I am a geek and proud of it. I blame growing up with one of the earliest personal computers (the Commodore PET), a father who programmed spelling and math quizzes for us kids using Basic, plus a steady childhood viewing diet of Star Trek and Doctor Who.
While I always was intrigued by technology, my career in tech PR was a happy accident – the haphazard result of getting caught in a rain storm on the way to one of my earliest job interviews, determination to make my resume stand out using this newfangled thing called desktop publishing, and being in the right place at the right time. Throw in curiosity, ambition, a head for business and a love for communications and fast-forward 25 years later to right now.
Technology is in my blood. I am a mobile and social addict – and a bonafide nomaophobe. My job, like other technology PR pros and the media that covers this dynamic industry, demands that we operate at the warp speed of the technology industry. It’s exhilarating, to say the least.
So it should come as no surprise that late May/early June, for me, is the most wonderful time of the year as two of the tech titans host their annual developer conferences – Google I/O which opened yesterday and Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference which starts June 8.
Who do I care so much? Why do I block off my schedule so I can watch the live streams. Why do I obsessively follow the live blogs and reporter tweets from the keynotes? Why do I geek out?
Because these events shape the industry for the next six to twelve months. They arm developers with foundational tools to create the next era of business and consumer technology, to push the innovation envelope and, to quote Captain Kirk “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” They will influence everything from enterprise mobility to healthcare, payments, entertainment and education, to connected cars and smart homes, wearables and many other new flavors of mobile technology, applications and user experiences that will become the fabric of our lives - not just the stuff of scifi.
There was so much announced today at Google I/O that my head is still spinning but the nice folks at The Next Web published a handy recap here. And the rumor engine is already abuzz with details about iOS 9 and a new Apple Watch development kit, speculated for their big reveal at Apple’s WWDC in just 10 days time (yes, I’m counting.)
Other than feeding my innate obsession with all things technology, this is also the most wonderful time of the year, from a PR perspective. I like to call it “the big payoff.” Here’s why:
1. Rapid response pitching: this is prime time for sharing pithy expert insights. What is your reaction to the news? What’s missing? Can you help contextualize? (Read here for some timely tips on rapid response pitching and the importance of the one-line pitch.)
2. Return on relationships: It’s times like these when all the effort spent developing and nurturing key media relationships pays off. Even better, set yourself up for success. Ahead of each event, let your media contacts know that your experts are on standby to provide comment and analysis. Chances are they’ll be on the lookout for your input over the barrage of other pitches they’ll inevitably receive.
3. Pitch and content material: These events signal what’s going to be topical for months to come, informing a slew of new, proactive pitch topics and content.
4. Listen, learn and get smart: By closely following Google I/O and Apple WWDC, you’ll immerse yourself in the industry - its vernacular, the ecosystem and so on. By doing so, you can ask better questions, provide more informed counsel, and build and tell better stories.
I hope you too are today reveling in the afterglow of Google I/O while at the same time clearing your schedule and making plans for Apple’s upcoming WWDC. Geek on, fellow tech PR pros.