Rodriguez incites hubbub with new agency concept 

Former Eastwick Communications principal and partner Giovanni Rodriguez hopes his new firm, launched Halloween night, will have a little magic of its own.

He and partner Rebekah Mitchell founded HubbubPR this fall with the dream of trying something new in both content and method of delivery. The Palo Alto company specializes in new, social media, helping companies reach out directly over the Internet with blogging, wikis, video, podcasts and other new forms.

To Rodriguez, 48, the new media symbolize the opportunity for "public relations" to move from its traditional role — relationships with journalists who reach the public — to relationships with the actual public.

"We have an opportunity to do what we profess to do," he said. "You can directly have relationships with their customers. How can you do that in a very innovative way?"

The firm also seeks to reduce the impact of geography by finding talent that comes from the World Wide Web. HubbubPR is working to create an "open pool of talent," or a list of communications freelancers who communicate with each other via the Internet and are available to be tapped for HubbubPR’s projects.

"This is a world where everybody is becoming more of a participant. So there’s more independence, a lot more self-reliance. It’s a great thing but it also produces problems," Rodriguez said.

So far, the pool has attracted more than 100 communications professionals, writers, computer programmers, journalists and other media types, he said.

Rodriguez hopes the "pool" model will allow him to take on global PR firms who have offices in many nations, while he will not have to field full-time salaries and offices in all those places.

"I can say I have the perfect person for you in Hong Kong," Rodriguez said. "It’s possible that a large agency may want to work with us."

Current clients include SAP, Jajah, SocialText and Berggi, as well as some client work for Redwood City- and San Francisco-based Eastwick.

Rodriguez is from New York City originally, and graduated from Princeton University. Mitchell, his partner, also worked at Eastwick before starting her own consultancy in 2004. She is from the Bay Area and graduated from Colby College.

kwilliamson@examiner.com

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