Ideas

Commentary + Concepts

One way to fight imposter syndrome - learn from experts outside your specialization

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I've been there and will be there again.

Thoughts racing as I approach the podium, enter a well-appointed boardroom or meet a thought leader I deeply admire.

The soundtrack is on heavy rotation.

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti
He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready


Do I really know what I am talking about?

Why should this CEO listen to me?

Am I giving this candidate for office the best counsel?

The dreaded imposter syndrome.

It creeps in from time to time.

Even with a passport full of stamps, multiple degrees, a library that would make Thomas Jefferson jealous, and a global network of doers and makers, it lingers in my thoughts.

One way I have found to suppress this, spend time with a cross-section of subject matter experts.

I have found having conversations with smart people about emerging issues shaping commerce and culture to be essential.

Generating knowledge from others who have unique perspectives not frequently seen in my daily life has been a fantastic tool.

It’s what you know beyond your unique skills, specialization, education, and experiences that allow you to come up with the ideas necessary to dampen the imposter syndrome and do your job.

Solid advice, good counsel, and leadership skills are most potent when applied with another discipline or two, or even better, three. 

I found engaging and speaking with subject experts in some other area - be it cardiology, cooking, sales, comedy or urban planning - helps immensely.

Pattern matching, connecting data points, and harvesting knowledge from others has helped me to be a better specialist and not an imposter.

-Marc A. Ross

Marc A. Ross is the founder of Brigadoon and specializes in thought leader communications and events for senior executives working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.


5 years from right now....

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Are you ready to:

Embrace disruption?

Understand new segments of growth?

Improve customer experiences?

Grasp global public policy?

Learn from other leaders?

At its core, Brigadoon is all about bringing together a cross-section of subject matter experts to have conversations about emerging issues that will shape commerce and culture.

All Brigadoon events are more retreat and less conference, with no powerpoints and plenty of opportunities to engage other professionals in collegial settings.

Brigadoon's highly curated multi-day event is designed to help you upgrade your competitive advantage in today's fast-changing global business environment.

Brigadoon Sundance 2019

February 24-26

Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah

Ticket = $850.00

Only 28 spots available

For more information, please click here.

Did you know?

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Vacation: Around 1.3 billion tourists hit the road 2017, according to the World Tourism Organization.

Set-top boxes: Americans spend $20 billion on cable boxes per year.

Australia and luxury goods: Australians spend $2.1 billion a year on luxury goods, and the market has grown by more than 10 percent a year since 2013, according to research house IBISWorld. Almost a third of this spending is by tourists – and also increasingly by a younger demographic, whose desires are fuelled by celebrity endorsements on social media.

Mail is hot media: Emails often get deleted without so much as being opened, regardless of how cheeky the subject line is. “People our age get hundreds of emails a day, but they only get ten pieces of a mail a day, if that many,” says Pete Christman, the head of acquisition marketing at the shaving company Harry’s, which counts on mailers as part of its marketing. “From a numbers perspective, email is a much noisier environment.”

Did you know?

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Athleisure: US imports of women’s elastic knit pants last year surpassed those of jeans for the first time ever.

The 40-year old entrepreneur: A study by MIT Sloan School of Management professor Pierre Azoulay and PhD student Daniel Kim found the average age of people who founded a business and went on to hire at least one employee was 42. The team also found that experience counts. Those entrepreneurs who had worked in the same sector as their business start-up were found to be 125% more successful than those without a background in their chosen sector.

Entrepreneurship is ageless - it isn't easier or harder in your 20s, 30s, 40s, or 50s. The best age to start a company is today.

#BAET 

Did you know?

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Chardonnay remains the most popular table wine sold through retail channels in the US, one in five bottles sold in the past year are chardonnay.

Scooter-mania: Detroit will be the home for a pilot mobility data project with the goal of creating a standard for cities and mobility companies to collect data all while protecting privacy, creating more manageable streets, and moving toward more equity in mobility. Detroit’s scooter use will help other cities achieve safety goals.

Peter Calthorpe and Jerry Walters on autonomous vehicles - hype and potential: "One thing is certain: zero- or single-occupant vehicles—even with AV technology—are a bad thing. They cause congestion, eat up energy, exacerbate sprawl, and emit more carbon per passenger mile. Surprisingly, even AV taxis carrying three passengers can generate more miles because of distant pickups and roaming as they await passengers."

The big business of Halloween retail: According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will drop about $9 billion on the festivities this year ($86.79 per person).

The rise of athleisure: According to Deirdre Clemente, a fashion historian at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, athleisure is the culmination of three long-term trends:

1: Technological improvements to synthetic fiber have made products like spandex more flexible, durable, and washable than natural materials

2. The modern fixation on healthy appearance has made yoga pants an effective vector for “conspicuous consumption” 

3. The blurring of yoga-studio fashion and office attire snaps into the long decline of formality in American fashion


What is the GPCI? The Global Power City Index (GPCI) evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to their “magnetism,” or their comprehensive power to attract people, capital, and enterprises from around the world. It does so through measuring 6 functions—economy, research and development, cultural interaction, livability, environment, and accessibility.

Here's the GPCI 2018 top ten:

1. London
2. New York
3. Tokyo
4. Paris
5. Singapore
6. Amsterdam
7. Seoul
8. Berlin
9. Hong Kong
10. Sydney

Brigadoon Weekly: Millennials, NWA, Shake Shack, SoulCycle, Sweden

Brigadoon Weekly Aug 2018.png

Millennials, NWA, Shake Shack, SoulCycle, Sweden

Brigadoon Weekly
October 28, 2018
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

Brigadoon Weekly  = Enterprise + Culture + Sport + Policy

Brigadoon = Where Entrepreneurs and Thought Leaders Gather


Subscribe here: http://thebrigadoon.com/subscribe/

ROSS RANT


There are no millennials

The marketing-advertising-consulting- industrial complex has been brilliant in persuading smart and well-read executives to embrace the idea that there are distinct generational cohorts.

The idea of distinct generational cohorts first took off about 50 years ago.

Madison Avenue created the phrase Baby Boomers to refer to people born in the high-growth postwar years. 

Then came Gen X for people (like me) born between the mid-1960s and 1980s. 

Then Gen Z emerged to describe those born after 1995.

Now we have the fashionable term Millennial used to describe anyone generally born between the early 1980s and 1996.

Factiva data suggests that the term has appeared at least 45,000 times in the global media in the past three months (four times as many as Baby Boomers.)

The use of Millennial has been so successful, the mere suggestion that you understand this cohort elevates you to a shaman-like status which has the answers to vexing consumer and social trends.

Listen, using age as a marker makes sense if you are operating in the communications environment of the 1960s - one marked my mass broadcasts of one product being pitched to many. 

Heck, there were just three channels, a handful of meaningful radio stations, and a major newspaper serving your city. It was a simpler, less competitive environment to capture attention and sell your way into the consumer's wallet.

Now there are 1,000 of channels, many podcasts, endless tweets, and thought leader commentary across the web.

In all seriousness, if you asked me to name who anchors any of the big three national newscasts and to name one local anchor, I'd fail completely.

I really have no idea.

Defining consumer habits, desires, and predilections by distinct generational cohorts makes sense if you are working in a selling environment marked more by mass commodity products (think Campbell Soup Company) and not today's direct to consumer marketplace of limited specialized products (think Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams).

Using age as a vehicle to sell is foolish.

Age doesn't exist.

What exists is how a consumer spends their day - what activities, what interests, what hobbies, what professions - this is what matters.

Understand where someone goes on holiday and you can get them to buy.

Understand where someone goes for groceries and you can get them to buy.

Understand where someone works and you can get them to buy.

Age works in a selling environment.

We are in an ageless time that calls for a buying environment.

-Marc A. Ross

Marc A. Ross is the founder of Brigadoon and specializes in thought leader communications and events for senior executives working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics. 

FIVE ARTICLES TO READ

'A-T-L!': the soccer team outselling the NFL: In a state where the other football is practically a religion, the upstart Atlanta United are drawing huge crowds – and rewriting the story of a city of transplants. http://bit.ly/2RaUdqj

Last Sunday I was at the Atlanta United - Chicago Fire match. 

End to end the experience was first-rate - excellent team, amazing atmosphere, and the venue is world class.

Brands and companies can learn a lot from what the Five Stripes are doing in The ATL.


The tiny Iowa college that changed the NFL: WSJ reports, the Air Raid offense, which produced Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield, has infiltrated the NFL. It traces its roots back to Iowa Wesleyan. https://on.wsj.com/2Ri2zwx

The moment N.W.A changed the music world https://goo.gl/DW7B6p

Tencent says there are only 300,000 AI engineers worldwide, but millions are needed: The Verge reports, a new report from the Chinese tech giant attempts to put a number on the AI talent shortfall. https://goo.gl/dnmuy9

SoulCycle is betting high fashion will get you spinning: The fancy workout chain has joined up with urban chic purveyor Public School, bringing a whole new level of swank to sweat. https://goo.gl/EzGCDM

BRIGADOON EVENTS - FALL 2018 + WINTER 2019

Brigadoon Cincinnati | Salon Dinner = November 1, 2018 | Only 2 spots available

Brigadoon Miami | Salon Dinner = January 17, 2019 | Save the date

Brigadoon Sundance 2019 = February 24-26, 2019 | Only 28 spot available.

More details and ticket information @ thebrigadoon.com/events 

TRENDS + BUZZ

Tablet ownership peaked in 2017 and is now declining.

Thousands of Swedes are inserting chips the size of a grain of rice under their skin: You can open doors, spend money and share contact details, all with a swipe of your finger. 

#Want

Ordering in: The online delivery business is growing 20% every year and is forecasted to account for $75.9 billion in merchandise volume by 2022. 

Takeout and delivery is expected to represent 15% of restaurant sales in a decade...up from about 5% now.

e-Krona: Sweden’s central bank will next year seek to start a pilot project to develop an electronic currency as the Nordic nation grapples with how to secure payment systems in a future without cash.

Cash is wasteful and expensive.

PODCAST

Shake Shack, disruption, and leadership: Brian Koppelman, on The Moment podcast, interviews Danny Meyer, a New York City restaurateur and the Chief Executive Officer of the Union Square Hospitality Group. https://goo.gl/sM2RVN 

SONG

Pulp - Common People http://bit.ly/2MexkDE 

There are no millennials

Ross Rant March 2018.png

The marketing-advertising-consulting- industrial complex has been brilliant in persuading smart and well-read executives to embrace the idea that there are distinct generational cohorts.

The idea of distinct generational cohorts first took off about 50 years ago.

Madison Avenue created the phrase Baby Boomers to refer to people born in the high-growth postwar years.

Then came Gen X for people (like me) born between the mid-1960s and 1980s.

Then Gen Z emerged to describe those born after 1995.

Now we have the fashionable term Millennial used to describe anyone generally born between the early 1980s and 1996.

Factiva data suggests that the term has appeared at least 45,000 times in the global media in the past three months (four times as many as Baby Boomers.)

The use of Millennial has been so successful, the mere suggestion that you understand this cohort elevates you to a shaman-like status which has the answers to vexing consumer and social trends.

Listen, using age as a marker makes sense if you are operating in the communications environment of the 1960s - one marked my mass broadcasts of one product being pitched to many.

Heck, there were just three channels, a handful of meaningful radio stations, and a major newspaper serving your city. It was a simpler, less competitive environment to capture attention and sell your way into the consumer's wallet.

Now there are 1,000 of channels, many podcasts, endless tweets, and thought leader commentary across the web.

In all seriousness, if you asked me to name who anchors any of the big three national newscasts and to name one local anchor, I'd fail completely.

I really have no idea.

Defining consumer habits, desires, and predilections by distinct generational cohorts makes sense if you are working in a selling environment marked more by mass commodity products (think Campbell Soup Company) and not today's direct to consumer marketplace of limited specialized products (think Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams).

Using age as a vehicle to sell is foolish.

Age doesn't exist.

What exists is how a consumer spends their day - what activities, what interests, what hobbies, what professions - this is what matters.

Understand where someone goes on holiday and you can get them to buy.

Understand where someone goes for groceries and you can get them to buy.

Understand where someone works and you can get them to buy.

Age works in a selling environment.

We are in an ageless time that calls for a buying environment.

-Marc A. Ross

Marc A. Ross is the founder of Brigadoon and specializes in thought leader communications and events for senior executives working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.

No powerpoint presentations happen.

You'd Hate It Brigadoon Sundance 2019.png

You'd hate it.

It's probably not for you.

The cell service is dodgy.

There is never enough WiFi access.

No powerpoint presentations happen.

There are just stellar conversations surrounded by tall pine trees at 6,500 feet.

It's horrible.

Brigadoon Sundance 2019 | February 24-26.

Brigadoon Weekly: Tribes, Paul’s Boutique, Psychedelic Mushrooms, Digital Wellness, Cord Cutting

Brigadoon Weekly Aug 2018.png

Tribes, Paul’s Boutique, Psychedelic Mushrooms, Digital Wellness, Cord Cutting

Brigadoon Weekly
October 21, 2018
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Atlanta, Georgia

The Weekly  = Enterprise + Culture + Sport + Policy

Brigadoon is Education + Events + Engagement for Entrepreneurs and Thought Leaders.

Subscribe here: 
http://thebrigadoon.com/subscribe/

ROSS RANT


Never buy a surfboard from a surf shop owner who doesn't surf

I love to surf, but I am dreadful.

I love to be in surf shops, but I am a poser.

I would love to run a surf shop, but I would be a fraud.

I lack the knowledge, the skills, and the language to be a successful surfboard salesman.

It’s not my tribe.

Developed by Seth Godin, the concept of tribe is a significant force for brands. Describing a tribe as a group of people connected to one another, to a leader, or to an ideal in which they have a deeper connection. Godin says, “Today, marketing is about engaging with the tribe and delivering products and services with stories that spread.”

A tribe is more than a customer base.

Sure, every member of a tribe is a customer, not every customer truly belongs to a tribe. A richer connection is fostered when a service or brand generates something more unique—with the identification of the group by characteristics that bind key customers together, such as a collective passion, vision, stage of life, or a desired long-term objective. 

These shared attributes make these people more than just customers. They not only embrace the brand identity; to a significant extent, they help expand and define it.

For marketers, the goal is to discover the shared characteristics that define a tribe, speak to the changes and challenges that its members are experiencing, and create insider language and mystical stories that will strengthen the bonds of the tribe and stoke its passion for the brand. In turn, tribe members will help humanize messaging, evangelize products, and amplify the service.

REI is a great example. Many of their customers live and breathe the great outdoors and express this identification with an REI co-op membership. REI gives their tribe what they need to live out their passion, from gear to workshops which inspires them to new adventures.

Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly believes his company's future will be about getting its people into homes. Joly explains the importance of this strategy: “That lets you have a real conversation. You can talk about what’s possible, be human, make it real.”

Best Buy has mantras like “Be a consultant, not a salesperson.”

Best Buy uses phrases like: "How would you like it if," "Do you think it would help if you could," "Have you ever thought about." 

For Best Buy, they want to establish long-term relationships with their customers rather than chase one-time transactions. 

Best Buy is providing solutions, knows the gear, and is building a tribe. 

It doesn’t just want to sell your electronics. 

It wants its in-home consultants to be “personal chief technology officers.”

Nordstrom has long enjoyed a reputation for personal customer service and quality goods.

Nordstrom has gained credibility as a high-end destination, upper-middle-class, if not glamorous retail operator where loyal customers enjoy attentive service and a liberal return policy. 

Embracing technology in the rapidly changing retail shopping environment, Nordstrom sees shopping coupled with delivery innovations that will build more loyalty and serve the tribe.

This approach to technology will more than offset their costs—especially if they lure e-commerce customers to brick-and-mortar locations, where they might shop more.

Nordstrom shoppers today can pick up online orders and try on items selected from its website. They can meet a stylist or get an alteration (Nordstrom is the largest employer of tailors in the country, with 1,300, and alterations encourage more store visits).

The tech-plus-touch formula is helping Nordstrom move further upscale, generating more revenue, and further cementing the connection between brand and tribe.

Next time you go shopping, ask yourself if the retailer has the knowledge, the skills, and the language to make you feel like you are a member of the tribe.

-Marc A. Ross | Brigadoon Founder + TLC

Marc A. Ross is the founder of Brigadoon and specializes in thought leader communications and event production. Working with doers, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders, Marc helps them create compelling communications, engaging events, and powerful connections. 

FIVE ARTICLES TO READ

The making (and unmaking) of Paul’s Boutique: The Beastie Boys made a masterpiece. And then they were foiled by Donny Osmond. http://bit.ly/2OARGJr

Ryan Holiday: Your work is the only thing that matters: There is a story about an exchange between Jerry Seinfeld and a young comedian. The comedian approaches Seinfeld in a club one night and asks him for advice about marketing and getting exposure. Exposure? Marketing? Seinfeld asks. Just work on your act. http://bit.ly/2NPbkfb

Psychedelic mushrooms are closer to medicinal use (it's not just your imagination): NYT reports, researchers say the active compound in the mushrooms should be reclassified to treat anxiety and depression. But any such move would be years away. https://nyti.ms/2NRWtAH

The bullish case for bitcoin http://bit.ly/2OIn3Rn

9 highlights from Snapchat CEO’s 6000-word leaked memo on survival https://tcrn.ch/2OKuTKt 

BRIGADOON EVENTS - FALL 2018 + WINTER 2019

Brigadoon Cincinnati | Salon Dinner = November 1, 2018 | Only 5 spots available

Brigadoon Miami | Salon Dinner = January 17, 2019 | Save the date

Brigadoon Sundance 2019 = February 24-26, 2019 | 45% of the tickets claimed

More details and ticket information @ thebrigadoon.com/events 

TRENDS + BUZZ

“If you are a CEO and someone is coming to you with a blockchain project, beware. Blockchain is a technology, not an outcome. You need to start with a business problem.” -- Accenture North America CEO Julie Sweet 

Popularity: Adults aged 18 to 21 are nearly as likely to say that Major League Soccer is their favorite sport — 12 percent — as they are to say that Major League Baseball is, 15 percent. The favorite league of the young is the NFL (37 percent of 18 to 21-year-olds, 43 percent of all adults) followed by the youth-skewing NBA (28 percent of 18 to 21-year-olds, 17 percent of adults). Hockey remains steadily niche, with 9 percent of both groups preferring the game most.

Musicians: An analysis of the gender composition of 22 of the world’s top orchestras found that of 2,438 full-time musicians, 1,677 were men or 69 percent. 

Cord cutting: By the end of this year, the number of US households that will have stopped subscribing to pay television is projected to hit 33 million.

MIT reshapes itself to shape the future: MIT will invest $1 billion to address the rapid evolution of computing and AI — and its global effects. At the heart of this effort: a $350 million gift to found the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing. http://bit.ly/2NTNcs9

The lost art of concentration: Being distracted in a digital world: Guardian reports, we check our phones every 12 minutes, often just after waking up. Always-on behavior is harmful to long-term mental health, and we need to learn to the hit the pause button. http://bit.ly/2NWMJFC

"Digital wellness" is having a moment. 

SONG

Pulp - Common People http://bit.ly/2MexkDE 


Make something happen this week. Be innovative. Be creative. Be bold. Be an entrepreneur today.

-Marc