Saturday, January 15, 2005

STEVEN PHENIX Part 1, The Early Years

At birth Steven Phenix was thrust into the world two months early, and he's been crying for attention ever since. His father, a fourth-generation Texan, shot the footage of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of the Dallas police station. Up until Dan Rather announced Steven's father's name, their home was quiet with mourning. When his family began screaming and jumping up and down, young Steven understood the power of the media for the first time.

“The PT Barnum of tech…Phenix simply came up with a hugely successful way to announce his client's new product -- the media stampede did the rest.”

--Wired News

At four years of age, this future PR luminary first caught the camera's eye while playing his toy saxophone with Texas musicians at a press conference for the late, great Governor Preston Smith. A news cameraman beamed the image of our toe-tapping hero across the vast and proud Lone Star state and, even at such a tender age, Steven Phenix wore the word "shameless" like a mantel.

"But Phenix isn't offering cheap thrills so much as an unblinking look from the cutting edge of his generation."

--Austin American Statesman

While most Texas teens were tipping cows, Steven Phenix was a humor columnist for his family's five weekly newspapers. While others were learning how to dance the West Texas Push, Phenix learned the hard, cynical ways of the Fourth Estate. But at seventeen, Steven Phenix wrote his first press release and had an epiphany. In what the Associated Press later called an "audacious act of teen rebellion," Steven Phenix let 50 white mice loose in the high school to protest the school's draconian policies. On the way home, he dropped off his first press release at the local daily paper.

When he saw his own visage—albeit clad in a ski mask—on the front page, there was a trumpet clarion and a clap of thunder.

And another flack was born.

His career has since strayed from the spicy world of cool teen espionage and into a universe where geeks rule. Staying true to his roots, he has empowered successful nerds everywhere to stand proud. He has given start-up companies like a voice in the cold, cruel world of the media's "cool crowd." He has represented CEOs of technology companies who cry out, "Look at me now!" He even created the Sexiest Geek Alive Contest (as featured on Good Morning America, The Montel Williams Show, in USA Today, Wired News, and hundreds more), which PR Week called "the PR stunt of the year."

"’Look inside the pocket-protector psyche of any successful geek,’ says Steven Phenix, ‘and you'll find youthful episodes of insecurity and humiliation at the hands of the cool kids. Every single one of us has some kind of a wedgie story.'"

--Dallas Morning News

After years in Silicon Valley, Steven is living the good life back in Austin. He enjoys stolen moments with his wife, a beautiful Cajun queen from New Orleans, long walks with “Poochie,” his English Pointer and rainy Sundays at home.

“‘Tech is here to stay. Recession be damned,’ said Phenix. ‘Geeks invented the microchip, the Internet and somewhere out there, there is a pasty, socially awkward young man or woman who is hiding in the basement from the neighborhood bully, while inventing the killer app that will fuel the next surge in the economy.’”