Breakfast Briefing, 1.4.2017: An early winner at CES isn't a tech brand; b-to-b shops merge

Carnival is making waves in the early days of the Consumer Electronics Show with wearable technology. And speaking of technology, two b-to-b tech specialist agencies have merged.

Carnival's Casa Fortuna. (Image via the company's press page).
Carnival's Casa Fortuna. (Image via the company's press page).

New this morning: Engage PR and Connect2 Communications are combining to create a b-to-b tech shop known as Witz Communications with offices in the San Francisco Bay area and North Carolina’s Research Triangle. Principals Richard Williams and Jeannette Bitz are both staying with the firm in new roles. Also: crowdfunding platform GoFundMe’s first executive hire in Europe is former Change.org global comms MD John Coventry.

CES’ early winner: Carnival. The cruise line’s CEO will raise eyebrows on Thursday just by being a non-tech-sector executive making the annual event’s keynote address. He’s set to talk about how the cruise line is using wearables to improve customers’ experience by cutting down on wait times. However, the big CES story according to Recode is ubiquitous Alexa.

Today in Trump Twitter. Donald Trump said his first press conference as president elect is set for January 11, a day after President Barack Obama makes his farewell address in Chicago. He also mocked U.S. intelligence agencies for rescheduling a meeting on Russian interference in the presidential election. However, U.S. officials said there was no delay.

Road trip! Facebook Mark Zuckerberg is planning to visit all 50 states this year on a listening tour of users’ concerns. "After a tumultuous last year, my hope for this challenge is to get out and talk to more people about how they’re living, working, and thinking about the future," he said in a Facebook post.

How the DNC plans to take on Trump. The organization is building a "war room," according to The Washington Post, which will pressure President Donald Trump on policy and emphasize Russia’s role in the 2016 election. It has brought on operative John Neffinger to oversee its operation as interim communications director. Several Clinton campaign veterans are also joining.

Transition update. Tillerson to get $180m package as he exits ExxonMobil. How angry constituents turned the tide on House GOP members’ ethics move. Opposition to Sessions nomination intensifies with protests. Omarosa to get White House job. Healthcare showdown between Obama, Pence. Political ad spending up 4.6% during 2016 election.

And if you still aren’t ready to move on from the holidays…it’s National Spaghetti Day on Wednesday, which means Italian food brands are celebrating and chefs are giving plenty of pasta advice

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