beth Risdon or Steve Stenzel, but let’s take them as examples.  Not all blog sites are listed in measuring sites like Quantcast, but those two are, and that tells us that they have 54,511 visits per month (Beth) and 15,301 (Steve) trending over the past six months.  Those are big numbers; in Beth’s case, almost as large as some magazines.

Let’s just take our own agency blog as an example.  We have about 115 monthly readers and most of our posts get zero or maybe one comment.  Would we feel ok about asking for free gear to review?  No, because we simply don’t draw a big enough audience.  We recently got a request from a blogger to provide him a very expensive pair of running shoes to review.  He seems like a great guy, but his site is ranked 30,000,000 by Alexa; while our own site ranks somewhere around 9,000,000th.  We did not send him shoes; only an apology.

What about other social media functions that support your blog?  Well, yeah, we count that too.  If you have a bigger Facebook network (we have a very small audience of 578 Likes) or Twitter  following (we have 862 followers), then at least that counts towards your overall audience.  But if you have fewer followers/friends than we do?  You probably shouldn’t ask for gear.

We work with hundreds of blogs.  We love bloggers.  Build your audience and come see us – we’d love to get you free gear, as long as it makes business sense for our clients.

Which brings us to a second Policy Statement Regarding Blogs.  This hearkens back to the manner in which we treat bloggers: like journalists.  We have noticed, increasingly, that some blogs ask for money in exchange for reviews.

Again, I do not understand this.

We work with media outlets ranging from UltraRunning Magazine to the New York Times.  They do not ask for money, and neither should you.

“But that’s my economic model,” you say.  OK, that’s fine, but we still won’t pay.  If you ask us, we recoil like slugs in a salt storm.

“But big PR firms do it all the time,” you say?  Fine.  But they and the blogs they’re working with are not doing PR, they’re doing something else, something that isn’t proper journalism.

We’re a bit old school about it, and we’re not going to change.

TL;DR?  Develop an audience, please, before asking for gear.  And if you work in a journalistic way, we’ll treat you like the journalist you are.

Feel free, as they say, to leave a comment.

 

*Jim Detomasi, weirdly, is still a big part of my life.  I wound up playing high school rugby and club rugby with him, and college rugby against him. We even served as a pair of wings together on a Divison One club in San Francisco.  Today, Jim is my insurance agent, though I am, finally, faster than he is.

 

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See Ya, Surf-face: Scott and Lobstapot South of the Border

Happy New Year, OPR friends and adoring fans! (Don’t you laugh, haters; they do exist.)

We’re kicking off 2013 with a fond farewell and an invitation to adventure. Sad news first: Beloved OPR Account Executive and Resident Bodhi, Scott Surface, has left the building. Not for greener pastures, but for bluer waters: he’s on a multi-month, seriously badass surf journey south of the border. Our dear Surf-face took off for Nicaragua Jan. 9, and is currently kickin’ it with the locals and the occasional German tourist in the small surf town of Playa Gigante. Keep up with his adventures on his blog, Lobstapot.

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Scotty surfing at Playa Amarillo, giving the folks at home a board’s-eye view. Dig that sunset.

After we got drunk and smashed a cat pinata in his honor (pictures or it didn’t happen? BOOM), we attempted to articulate just why Scott is so special. Here’s our tribute. You’ll laugh; you’ll cry; you’ll grab a surfboard and head for the horizon. We hope you’ll also feel inspired to share your favorite Scott stories in the comments.

Gordon Wright, OutsidePR President

I miss Scott like I’m missing a limb.  A hairy, surf-bleached and very athletic limb.  What people don’t know about Scott is that he put in a few extended periods of serving as a Manny for my two teenage sons, Will and Griff, who idolize him.  One day, they were all out surfing, and some older teenager started hassling Will and Griff.  It got a bit heated, to the point where my sons were invited to paddle in to shore to “take a beating.”  Hearing the commotion, Scott paddled placidly over, and defused the situation by noting that the dickhead teen would have to go through him first.  Scott Surface: Line-up enforcer, PR savant, ambassador to the world.

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Scott and Will, conquering the two-wheeled world

Devon Sibole, OPR Account Manager and Carpe Diemer

Scott is a colorful bundle of wonderful.  We met each other at a media agency in 2008 and became fast friends, eventually both landing jobs at OPR shortly thereafter.  For the past 5 years, Scotty has pretty much been my better half, helping to make work trips absolutely hilarious and incredibly enjoyable. Outside of work, he’s even more magical.  From impromptu dance parties in the middle of Highway 1 and toga country line dancing to tent high-jumping and getting weird in Salt Lake City, Scotty has played such a huge and FUN part of my life.  Miss ya, buddy!

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Devon and Scott, sporting their bestest vestests. (Apparently, Scott was feelin’ the sleeveless Sasquatch look.)

Jenny Radloff, OPR Account Manager and Resident Redhead

When I think of Scott the first thing that pops to mind is the day I met him.  Bounding down the stairs of the old OPR headquarters in the Presidio, Scott greeted me with a big smile, eyes full of life and shiny hair (that always managed to make me jealous and self-conscious of my wild mane).  Relaxed, fun-loving and endlessly level-headed, from day one Scott was the calm in the wild crazy storm of OutsidePR that helped a newbie like me stay afloat.  Between his baby-sized feet and Grand Canyon-sized heart, Scott managed to make the ladies swoon (that shiny Justin Bieber hair slayed ‘em) and the fellas love him.  Easy to laugh with and even easier to learn from, Scott always delivered a magical balance of bro and brains that made him a truly special cog in the OutsidePR wheel.

Jeff Howard, OPR Multimedia Meister and Snow Whisperer

As the resident pretty boy, Scott loved whooping over his blond hair and making sure his silver jewelry shined brightly.  On one cold November morning, Scott asked me to take a head shot for a magazine he was featured in.  I took some artistic liberties and this is the shot. It looks like he should have slept a little bit more and laid off the Norwegian Licorice before the photo shoot. Miss you buddy!

 

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OPR bids Scott an alcohol-aided farewell. From left Devon, Gordon, Becca, Jenny, Jeff and the Soul Surfer himself.

Next week: New OPR cadet Becca says hello, and we relive the greatness of the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City. If you just can’t wait seven days for more OPR wit and wisdom, stalk us on the social medias:

-Like us on Facebook

-Follow us on Twitter @Outside_PR

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Lit Up: The Sausalito Lighted Boat Parade

Cavalo_xmas_2012

Being from the Northeast, I grew up well accustomed to long, cold winters.  I lived for pond hockey.  I thought it was normal for my toes to freeze every time I skied.  I prayed for blizzards in April, hoping to build one final igloo before the emergence of spring.

Today, I’m what New Englanders would call “soft”.  It’s been five years since I left Massachusetts for Northern California and I can’t say I have had any regrets.  Life in the Bay Area is too good.  It never gets too hot & humid in the summer, there are activities aplenty and more importantly, the temperatures never (ever) drop below freezing for a significant amount of time.  In fact, I’ve seen it “snow” here at sea level just once.  A brief flurry attempted to blanket Market Street with an elegant carpet of white, yet the bricks and asphalt would not comply.

One of the main reasons for my pilgrimage to the west coast was to find a place where ocean activities are a year round staple.  While San Francisco is a far cry from San Diego, you can surf through the winter without any real worry of extremities falling off, motoring to ice-free marina front bars is no problem, and the occasional beach day does indeed pop up in January.

One oceanic event I particularly look forward to each winter is the Sausalito Lighted Boat Parade—a main attraction during the annual Winter Fest in Sausalito. Combining gaudy Chevy Chase inspired Christmas lights , carols blaring over outdated yacht loudspeakers, and a dedicated city-front firework display, this event is the perfect union of holiday and oceanic festivity.

This Saturday, December 8th marks the 25th Anniversary of the event.  From the deck of my friend Matt’s fine sailboat, Cavallo, I plan on taking in the splendor of the celebration and downing my fair share of egg-nog.  It’s sure to be a fun one in this not-so-wintery wonderland.

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