FIR Interview: Rusty Williams and Aaron Strout of Mzinga – March 3, 2008

Mzinga and Prospero – both companies that have grown through acquisition – have merged to become a significant provider of community and social media services for internal and external purposes.

In this FIR Interview, Shel Holtz talked with Mzinga’s Rusty Williams, Sr. VP of Social Media Product Planning and Aaron Strout, VP of New Media about the growing demand for community and social media solutions, and the ongoing consolidation in the industry.

About our Conversation Partners

Rusty Williams, most recently VP, Marketing and Business Development at Prospero, first joined Delphi Internet, Prospero’s predecessor company, in 1986 and served as Vice President and General Manager through 1995 when Delphi was acquired by News Corporation.

Recently, Rusty served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Inforonics, Inc., a diversified holding company specializing in technology consulting, content management and application maintenance. He also served as Vice President of New Internet Ventures for Individual, Inc., a publicly traded provider of personalized business news (now NewsEdge Corporation). A recognized authority on interactive media, Rusty has been a featured speaker at Internet World, The Breakfast Network, Interactive Services Association, Digital Convergence and investment conferences.

He graduated with a BA degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Aaron Strout focuses on blogging, podcasting, webinars, blogger relations, and evangelizing the benefits of community. In addition to his knowledge of the interactive and new media landscape, Aaron has more than 15 years of online marketing and advertising experience, with a strong background in integrated and online marketing.

In his previous role, Aaron was Vice President of New Media at Shared Insights, one of Mzinga’s predecessor companies. Prior to this, Aaron worked at Fidelity Investments in its retail division, with a focus on online and acquisition marketing. Aaron’s work at Fidelity focused on Web strategy & implementation, as well as the development of marketing (online and offline) campaigns, including direct mail, e-mail, banner & print ads, and event marketing.

Aaron is an active contributor to the world of new media outside of his professional life. Alongside his personal blog, focused on the exploits of his beloved Boston sports teams (, Aaron maintains a marketing-related blog at and is a founding member and former president of the Boston Interactive Media Association (BIMA). He is also a member and former board member of the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange (MITX).

Aaron graduated with a BA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is an alumnus of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

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This FIR Interview is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information:

Podsafe intro music – On A Podcast Instrumental Mix (MP3, 5Mb) by Cruisebox.

(Cross-posted from For Immediate Release, Shel’s and my podcast blog.)

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.