Brigadoon Weekly: ROI, Detroit, Clippers, Behavior, Juventus

Brigadoon Weekly Aug 2018.png

ROI, India, Detroit, Clippers, Behavior, Juventus

Brigadoon Weekly
September 23, 2018
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

The Weekly  = Enterprise + Culture + Sport + Policy

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

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What's the ROI

Famously Steve Jobs was once asked at an Apple shareholder meeting by a shareholder who wanted to get some insights into his most in-depth thinking: “What keeps you awake at night?” Jobs replied, “Shareholder meetings.”

Can you envision Jobs in a shareholder meeting being bogged down by endless questions all focused on ROI?

I don't have fancy shareholder meetings, but I do have sales meetings.

Sales meetings where the question of what is the ROI for someone attending a Brigadoon gathering usually comes up.

The exchange usually proceeds down this path:

Question to me: "What's the ROI of me attending a Brigadoon event?"

Response from me: "I have no idea."

Question to me: "Will the people in the room buy my product?"

Response from me: "I have no idea."

These two responses are usually less than satisfying to the person posing the questions. 

There is usually silence as well. Plus the questioner is generally puzzled, perplexed, and many times perturbed.

Being shaped by consumer environment where the customer is always right, hand-holding is demanded, and orange slices are provided for everyone, such cavalier responses from a seller can be unsettling.

After this breathless, how does this conversation move forward moment, this is how I usually respond:

"If you are interested in having conversations with compelling entrepreneurs and thought leaders in dynamic settings, Brigadoon is probably for you. The ROI of Brigadoon is up to you on how you use the conversations and settings to your enhance your business, mental health, investments, and performance. If you need a clear, from the start ROI, Brigadoon is probably not for you."

From my observation, those Brigadoon attendees that are free from seeking a calculated ROI from the start have the best experiences and leave the gatherings smarter and more energized. Not having a predictable and repeatable ROI for Brigadoon works because the result is divergent and distinctive for each attendee.

It's tempting for those of us selling a product to obsess about providing secure, measurable, and help me explain to my boss what this is results for a customer.

It's tempting to make it easy, black and white, and predictable for customers - it is called industrialization.

It's the difference between dinning with Ronald McDonald and Grant Achatz.

Ronald McDonald spends all his time focused on delivering value meals, predictable experiences, and repeatable french fries.

Grant Achatz spends all his time focused on delivering expensive meals, unpredictable experiences, and unrepeatable french fries.

The market, management, and mainframe reward the industrialist with short-term accolades followed by a relentless need for ever more of the same growth and productivity that got them accolades in the first place.

Today's industrialists define our economy, secure the headlines, get interviewed on CNBC, and win awards from magazines, but they offer very little excitement for tomorrow. Their work makes it easy, black and white, and predictable for customers. It's industrialization.

Some products, services, and outcomes must be designed from the start to alter the culture, eschew ROI, and operate in ways that will ensure the customer must define her ROI that is individually divergent and distinctive.

As long as industrialists are focused on ROI, uncomplicated, black and white, and predictable, there will be a gap for those of us that want to engage in a customer experience that is ambiguous, smoky, and unpredictable.

If you are working in an overly industrialized business, I would recommend adding a little unknown to your offerings. Customers will find the outcome they desire. Customers will be comfortable in finding their value. Customers will want more.

Thinking back to Steve Jobs and the iPhone environment, when you unpack an iPhone, there is no roadmap, no predictive outcome where the device will take you.  Each smartphone experience is divergent and distinctive.

That's the ROI.

-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, winning commerce, and powerful connections. 


From ‘why I hate Detroit’ to ‘why I stayed’: Eric Thomas’s 2016 blog went viral. What does he think about his changing city now?

"Detroiters’ honesty means we have real conversations about the future without sidestepping unpleasant details"

Why the Clippers landed Lee Jenkins as executive director of research and identity: LAT reports, the team announced the hiring of Jenkins, 41, as the executive director of research and identity Monday. In media and NBA circles, the title sparked confusion. To Frank, it is almost beside the point. Jenkins, whose in-depth NBA profiles at Sports Illustrated earned him a reputation as one of the nation’s top sports journalists, clicked so easily with Clippers brass that they believed his skills could benefit the organization in ways that transcend title.

Coca-Cola is eyeing the cannabis market: Bloomberg reports, Coca-Cola says it’s monitoring the nascent industry and is interested in drinks infused with CBD -- the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that treats pain but doesn’t get you high. The Atlanta-based soft drinks maker is in talks with Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis to develop the beverages.

How to stay fit forever: 25 tips to keep moving when life gets in the way

Only human, after all: How evolution left us ill-equipped for modernity: With so much potential for change looming, three books evaluate the body that nature has left us with.


Brigadoon Detroit | Salon Dinner = October 11, 2018

Brigadoon Cincinnati | Salon Dinner = November 1, 2018

Brigadoon Coral Gables | Salon Dinner = January 17, 2019

Brigadoon Sundance 2019 = February 24-26, 2019

More details and ticket information @


Here are some pics from this week's Brigadoon Annapolis event shot by Brendan Kownacki. We enjoyed a spectacular meal at Flamant and an in-depth conversation with Frederik De Pue, followed by a morning sail on the Chesapeake Bay with lectures from Ron Layton and Antoine RJ Wright. Overall a great event and one we will be organizing again in the fall of 2019.

You can see the pics here:


FT & McKinsey business book of the year award: The shortlist

Future of capitalism, from universal basic income to India’s rise, dominates annual prize. 


Cocaine production industry is having a banner year: Coca shrubland is up 17 percent in Colombia to 171,000 hectares, up from 48,000 hectares in 2013.

High school wake up time: 87 percent of American public high schools start before 8:30 am.

Commutes: The average American's commute now stands at 26.9 minutes.

Annoying calls: The FCC estimates that Americans get 2.4 billion unwanted, automated calls every month. 

54: By 2022, 54 percent of all workers will have a “significant” need to boost their skills to deal with advancing technology, according to a new World Economic Forum survey, with over a third requiring additional training of up to six months.

Video game sales in the US increased year over year for the fifth straight month in August.

Social media blamed for the rise in unhappiness among girls: The Times reports, far fewer girls say they are happy than a decade ago, with many blaming social media and exams for making them feel anxious. 

Keep it private: Growth in sales of private-label products have outpaced the sales of branded products by 3x.

Less choice and less thinking consumers: Amazon has beat out most of its competition with a simple philosophy: endless choice at super-low prices. But now, two new trends could be a warning sign for that model. Food, clothes and makeup firms are among sellers that are becoming either highly customized or, at the other extreme, one-size-fits-all, says CB Insights' Zoe Leavitt. The common goal — the elimination of choice, and the confusion that can accompany it, thus challenging the very calling card of massive retailers like Amazon and Walmart.

The death of the cell phone call: Nearly half of all calls will be spam by 2019.


Milky Chance - Doing Good


FT: Ronaldo: Why Juventus gambled €100m on a future payday

“It was the first time that the commercial side and the sporting side of Juventus came together in assessing the costs and benefits [of a signing],” says Mr. Agnelli, a scion of the billionaire family that has owned the club for 95 years. “The opportunity of Ronaldo was thoroughly assessed . . . and it made sense, both on and off the pitch.”

Marc Ross

Based in Washington, DC, I specialize in thought leader communications and global public policy for public affairs professionals working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.

Clients hire me to ghostwrite, engage influencer networks, manage media relations, produce events, audit their communications infrastructure, consult on hiring, provide issue briefs and news generating talking points, as well as manage end to end communications projects where I assume a role of project leader and general contractor.

I work independently but provided access to a substantial global network of collaborators with expertise in websites, graphic design, audio, video, polling, data analytics, and research.

Using the latest tactics of an American political campaign with expertise shaped by being a practitioner of global business communications, I help clients tell their story and build trusted relationships with all necessary stakeholders.

Successful communications are all about STOCK = strategy, tactics, organization, consistency, and know-how.