Everyone ends up in PR, says Attention/kbs+ president Buontempo

Tom Buontempo, president, Attention/kbs+ Content Labs, discusses a memorable career lesson, his favorite place to do business, and how he draws coworkers to his desk.

First site or app you check in the morning
My first stop is still email on the phone, but I have been checking Instagram a lot more often than I used to.

Morning ritual
My mornings are pretty boring. I usually reach for the device before my eyes are fully open around 6:30. I check emails and social feeds in a fog.

Then I caffeinate and attempt to head to the gym. If it is a busy morning, it’s the stair climber instead of the treadmill. I look like a fool trying to type on my iPad, but it’s easier than doing it while trying to run – and it is less dangerous, I guess.

Oh, and Spotify and SoundCloud provide the soundtrack to my morning routine

On a scale of one to 10, how hard is your commute
I’d give it a two or three. I’ve walked to and from work for the past five years. It gives me 15 minutes to reflect, prioritize my day mentally, and decompress.

If you ruled the world for a day
I would find a cure for Internet troll disease, especially on YouTube, where it is the worst.

What book are you in the middle of?
There are about five books on my list and another 10 people told me I "have to read," but I never get around to them. I spend most of my time reading industry trades.

Most of my content consumption is from aggregators such as Flipboard or social networks, which would scare me if I were a traditional publisher.

Favorite city to do business in
It is tough to compete with New York, but I’m a big fan of Vegas. If you can get past the distractions, it’s amazing how much business is conducted out there. And it’s always great to spend time with clients and co-workers outside of the traditional work setting. Oh, and the $2 steaks.

Most distinct aspect of your personal office
I’ve always been known as the snack man. I’m Italian, so I live to eat, and there is always a wide snack selection on my desk or in my drawer. We are in an open floor plan, so it attracts co-workers and we end up doing impromptu statuses.

First marketing or PR job
At my college radio station, WRGW, at George Washington University. At the time, I thought it was challenging as you could only listen online. How things have changed.

Favorite smartphone app
I’m a big fan of Clear. It’s a simple way to cover off on your priorities for the day. It also has a super-slick user interface.

Lesson you wish you knew before a career in PR
I wish I knew that everyone would pretty much end up in PR. I started in experiential, moved into digital, content, and social media. It’s clear that the walls are down and the stakeholder is in more control than ever. Regardless of the marketing discipline, we’re all leveraging the principles of PR. If you aren’t interesting, useful, entertaining, or relevant, you’re forgettable.

Favorite place to grab a business drink
I’ve been a fan of Ditch Plains in the West Village for a while. Attention’s office is in SoHo, so we’re far enough away from the crowds, which I love. The Handy Liquor Bar is a great low-key spot for drinks with clients or colleagues, too.

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