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The Conversation Group Provides Business Leaders With More Scalable Ways to Discover, Engage and Interact With their Constituents

Developed in Consultation With Technorati and Other Leading Technology Companies, Agency Vows to “Close the Gap Between Silicon Valley And Main Street”

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., and LONDON, U.K. – September 10, 2007 – The Conversation Group (TCG), a new global communications agency, opened its doors today vowing to "close the gap between Silicon Valley and Main Street." Devoted to the art and science of participatory media — blogs, social networks, and other environments where people openly converse — TCG works with a broad range of business leaders to dramatically scale their ability to discover, engage and interact with their constituents, wherever they may be. TCG’s services today include strategy, creative and technology support for integrated marketing and communication campaigns, large-scale events, and community-guided product development — a breadth of services designed to support meaningful interaction with customers, partners, employees, and influencers.

The agency’s first clients include SAP, a global technology company; BuzzLogic, a leader in helping companies understand and leverage the power of influence within Social Media; and Technorati, a pioneer in participatory media which is partnering with TCG to provide a new channel for products and services.

The Emergence of Market Conversations

Developed in consultation with Technorati and other leading technology vendors, the agency evolved in response to the growing demand from global brands that are seeking better ways to participate in the new communications landscape.

“For many business leaders, particularly in marketing, there’s no question that there’s value in discovering and supporting the market conversations that are happening today, online and offline,” said Ted Shelton, Managing Partner of TCG. “But the question is ‘how’? More and more, businesses are beginning to understand that participatory media requires strategy, creativity and technology expertise.”

To meet this market demand, the agency has assembled a deep bench of talent from a variety of disciplines including technology, PR, advertising, interactive marketing, and offline events.

"The emergence of participatory media has created many opportunities for leaders in marketing," said David Thorpe, Senior Partner and Global Director of Innovation at Ogilvy. "That’s why we are so enthusiastic about our partnership. The Conversation Group has already provided superb counsel and creative support for a number of our global clients. We are looking forward to talking about the results of these campaigns and others in the near future."

The management team also includes executives who have successfully built global brands and consultancies.

“The opportunity for participatory media is a global opportunity,” said Director Mark Adams, a founding partner of U.K.-based Pembridge Partners LLP, and co-founder of Text100, a global PR agency. “This is the age of the global village, where real market conversations are happening across geographic boundaries. To be effective requires the ability to truly understand how new communication technologies are evolving, region by region. TCG has made the commitment to gaining that perspective, and its clients will certainly benefit.”

TCG Management

The core team comes from a variety of disciplines in technology, marketing, and corporate communications:

Ted Shelton, Managing Partner
Ted has spent the past 20 years working in the high tech industry, as a software developer and executive in both public and privately held companies. Most recently Ted developed a new participatory media platform called The Personal Bee, which was acquired by Technorati in early 2007. Ted has been active in re-envisioning Technorati’s product roadmap and business strategy and as a part of this effort created The Conversation Group as a key Technorati partner. Prior roles include Chief Strategy Officer of Borland Software and Senior VP of Sales and Marketing for WhoWhere.

Giovanni Rodriguez, Chairman/Partner
Giovanni has spent 25 years working in corporate communications. Recently he served as a principal at Eastwick Communications, a leading Silicon Valley PR agency. Giovanni left Eastwick in 2006 in order to found Hubbub, a communications consultancy focused on the integration of PR and participatory media into the traditional marketing mix. Giovanni has merged Hubbub into The Conversation Group. Known for his work in positioning and introducing new technologies, he has consulted for a broad range of technology leaders including Fujitsu, SAP, HP, Business Objects, and VMware.

Chris Heuer, Partner
Chris has been working in digital strategy for over 13 years. Most recently, Chris formed the Social Media Club to bring together people interested in exploring important issues of ethics, practices and standards. He is currently working on a book called "Listen. Join. Start. The Social Media Playbook" which serves as the framework for how he helps company’s engage in market conversations. Previously Chris started an Interactive Agency in 1994, built a local content network, served as Chief of eBusiness for the US Mint, designed an advanced Content Management System for a Fortune 1000 company and taught interactive marketing at Miami Ad School.

Stephanie Agresta, Partner
Stephanie has more than 12 years of experience in the industry. She started her career with iVillage and has taken prominent sales, marketing and business development roles with Internet powerhouses including Barnes &,, SpaFinder, Foxtons and Commerce360. She is an expert in online marketing and web2.0 strategies, an industry speaker for trade show and panel discussions, and has been quoted in major publications such as Crain’s Business News, Realtor Magazine, Revenue and ClickZ.

Peter Hirshberg, Board of Directors
Peter has spent 30 years in high tech and luxury product marketing and most recently has served as Chief Marketing Officer and Chairman of the Executive Committe for Technorati. Peter was a key member of Apple’s marketing team for nine years, including at the time of the Macintosh introduction in the early 1980s. Peter went on to develop and sell Elemental Software to Macromedia and then became the CEO of Gloss, a multi-brand ecommerce business co-owned by Estee Lauder Companies, Chanel and Clarins.

Mark Adams, Board of Directors
Mark has spent nearly 20 years in technology marketing and 10 in corporate finance. He co-founded the global technology PR firm, Text 100, which grew to become Next Fifteen Communications, owner of other marketing communications operations such as Bite and OutCast Communications, and which is listed on London’s AIM stock market. He is now a Partner with Pembridge Partners LLP, a UK-based finance and investment firm specialising in the media, internet and creative sector where he has served as non-Executive Director and advises on M&A and MBO transactions.

About The Conversation Group

The Conversation Group is a new global communications agency devoted to the art and science of participatory media. We work with a broad range of business leaders to dramatically scale their ability to discover, engage and interact with their constituents, whereever they may be. Our services today include strategy, creative, and technology support for integrated communication campaigns, large-scale events, and community-guided product development. The agency is incorporated in the U.S. and the U.K.

Contact: Giovanni Rodriguez 650-279-8415, giovanni [a]


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