A global citizen and evolving entrepreneur, I have co-founded or helped launch six companies, with varying degrees of success, my "failure" now seen as my greatest gain. I am a brander, strategist, story-seller, writer, synthesizing and igniting ideas, a muscle I’ve flexed my whole career. To read the story of what that has looked like...
...Here. we. GO.
I cut my teeth in advertising back in the late 80's and early 90's at Bozell Worldwide and Ketchum Communications. On week one of job one, my creative director said something I'll never forget (insert his smooth Texas drawl here): "Ideas are either a dull push pin in the side of the head, or a burning dart between the eyes. You've got to dig for the 'give a shit factor' - how the idea deeply connects with an individual's ethos. Because that wins. Every time."
I burned for the dart. Which set in motion, for every project I have endeavored since, the passionate quest for discovery of the why-answering, on-brand, soul-stirring ethos that lands as truth. And taught me to see every human as a brand to define not in a commercial way, but a soulful way.
In '94, I co-founded a digital brand activation firm (Interaction Media Corp) to help marketers tap an insular college market via a connected network of place-based interactive kiosks. We consulted and created the first "interactive" engagement content | campaigns for many A-list secured clients including SONY, Rolling Stone, Paramount Pictures, Atlantic Records, American Express and Microsoft. I led the IPO "roadshow" pitch. It was a rollercoaster ride that took on a life, and death, of its own. I learned about the audacity of breaking new ground, and the grace, humility and incredible life lessons that can come from failing hard.
To recharge, I committed to travel alone in 1998 for 3 months to "find myself", extended to 7, went deep in places like Nepal, India, Vietnam, Bali and 13 other countries in SE Asia, met incredible humans along the way, and befriended the most important - myself. As someone who always had felt alone when he wasn't in company, I realized I enjoyed my own company, and began to shed layers to discover and reveal who I was. For the first time in my life, I wrote for myself, discovering that vehicle of expression sparked joy inside me. I emailed from internet cafes (hotmail anyone?) tales of humor and meaning along my journey, to a smallish group of 35 that became shared and an email crew that grew to 350 strangers no more.
In '99, I joined a fledgling internet company called All Apartments - a company at the time that consisted of a fancy spreadsheet of apartment listings. I led business development as we changed the name to Homestore and ignited the company into the largest real estate hub on the internet, a 2001 rocket ship where the stock went from 7 to 131, and then revealed itself as a Scud Missile as it plummeted back to 13. Learned all about staying humble and not counting Yachts before they hatched. The company still exists today at Move.com.
It was time to start doing well by doing good, and I sought opportunities framed around life elevation.
In '01 I joined Guardian Angel Holdings, a do-good self-assessment health and wellness company with mission to eradicate drunk driving deaths. When I joined, the company was referred to as a "devil company enabling drunk driving" from law enforcement and MADD, and was being sold in a handful of convenience stores in the Northwest. From branding to messaging to partnerships and sales, I led a pivot of company positioning which ignited law-enforcement buying our product and co-branding it for distribution in 29 states, being endorsed by MADD, and being distributed on-pack with Coors and Heineken. A personal highlight was pitching and closing an unheard of immediate national distribution at-checkout with Walmart (without paying the $1M slotting fees). I pitched and was interviewed live on The Today Show - a story in and of itself. Our efforts reached millions of people, and if we even saved one life, I would all over again. I learned a lot with this one on what is possible when you have passion. And also to ask the critical follow up question in consumer market research. You can ask me about this one.
In '04, I was approached by a high-end real estate developer that had an undefined concept for creating an exclusive second home club called Monarch. I re-named the company Solstice, built the brand story, personally closing over $27M in memberships with nearly zero marketing budget in three years. The company got caught in the 2008 downturn, and I stayed with the company through its restructuring. I was recently asked by the new owners to help curate the membership community. It is my honor invite those that feel called to membership, as the club is all about deepening connections with family and friends by gathering under one roof in remarkable second homes.
In '10 I saw that there were great brands that were producing merchandise that violently dis-aligned with their brand. I co-founded a conscious clothier for bands and brands to solve this eye sore. We created custom cut-to-sew clothing that actually reflected the ethos of those we represent. A few of our 1000+ brands I pitched and advised on their branding included Necker Island, Virgin, Google, Instagram, Facebook, Uber, Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Whole Foods, Playboy, NFL, Mercedes Benz, SxSW, The Grammy's, Willie Nelson, and Carlos Santana. While clothing was our vehicle, we presented ourselves as a Brand | Fan Connection Agency, where I would lead the discovery to unearth the gold in a brand's story to express that graphically on and I wrote those brand stories graphically printed to "story sell." Likely over a million shirts in circulation, if you have a favorite tee in your drawer or on a hanger, there's a good chance you've worn some of my work. I loved the business, I just learned the value and necessity to examine all aspects of the human side of business partnership first.
My current focus are two passion aligned endeavors, One Golden Thread, and Consculting, to help those open to being open to living on their purpose and realize they are their ideas are already golden, they just need to be revealed.
I’m on my own journey of personal expansion, embracing my imperfections, fearing less, and caring more about rawthentic connections (yes, I make up words all the time).
I embrace passionate ambivalence – being 'all in' in the moment, but surrendering to the outcome. I gravitate towards art, music, travel, and conversations that matter with a golden tribe of deep end divers.
I still consider my 10-year mentorship to at-risk teens, Wagner and Kevin, my greatest life accomplishment. They taught me more about becoming the man I am today than any other of the magical humans that have also welcomed me into their lives.
My sweet spots are creativity, strategy, messaging, threading it all together, being a revenue monkey, and thought leadership… while being a grateful Light Traveler (thanks Mom) through it all.
Love to connect to support you on your journey.