A Healthy Handshake

Patricia Salber and Anne Giles Clelland
Patricia Salber, founder and CEO of the crowdfunding site for health technology startups Health Tech Hatch, shares a Handshake 1.0 with Anne Giles Clelland, founder of Handshake 2.0 and co-founder of health startup Cognichoice(TM), the behavioral health software platform.  They met at the mHealth Summit.

Yasmine Rezai of Health Tech Hatch was quoted in 4 Crowdfunding Mistakes for Social Entrepreneurs to Avoid by Devin Thorpe for Forbes on 12/5/2012.

Health Tech Hatch is on Facebook and Twitter.

View all the Handshake 1.0 photographs on Handshake 2.0
Submit a Handshake 1.0 to Handshake 2.0.

10 Facts About The Business Lounge

The Business Lounge is designed to offer entrepreneurs an innovative co-working space.  It is ideal for freelancers, start-ups and work-remote companies who aren't quite ready for a permanent office space but would like the professionalism of a downtown location.  The Business Lounge is headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia.

Samantha Steidle and Anne Giles Clelland

The Business Lounge also:

  1. is a new coworking space in downtown Roanoke that offers small business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs a space to work outside of their homes.
  2. is co-owned by Samantha Steidle, owner of Virtual Marketing and Dan McDilda, owner of McDilda Photography.
  3. is affordable! Memberships start at just $100/month.
  4. is flexible. The Business Lounge allows members to have the freedom to plug in and out whenever they want (just like a gym).
  5. creates a physical social network. Members work together creatively, share business ideas and collaborate on projects.
  6. offers a great location and downtown address for members to meet with clients and run their business in downtown Roanoke.
  7. is one of many co-working spaces all over the world. The concept of coworking was invented in 2005 in San Francisco. The Business Lounge is Roanoke’s first coworking space.
  8. offers many resources and amenities: Wifi, printing and office supplies as well as access to an attorney regarding legal questions and marketing advice from Virtual Marketing.
  9. has been featured in the news on WSET’s Living in the Heart of Virginia, the Roanoke Times and by WSLS.  See the Business Lounge's videos and news for links.
  10. is a fun place to be! We have events going every day, including Wine Wednesday by Wine Gourmet,  Viva la Thursday by Viva la Cupcake and Froth Coffee Fridays.

In the photo, Samantha Steidle, founder of the Business Lounge, and Anne Giles Clelland, founder of Handshake 2.0, share a Handshake 1.0.

Photo by Rachael Keshishian

Those interested in The Business Lounge can read more about the Business Lounge on Handshake 2.0, learn more about coworking, view upcoming events, fill out an online application, or call 540-397-4377.

A Galactic Handshake

Anne Giles Clelland with Sine Hjort, owner of Juniper Galaxy
I was enchanted to meet Sine Hjort, owner of Juniper Galaxy, and share a “Handshake 1.0” with her during a recent trip to New York.  Sine is Juniper Galaxy’s buyer as well and features personally-selected designer fashions in her Brooklyn, New York boutique.

Juniper Galaxy was featured in Time Out New York’s Shopping Guide and reviewed by CarrollGardensPatch: “Juniper Galaxy offers the experience of shopping at an upscale boutique – at wholesale prices.”

Handshake 2.0’s next Handshake 1.0 with Sine Hjort will be on a shopping trip to Juniper Galaxy – hopefully on Thursday Therapy!

Juniper Galaxy is on Facebook and Twitter.

View all the Handshake 1.0 photographs on Handshake 2.0 and submit your own Handshake 1.0 to Handshake 2.0.

A Handshake 1.0, Because of Handshake 2.0, After Year 3.0

I remember those heady first days of launching Handshake 2.0 in July, 2008.  I wrote posts for the site, created its pages - About was the first – and worked with Alex Edelman to customize Handshake 2.0's appearance on its TypePad framework.  Business "firsts" came more slowly, but they began to arrive – our first customer, Andrew Cohill of Design Nine, our first on-going client, Coldwell Banker Townside, Realtors of which my sister, Margaret Galecki, is the general manager, and our first writer, Z. Kelly Queijo, who soon founded Smart College Visit, and paid us the highest compliment of also becoming a client.

Representatives of local organizations and companies whom I knew generously linked to the site.  But when would we get our first link from someone I didn't know?

A link from one site to another, like the Navi in the film Avatar, says much more than "I see you."  It speaks of the value, authority and significance of the content on the receiving site.  Linking to another site is an act of trust and even vulnerability - the quality of a post's content becomes dependent upon the quality of the other site.  A link essentially is an "It's still who you know" word-of-mouth referral. Additionally, a link tacitly transfers some of one site's credibility to the other.

I believed so much in Handshake 2.0.  Would others find it of value?  Would we get the coveted link at the far reaches of our six degrees of separation that would begin to validate Handshake 2.0 as an idea, a business model, and a site?

On August 15, 2008, Handshake 2.0 was given the gift of that link through this post by Robert Geller, President of Fusion PR in New York City, and author of the blog Flack's Revenge.

From then on – for over three years - Bob Geller and I have collaborated through guest posts for each other's sites, and conversations through blog comments, Twitter, emails and phone calls.  When I learned Mr. Handshake 2.0 and I would be traveling to New York to visit friends, I emailed Bob and asked if we could meet.  When he kindly agreed, I bought a new suit

I felt choked up when I first saw Bob Geller.  I credit Bob Geller with "discovering" Handshake 2.0 and feel like the magic of its rising star began with his "I see you."

This photo of our real handshake was taken by Mr. Handshake 2.0 in the midst of a lively dinner for six at a restaurant aptly named Caravan of Dreams.

Anne Giles Clelland and Robert Geller

Absolutely delighted to meet you, Bob.  It's magical knowing you.


I have quoted Robert Geller often on Handshake 2.0 so feel free to use Handshake 2.0's Google Custom Search to find those citations.  For Handshake 2.0, Bob has most recently written Getting Your Apps in Gear and 5 Features to Look for in a Tech PR Firm.


Added 3/9/12

"Remember, when you share something, you are endorsing it, putting your brand behind it."
Google+ infographic by BlueGlass for Chris Brogan

Critter Handshake

Laura Davis and Katie Heiskell 
Laura Davis, owner of Bon Air Critter Care, and Katie Heiskell, owner of Blacksburg Critter Care, share a Handshake 1.0.

Thanks, Laura and Katie!  You're our 75th Handshake 1.0 on Handshake 2.0!

View all the Handshake 1.0 photographs on Handshake 2.0 and submit a Handshake 1.0 to Handshake 2.0.

Urban Handshake

Erik C. B. Olsen with members of Graduate Urban Affairs and Planning Association (GUAPA), Virginia Tech

Graduate Urban Affairs and Planning Association (GUAPA) members at Virginia Tech welcome Erik C. B. Olsen (center), Transportation Planner of Blacksburg Transit, to discuss networking with graduate
students in Virgina Tech's Urban Affairs and Planning Department including Scott Lail, Chris Chop, Dustin Akers and Tommi Godwin.

5 Features to Look for in a Tech PR Firm

From Robert Geller:

Rober Geller and George Morin share a Handshake 1.0 I have been asked on more than one occasion to provide advice about choosing a public relations firm.  After the urge to shout: “Me! Me! Please, pick me!!” subsides (after all, I am in the business), I generally step back and take a more objective approach.  Those who ask - often friends and family who are starting tech companies or work for tech-focused businesses – are counting on me for impartial advice.  The very real chance exists that the PR agency I work for may not be a good fit for their needs.  And we want to stay on top of our game, and reminding ourselves and others about objective criteria for choosing an agency is one way to do this.

The following list of features is a summary of advice I have given over the years.  I hope that you find it helpful.

1. Agency Size, Location and Fee Structure

Most agencies work on a monthly retainer or fee which corresponds to a fixed number of hours or specific deliverables/results.  This helps to ensure a consistent on-going effort and dedicated team, and provides a predictable monthly budgetary amount for clients.  Some charge by the hour and handle individual projects.
In PR you have a wide range of resources ranging from freelancers and 1-2 person shops that handle clients for $2-$4K / a month, to the largest agencies that generally won’t even look at you unless you can spend at least $10K a month.  The boutiques and mid-size firms fall somewhere in the middle.

Ultimately, regardless of agency size, the key things to consider are the creativity, experience/contacts and energy of the team.  There are freelancers who can do this and agencies of all sizes, too.   Make sure whoever you are talking to is not overloaded with existing commitments.

It can also help to consider the size of your program relative to other clients in the agency’s roster.  While it may feel good for a large, well-known agency to accept a smaller-than-typical fee, you should understand that it is not necessarily the squeaky wheel but the larger fee accounts that get the most attention.

Is location important?  Not quite as much as many people think, unless you are considering a PR program that is exclusively local or regional.   More and more business is done online and over the phone these days.

2. Agency Style

As part of your evaluation, try to better understand the philosophy and style of the agency.  No, this doesn’t mean Communism, Zen Buddhism, or Democracy, but more the style and feel of the agency itself.   Ideally, the prospective agency's team will ask you many questions – smart questions that reflect market awareness and due diligence.  This team is hopefully in search of ideas and knowledge that they can use to support media dialog and drive proactive campaigns – the types of PR that keep visibility high in between client-driven news.   One thing to intentionally avoid is the type of agency or freelancer that sits around and waits for press releases and client direction.

3.  Agency and Team Experience

Make sure that the experience of the agency is relevant, especially if it is a highly technical or specialized area.  Have they achieved success with similar types of clients?  The skills and work required to launch new companies and products are different than those needed to defend the position of market leaders.  Don’t necessarily be awed by work with market leaders if you are a startup.

Above and beyond the agency track record, what about the experience of the team?  What should you look for?  Before answering this, examine your needs.  Are you looking for help with strategy, execution, writing, or all of the above?  Do you have any PR-savvy people on your internal team, or will you be relying on the agency for all PR smarts and implementation?  Make sure that the agency team provides a nice counterbalance to your existing skill set.

4. Social and Traditional Media 

I am a big believer in integrated programs spanning social and traditional media.  Despite the growth of social media, it is hard to deny the importance of coverage in major media to generate initial buzz and drive online chatter.  By the same token, PR teams that are not effective in listening, engaging, and having clients heard through social media channels are at a real disadvantage.

Make sure that the agency has contacts and a track record with relevant media and analyst targets, and can demonstrate proficiency with social media.

5. PR Industry Awards, Requests for Proposals (RFPs)

I include the two items in the same category because their presence tends to favor larger agencies.  There is nothing inherently wrong with a company using RFPs to help level the playing field and to provide structure to the PR firm selection process.  Awards are impressive, and lack of them may seem to be a red flag.

It is a simple fact that larger agencies have teams dedicated to responding to RFPs and filling out the paperwork needed to submit applications for awards.  Also, they tend to have a larger selection of clients to cherry pick from when it comes to awards.  Agencies that look great on paper are not necessarily the best fit.

Tying it All Together

In sum, meet with the prospective PR company's team.  Make sure it is the actual team that will support your account should you hire the agency (some shops still unfortunately bait and switch, sending in the rain makers and muckety mucks to charm you and then throwing junior staff at the account). 
Kick their tires a bit.  Share what you are looking for and ask them to respond with their ideas and approach.  Make sure the skill sets, ideas and chemistry are right.  You will be on your way to selecting a great partner and getting the PR results you are seeking.

Thank you, Robert Geller and George Morin, Senior Account Executive, with Fusion PR for sharing a Handshake 1.0 photo with Handshake 2.0!

Robert Geller is Executive Vice President with Fusion Public Relations. He writes the blog Flack's Revenge. Bob has been a treasured advisor to Handshake 2.0 from its start.

Master Handshake

Erik C. B. Olsen and Tedd Povar

Erik C. B. Olsen, BT Transportation Planner in Blacksburg, Virginia, shares a handshake with Tedd Povar, Associate Director at Virginia Institute of Government, who led a class in a Local Government Leadership Master Series for municipalities.

Mayoral Handshake


Erik C. B. Olsen, Transportation Planner of Blacksburg Transit, a department of the Town of Blacksburg, Virginia shares a handshake with Town of Luray Mayor Barry Presgraves outside the Mimslyn Inn, after the American Planning Association, Virginia Chapter Fall Symposium.

Progressive Planning Handshake

Randall Arendt and Erick C. B. Olsen 
Randall Arendt – landscape planner, site designer, author, lecturer, and an advocate of "conservation planning" – shares a  Handshake 1.0 with Erik C. B. Olsen during the Virginia American Planning Association's Fall 2010 Symposium in Luray, Virginia.  Erik C. B. Olsen is the Transportation Planner of Blacksburg Transit, a department of the Town of Blacksburg, Virginia.