How we responded to an attack from Facebook



Owen Ryan and Keith Karr are award-winning communications professionals with long histories of supplying innovative and high impact communication ideas and marketing strategies to companies large and small, and also helping not-for-profit organizations.

Importantly, they each have hands-on experience in start-up environments, and have seen the extreme difficulties small companies face in the Internet era when confronted in bullying fashion by much larger and well-financed competitors. “Mostly,” Ryan says, “big companies merely ignore start-ups and the little guys. But the moment a start-up is identified as a potential threat because of its product, its technologies, its leadership or its vision, that live and let live indifference gets tossed out the window real fast.”


While both Karr and Ryan have worked for large companies, they each have significant experience witnessing the impact that unfettered capitalism can have on the growth of start-ups and small and mid-sized ventures.

Ryan in particular has stood his ground against huge companies’ legal assaults, as they sent legions of high paid lawyers to obliterate his trademarks, successfully defending his rights against multi-year, and multi-million dollar legal attacks by companies the size of Anheuser-Busch and The Coca-Cola Company. “They spent many millions of dollars in Federal Court, but eventually failed to cancel my trademarks,” Ryan says, “but even though the courts and juries eventually ruled in my favor, I ended up losing the larger battle because my business was in shambles. Smaller entrepreneurial companies don’t have the resources to protect themselves in court and big companies know that,” says Ryan. “This is why I’m excited by BullyGram”, says Karr. “Capitalism is fine, but unfettered capitalism will crush small companies to dust every time. BullyGram is like a ‘First Alert’ system that allows entrepreneurs and small businesses owners to team up quickly and confidentially with collective wisdom, knowledge and even funding, that one person alone can’t pull off by himself or herself.”


NOT JUST FOR BUSINESS. In addition to providing a forum for small companies and entrepreneurs unfairly assaulted by the Goliaths of the business world, Karr and Ryan realize that the bullying present in large companies has its roots in early education and misplaced community values.“I don’t want my daughters to grow up into a lopsided adult world where the only power that exists is in mammoth government, mammoth corporations and mammoth but essentially uncaring mega-churches,” says Karr.

As fathers of young girls (all of whom are still in grade school) Karr and Ryan decided to launch BullyGram and eventually roll out a nationwide but community-based network that would – eventually — be available to middle school and high school kids. “Hopefully, Bullygram can evolve from a place where entrepreneurs large and small share their stories and experience and seek support and advice, to a forum that has features that bring the same sort of helpful peer group and expert advisor knowledge to Middle Schools, High Schools and Universities.” says Karr.


Website for a world class sculpture foundry in Brooklyn NY

Keating Foundry at Mana

Led by master sculptor Ben Keating, this on-site metal-casting facility aims to help anyone create the sculpture of their dreams

American artist Ben Keating is a seasoned sculptor who works primarily in bronze. He also manufactures work for acclaimed artists including Julian Schnabel, Michele Oka Doner, Tom Otterness, and others. Keating works from his Mana-based metal-casting facility, which specializes in mold-making, production, and custom patination. He also works with artists of all skill levels to cast a desired object, regardless of the project’s scale or complexity. Visitors are invited to observe the age-old process of lost-wax casting, where a wax model of an object is placed inside a metal flask covered in plaster investment and fired; the wax is obliterated in the kiln, leaving behind plaster filled with molten metal.





 “LOVE IN THE TIME OF APPS” soon a featured film

BookCover3Purchase:  Amazon  |  Kirkus Review

As he passed a newsstand, Philip Goodwin saw his photograph on the cover of People magazine’s newest publication, Unpopular People magazine. A banner across the photo proclaimed, “The Most Unpopular Man In America.” Given his present circumstances, Goodwin believed that the tag was accurate.

Romance, media influence, and the consequences of celebrity all intersect in Jay Begler’s digital-age satirical debut novel, Love in the Time of Apps.

A Zagat-like numerical rating system becomes the sole yardstick by which individuals are judged. The ratings soon lead to a new social hierarchy based exclusively upon a person’s rating.

A delicious, scalding
cup of satire.
– Kirkus Review

Philip Goodwin is living the good life until a series of incredible events cause his rating to plummet from stellar to abysmal. Ultimately relegated to a ghetto for people with ultralow ratings, Goodwin must fight back against the forces that have savaged his reputation.

In the vein of Kurt Vonnegut, with a dash of Woody Allen, Love in the Time of Apps is a witty, satirical glimpse into a media and internet obsessed society in the digital age. Its insightful musings will have readers thinking—and laughing—long after the last page.

Purchase:  Amazon  |  Kirkus Review


Creative Portfolio

APSWebsite for an award winning Creative Director in Manhatten

Anthony Smith is a Manhattan-based creative director, brand strategist, content developer and communications specialist with over 15 years of experience handling major branding and communications initiatives for top-level advertising agencies, branding firms, and corporate clients. In addition to building and managing creative teams, Anthony has been a key contributor to the formation, development and evolution of several successful branding agencies including Ink&Co., Irwin Slater, Mucca Design, Contrabrand and P Studio, and two exceptional print magazines: PLANET° Magazine and Madison.

A published author and creative instigator with the ability to develop bold ideas and unique strategies that reshape companies and the markets they compete in, Anthony has earned a reputation for innovation, creative excellence and absolute professionalism.

Anthony is highly regarded for his sales and presentation skills as well as his ability to work in an inclusive, consultative fashion. Working in partnership with clients and as an advocate for consumers, he creates distinctive brand voices for print, television, radio and web, inspiring business organizations and helping them establish powerful identities that are unique, personal and highly relevant to their audiences.

“My ability to develop meaningful and lasting relationships with individuals, teams and organizations allows me to gain deeper understanding of their needs and to facilitate the creative process. My ability to nurture solid business relationships has produced an impressive degree of loyalty among my clients. I do superior work and I do it in a way that lends tremendous value to the enterprises I serve. I can do the same for you.”

Anthony Paul Smith


Branding, displays, packaging for healthy food company

aof_logo_lo-resAntiOxidant Farms ® was founded by Owen Ryan, a former farmer and independent food industry entrepreneur, after he found himself suddenly hospitalized at the age of 60 with a medical condition that nearly killed him.  The day he left the hospital he made a vow to create a new kind of healthy food company offering delicious, fresh-tasting products that always hold up to sharp scrutiny from independent, outside nutritional experts.

-Owen Ryan, Founder









Launch advertising and promotional, VOLT® beverage

VOLT-300x250_256Background: 2005 – 2007: Owen Ryan develops market entry strategy for the VOLT® beverage brand, formulates products, conducts extensive consumer research with young males, identifies Gatorade vulnerabilities, moves family to Charlotte NC to launch VOLT®. VOLT® developed to simultaneously compete against Gatorade ($6 billion+ in US sales, 85% market share) and Mountain Dew ($6 billion in sales). VOLT® operates on shoestring, gains traction vs. Gatorade. Ryan executes unique, low-cot ($8.43) cold call direct mail outreach to CEO’s of Sheetz, Publix, Walgreens resulting in significant retailer acceptance of the VOLT brand, and the need for outside capital to capitalize on these sales opportunities. (e.g. Publix invites VOLT into all 960 stores, seeing VOLT as “a viable competitor to Gatorade”.)

2007 – 2008 VOLT replaces Gatorade as Official Sports Drink of AAU Baseball in NC. (By end of first season, VOLT is outselling Gatorade in concession stands where VOLT and Gatorade are sold at $2 per bottle by 2 to 1 margin.) Gatorade moves to strangle VOLT® while it is still in the cradle. Sends cease and desist letters claiming VOLT represents “unfair competition to Gatorade”. Ryan rejects PepsiCo’s demands, moves forward. (As a two person company at the time, we took Gatorade’s claims of “unfair competition” as a compliment!.)

March 2013: VOLT’s creator Owen Ryan regains full ownership of the VOLT® brand, formulas, trademarks, etc. from original hedge fund investors, remembers positive Publix meetings in Lakeland, makes a call to reopen a conversation regarding VOLT as a Publix-exclusive brand vs. Gatorade.


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