SOURCE: Thunder11

November 14, 2007 09:35 ET

New Media Experts Launch First Open-Source Communications "Cooperative"

Thunder11 to Provide Blueprints, Training to Launch Start-Ups or Kick-Start Existing Organizations; Assignments to Last No More Than 90 Days as Clients Learn Tools to "do it yourself"; New Venture Co-Led by Former PR Agency Head Marco Greenberg and Video Game Ph.D. Liel Leibovitz, Who Will Direct Thunder11's "Viral Video Vanguard" Unit

CAMBRIDGE, MA and NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - November 14, 2007) - Introducing an innovative new paradigm for communicating in the crowded information age, Thunder11, a cooperative based in Cambridge, MA, with bureaus in Manhattan and Seattle, has announced its launch.

Rather than seek extended commitments to handle day-to-day assignments, Thunder11's experts will serve as "communications architects," providing the strategies, blueprints and training required to launch or jump-start organizations, giving clients the tools and knowledge to "do it yourself (D.I.Y.)." The new venture will focus on three areas: proprietary market intelligence, big idea generation, and the execution of cutting edge applications for new media.

Thunder11 will tackle head-on the biggest concerns currently facing communicators in a user generated world, such as how to best convey the authentic essence of an organization among the onslaught of competing messages, how to choose from the array of communications options not just to boost buzz but also have bottom line impact, and how to create content that has improved odds of going viral.

The cooperative will also serve as a connector, drawing from an extensive network of specialists to introduce clients to reliable experts in the fields of website development, press relations execution, online advertising and search engine optimization and other such services.

Thunder11's co-founders are Marco Greenberg -- an entrepreneur, former PR agency owner and web video pioneer with extensive expertise in promoting start-ups -- and Liel Leibovitz, who holds a doctoral degree in communications from Columbia University, focusing on the ontology of video games.

"Our goal with Thunder11 is to offer a new model for open-source communications," said Mr. Greenberg, whose prior agency, NYPR, was one of the country's fastest-growing PR agencies during the first Internet boom. "We believe it's time someone gave away the code, and that with the right knowledge and some training everyone, from CEOs to activists, can find the most inspiring way to communicate their messages by themselves."

Prior to its official launch, Thunder11 has successfully beta-tested its unconventional D.I.Y. model with several clients in a variety of fields.

The 90-Day Retainer

Thunder11 represents a radical departure from the existing model prevailing in the communications industries. Using intense, short-term engagements -- no longer than three months -- the cooperative is geared towards helping clients achieve marketing self-sufficiency. To achieve that end, Thunder11 will also provide clients with workshops -- including online sessions -- designed to convey, in the shortest amount of time possible, the intelligence, insight and inspiration required to establish a D.I.Y. working paradigm.

The company's decision to structure as a cooperative allows it to stay especially nimble and serve as the hub for a shifting team of experts and leaders in various fields, from video games to viral marketing.

"Rather than impose a blanket solution for our clients' communications needs, Thunder11 is modular and agile, bringing in knowledgeable experts when and where they are most required," said co-founder Liel Leibovitz. "That's the beautiful thing about a cooperative: we do away with the biases of discipline, and bring together academics and gamers, journalists and bloggers, PR veterans and business consultants. We believe that's the only way to see the big picture, the only way to truly progress."

The first addition to the Thunder11 cooperative is David Jacobson, a former writer and producer for CNN Financial Network's Digital Jam, the first daily business program covering the technology market, as well as a technology and market trends analyst for venture capital.

Founders Met in the Israel Defense Forces

Messers. Leibovitz and Greenberg first met in the Israel Defense Forces over a decade ago, where they both were entrusted with revising the Army's strategic media infrastructure.

Mr. Greenberg has solidified his expertise in strategic marketing communications in both the private and public sectors. He held senior positions in two of the largest international public relations and advertising firms, Burson-Marsteller and BBDO, as well as his own successful ventures, NYPR and Reel Biography, a production house creating high-end web-video documentaries for businesses and causes. He started his career working for a U.S. congressman, served as director of development at a major non-profit organization, and then as a press officer at a United Nations mission. He holds degrees from UCLA and Columbia University, and is an adjunct professor at Fordham Graduate Business School.

Liel Leibovitz earned a Ph.D. in Communications from Columbia University in 2007. His doctoral dissertation, entitled "Thinking Inside the Box: Towards an Ontology of Video Games," examined the reasons that compel people to play video games and the social interactions that occur when they do. He is currently continuing his research into gaming, collaborating with a small group of experts and speaking at key academic conferences. A graduate of Columbia's prestigious graduate school of journalism, Leibovitz is also an acclaimed author of two books of non-fiction. He remains an active journalist and lecturer.

The Viral Video Vanguard

Serving as a commando unit of sorts for Thunder11 is the Viral Video Vanguard, or V3, spearheaded by Mr. Leibovitz and including a host of new media experts. V3 will focus on helping organizations conceptualize, produce, post and promote content online, in the hope of generating genuine word-of-mouth enthusiasm and reaching large and previously untapped audiences.

"Viral is the ultimate buzzword, and for a good reason," said Mr. Leibovitz. "It's easy to speak of, but much harder to execute, especially for professional organizations. We believe that by applying methodological rigor to the understanding of viral communications, we can increase the chances of being effective in this burgeoning field."

Thunder11's name was inspired by communications guru Marshall McLuhan, who argued that the evolution of human communications happened in ten sweeping steps, or thunders, from the development of speech to the invention of television. The eleventh thunder is the next natural step -- the age of web-based, user-generated communications -- which Thunder11 is dedicated to exploring and navigating.

Note: Thunder11 is a cooperative of communications gurus -- in marketing, public relations, journalism, academia, and the blogosphere -- hell-bent on sharing insight, inspiration, and introductions in a user generated world. We do it for ourselves and for select clients: entrepreneurs, leaders, and people with a cause we believe in. As communications architects, we design the blueprints and provide the training to launch new start-ups or kick-start existing organizations. We focus on three areas: proprietary market intelligence, big idea generation, and the execution of cutting edge applications for new media. For more, go to www.thunder11.com.

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