Insights

Did Obama or Your Boss Overstay Summer Vacation?

Did Obama or Your Boss Overstay Summer Vacation?

[Originally posted on Forbes.com.] Every August, millions of Americans take vacations. And every year, the most powerful of them, their president, takes a lot of heat just for taking his—and also for where he goes. Powerful business executives, too, take hits for their choice and length of retreat. The American model of employment has vacations [...]


Why People Rule the World in 2014

Why People Rule the World in 2014

[Originally posted on the Huffington Post.] “For the first time in a long time, people are running the world.” That ad-campaign concept brief recently came over my email transom at Havas PR North America, where I’m CEO, and got me thinking. This isn’t a post to plug my colleagues at Havas, or their client PayPal, [...]


Getting Warmer: San Antonio, San Diego, LA, Phoenix

Getting Warmer: San Antonio, San Diego, LA, Phoenix

[Originally posted on Forbes.com.] Everyone knows that the Southwest is warm this time of year, but today the region is hot. Its time has finally come. Millions of Hispanic-American families (whose ethnic/racial group makes up 17 percent of the U.S. population) are putting down roots there, and Latin millennials are putting the sex appeal, sassy [...]


Remembering D-Day Soldiers in Coverage Worldwide

Remembering D-Day Soldiers in Coverage Worldwide

Seventy years ago on June 6, around 2,500 U.S. soldiers died in the D-Day invasion of Normandy in order to liberate our ally France. The French people have been forever grateful and commemorated this anniversary with a quiet and moving ceremony in the coastal town with U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and [...]


Graduates: Live Your Life, Not What Your Parents Want for You

Graduates: Live Your Life, Not What Your Parents Want for You

[Originally published by the Stamford Advocate.] Working on the Apple account in 1997, I had become one of the youngest globalists in the advertising business. My agency then, TBWA Worldwide, was hired to reclaim the company’s passion and dream, and my job was to watch, listen and, of course, “think different.” It was a great [...]


The End of Stuff Envy

The End of Stuff Envy

[Originally posted on Forbes.com.] “Shop till you drop.” “He who dies with the most toys wins.” “Greed is good.” Those credos seem as dated now as leg warmers and John Hughes films. They seem like relics not just from the ‘80s but also from an ancient civilization. It’s hard to believe that people said them [...]


How Metrosexuality Has Made Over the Men of Connecticut

How Metrosexuality Has Made Over the Men of Connecticut

[Originally published by the Stamford Advocate.] Connecticut: birthplace of the metrosexual? Almost 11 years ago, when metrosexual was the hot new word on everyone’s lips—thanks largely to work my colleagues and I were doing at the ad agency that is now Havas; I’m CEO of Havas PR—it was a uniquely urban phenomenon. In time, it [...]


Crash the Gate: What the Class of 2014 Needs to Know About the New Route to Success

Crash the Gate: What the Class of 2014 Needs to Know About the New Route to Success

[Originally posted on the Huffington Post.] It’s 2014, and yet moldy old formulas for career success are lingering well past their expiration dates. But as I’m planning to elaborate on in a commencement speech I’ll be giving later this year, I finally see an end to that antiquated career path (find a big company, get [...]


Forget Orchid; Green Is My Color for an Entrepreneurial 2014

Forget Orchid; Green Is My Color for an Entrepreneurial 2014

[Originally posted on the Huffington Post.] Some days I have blue eyes; other days they are green. On New Year’s Eve they were green … with envy and with thoughts of how to finally hit the jackpot. As my partner, Jim, and I sat at NoLa in SoNo eating a NoLa-inspired meal (translation: an oyster [...]


Entrepreneur Envy

Entrepreneur Envy

[Originally posted on Forbes.com.] My entrepreneurial past appeared on New Year’s Eve like a ghost visiting Ebenezer Scrooge. There it was, as plain as the tuna tacos I was eating at a local hot spot, although perhaps tinted by rose-colored glasses (like the blood orange margarita I wished I had ordered, too). The agency I [...]


We’ll All Be Having a Hacking New Year

We’ll All Be Having a Hacking New Year

[Originally posted on the Huffington Post.] Even after two decades of successfully forecasting spot-on international trends for consumers and corporations, I didn’t see coming what I refer to as the Year of the Everyday Trendspotter (aka 2013). It’s so easy to do up-to-the-minute searches and publish in real time online that everybody from daddy bloggers [...]


If It Doesn’t Work, Shout Louder

If It Doesn’t Work, Shout Louder

Nearly one year ago, a teenage girl was shot by gunmen for defying a Taliban campaign to close schools in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. Her name is Malala Yousafzai. The gunshot wound did not stop her from traveling around the world and advocating for girls’ education, though. Her story inspired millions, and in the past year [...]


Mr. Bezos Goes to Washington

Mr. Bezos Goes to Washington

[Originally posted on Forbes.com.] What would you do if you had a billion dollars? David Geffen invests in fine art. Larry Ellison races yachts. Sergey Brin develops synthetic meat. Richard Branson buys anything that qualifies as an absurd purchase. And Walt Disney is rumored to have underwritten his own cryogenic eternity. The rule of thumb [...]


Trends Driving Real-Time Creativity: The End of Privacy and the New Era of Leaks

Trends Driving Real-Time Creativity: The End of Privacy and the New Era of Leaks

This is the final column in a five-part series about how the news is being redefined by today’s real-time creative culture. In this series of posts, I’ve looked at the ways radical transparency, constant broadcasting, the new imperative of self-expression, crowdsourcing, and the idea of news as an ongoing process have shaped the trend of [...]


Austin Envy

Austin Envy

[Originally posted on Forbes.com.] I’ve written a lot about how places make us and we make places—cities like San Antonio, Providence and Pittsburgh reinventing themselves and becoming newly trendy. But then there are those places that have been trendy for decades. Or rather, are just so plain cool that they transcend trendy. I’m thinking about [...]


How Using My Brain Has Helped It Heal

How Using My Brain Has Helped It Heal

[Originally posted on the Huffington Post.] As we approached Brain Tumor Awareness Month (it’s every May), I had coincidentally been posting about my own repeated misadventures in and recent return visit to brain tumor land. Some of what I wrote or tweeted about might have sounded a bit crotchety (the stress of having to negotiate [...]


Five Steps to a New Brand

Five Steps to a New Brand

Brand strategist Karen Kang puts the importance of personal reinvention bluntly: “Consider yourself a free agent—no one else is looking out for your best interests but yourself. You need to be crystal clear about who you are and the value you bring to a world where constant change is the only norm.” That’s the premise [...]


How the Trump Kids Have Enhanced the Family Brand

How the Trump Kids Have Enhanced the Family Brand

[Originally posted on Forbes.com.] When it comes to family names as brand names, unless you’ve done something terrible or had the bad fortune of sharing a name with someone who did, it’s hard to do much worse than “Trump.” For most of the past four decades, the Donald has slapped his name on some of [...]


More Than Words

More Than Words

[Originally published on Stamford magazine's website.] As a trendspotter, my eyes tend to be forever focused on the future, but one of my favorite ways to look back is through various linguists’ and lexicographers’ annual words of the year lists. For 2012, the rearview mirrors at the major dictionaries focused on big cultural trends and [...]


The Connectivity Conundrum

The Connectivity Conundrum

Now that all the college kids in my neighborhood are back at school after the year-end holidays and January terms, I’ve been thinking about parent-child connectivity. (My children are still small, but in our always-on world, I know I’ll have to address this sooner than I might think.) I heard a story not too long [...]


Why Can’t Ben Affleck Fix His Personal Brand?

Why Can’t Ben Affleck Fix His Personal Brand?

[Originally posted on Forbes.com.] I can’t muster up too much sympathy for a Hollywood star whose personal branding woes haven’t prevented him from earning more money than most of us ever dream of seeing, but from an image point of view, I do feel bad for Ben Affleck. Even after all these years and all [...]


Football: Not So Super

Football: Not So Super

[Originally published on Stamford magazine's website.] Last year, I took the risk of being blackballed by a nation of rabid fans of the pigskin (and more than a few friends of my own) to ask the question: What is the future of football? In light of all the life-threatening injuries and dangerously destructive playing across [...]


Sandy: What’s in a Name?

Sandy: What’s in a Name?

[Originally posted on Forbes.com.] Hurricane Sandy was a sucker punch, all right. The storm’s devastation reminded us all—even those of us who feel invincible, because we live in this capital of industry and commerce—of how vulnerable we are. A week after she struck, I’m still in the midst of it, coping without electric power (also [...]


Is There a Future for the Brand Who Bashes? (Or, What’s Next for Greg Smith?)

Is There a Future for the Brand Who Bashes? (Or, What’s Next for Greg Smith?)

[Originally posted on Forbes.com.] Greg Smith, the disillusioned Goldman Sachs employee who left the firm in March with a scorched-earth op-ed in The New York Times, is back in the news as his tell-all book hit shelves last week. Whether he really pulled back the curtain on the Goldman brand or he’s just a faddish [...]