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The Art of Brand

There is a beautiful video put out by Intel Visual Life profiling the ever-poised and articulate Michael Wolff, co-founder of the Wolff Olins Agency. The film is about brand, what brand is and why it matters. But it’s also so much more than this. It leaves something with you after it’s done. Some tone, some sense of color, some something that’s hard to define. Much in the way that good brand works, the video works on its viewers, saying more than it says, going beyond content, making form part of its story. And, after all, isn’t brand really just about story? ...

posted in Business
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Revenue or Die!

Here’s the thing about being an entrepreneur. Whether you realize it or not, you slowly begin to submit everything to an internal accounting system that calculates what you put in versus what you get out. In business parlance, it goes by the name of ROI, or return on investment, and it’s not just limited to the financial decisions you make. It’s not just about your marketing strategies, your advertisements, or your newsletters. Like it or not, as an entrepreneur, everything from your time, to your tweets, to your talks with strangers is mined for potential return. Now, you might be thinking ...

The Solutionist

Imagine this: You run a self-service store where customers walk the aisles, help themselves to oversized packages of batteries, cereal, heaping mounds of strawberries. They heave onto their carts electronics, clothing, massive plastic-wrapped cuts of meat. And all by themselves, they rummage through stacks of shoeboxes, tearing through sizes, here an 8, there a 9, trying to find the one that fits. By the end of the day, tissue paper litters the shoe aisle and the chances of a left shoe dwelling with its intended right partner are slim to none. Everything has been mixed and matched with such sustained ...

Little Capitalist

It’s last Wednesday night. We’re having dinner, and I’m telling my father about “Shark Tank,” that show where newbie entrepreneurs go in front of uber-wealthy VCs, and do their best to work an investment miracle. The entrepreneurs ask the sharks for a certain amount of money in exchange for equity in their company. The pitch always involves a little song and dance about how earth shattering their new inflatable necktie, or glow-in-the-dark shoelace, or edible hand sanitizer is. And in turn, the sharks ask pointed questions, like: What are your actual margins? How many customers do you really have? Do ...

posted in Business, Health, Travel, Writing
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Two Cheeseburgers, No Meat

Lately, I’ve been in a confessional mood. And as confessions are also a way of staking a little ground in this world, a way of claiming ownership, even of the things we are ashamed to admit, I proffer this small confession and grab for myself just a little more space. I’m not saying I’m proud of this. I’m just saying, this is how it is. And to those of similarly unrefined palate (you know who you are, even if you tell yourself the occasional drive-thru doesn’t count), I hereby admit to the rarest-of-rare pit stops at McDonald’s. Now, to be fair, ...

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The Mover and the Shaker

……….. “Ok, whaddya need?” Fred Kunik is on the phone, and I’m eavesdropping as he chats casually to someone on the other end of the line. He’s talking about one of the many projects on his plate, and I have the distinct feeling that he says this a lot—what do you need?—since he’s clearly someone who has learned over the years to master the lucrative art of fulfilling need. And what is an entrepreneur, if not someone who sees, assesses, and satisfies need, often before the rest of us are even aware we have it? With a career in the financial services ...

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