Mountain-biking, head-banging Wayne Hickey may put the spin on Microsoft Windows digital toys at Weber Shandwick Worldwide, but he's hardly your stereotypical pencil-neck tech PR geek. Don't be surprised if you find this gambling man pitching reporters from your tent at the trade show.
Describe the company you work for. WSW is the world's largest PR agency. I work in the Seattle office, where we focus primarily on hardware and software technology clients.
What do you do? I'm an account director and co-manager of the Microsoft Windows Digital Media Division account. We oversee PR for Windows Media Player, Windows Movie Maker, and Microsoft Producer, as well as digital rights management as it applies to music and film.
How did you get into PR? I started working on Capitol Hill for a congressman right out of college, then moved over to government relations and lobbying.
With technology taking off on the West Coast in the late '90s, it wasn't much of a stretch to figure out that politics was a good training ground for PR. Plus, the company I worked for at the time helped me make the switch.
What is your greatest achievement? Finishing ahead of several pro teams in a 24-hour mountain bike race.
What was your best stunt? I used to work with a cost-conscious start-up with an amazing streaming media software product. At trade shows, they usually had a small booth in the corner to save money, so I regularly held meetings with key media in the booths of larger, better-funded competitors.
The media loved it - my client was great at marginalizing the competition and the stunt also highlighted the money our competitors wasted on two-story booths at trade shows. I also used to crash their Happy Hours.
What's the most daring thing you've ever done? I once bet an angry and panicked client $100 that I'd get a federal license extension through Congress before the end of the session, saving his firm's $1.2 billion hydro-power project. His license and dozens of others had been blocked in the Senate for over a year, and Congress was set to adjourn in a week.
My client's job was at stake, but the $100 bet had the necessary calming effect - allowing my team to do its jobs. A week later, the $100 bill was on my desk.
What invention would make your job easier? Telepathy.
What is the biggest item you've ever put on expenses? I once chartered a $4,000 jet for a client trip the next day without asking anyone. It was either that or buy six commercial tickets for $1,200 apiece. It took some explaining before I was reimbursed.
Write the headline for the PRWeek story you'd like to read. "Bizarre disease afflicts publicists who still use New Economy-speak."
What do you wish you hadn't said to the media? You're media, right? I'm sure there's something in here I'll regret.
Who would you most like to work with? Dean Kamen.
Name one thing about your past people would be surprised to learn.
I used to religiously watch Headbanger's Ball on MTV.