Counting, Blonde Salad, Premier Lacrosse League, Digital Metrics

Brigadoon Weekly March 2019.png

Counting, Blonde Salad, Premier Lacrosse League, Digital Metrics

Brigadoon Weekly
April 14, 2019
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

Brigadoon Weekly  = Global Emerging Issues

Marc, what are you working on this week? How can Brigadoon help?


Being counted doesn't always count.

"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." -- Albert Einstein

The world is inundated with data.

But yet Hollywood can't guarantee a hit.

The outcome of the Stanley Cup can't be confirmed.

The future UK PM officeholder can't be verified.

And the next chef to beat Bobby Flay can't be affirmed.

Still, we love data.

"Do a survey. Do a focus group. Do a study."

Do more data.

I don't think the magic is in more data.

Data should not be about trying to use the information to prove a theory, but to see what the numbers are actually telling us and to inform us what we might be missing - especially since the mind likes to trick us.

You see, our brains are wired to remember and overvalue the vivid and the shocking. Our brains are wired to remember events that actually happened and not events that could happen.

So often we comfort ourselves in data to gain a better understanding and some guidance, but the data often falls short.

In their book, Why Everything You Know About Soccer is Wrong, authors Chris Anderson and David Sally concluded that soccer is basically a 50/50 game. Half is luck, and half is skill.

With this conclusion, the authors determined there are two routes to soccer glory. One is being good. The other is being lucky. You need both to win a championship. But you only need one to win a game.

Disney CEO Bob Iger used a similar conclusion this week.

With the announcement of his company's over the top Disney+ streaming service, Iger is going where his customers are going. One where customers can customize their viewing experience and seamlessly view Mickey and Minnie on numerous devices.

No survey, no focus group, and no study needed to know this is a good move for Disney.

Disney has a customer experience that is visceral and multigenerational. A customer experience that is deep and broad. A customer experience forged with skill.

But Iger knows Disney needs more than skill to win the future.

As Iger told CNBC, if you measure the future against the present, the present doesn't stay the present for very long. Today's marketplace has never been more dynamic.

You can't measure what is happening today. You need to measure what you think will happen in the future - that and harness a little luck.

The reasons many of us don't innovate is the data and the information being used is shaped by a current business model and what has gotten us to our current status.

Data which is based on the present and data which is not of the future.

So be mindful of having too much data as a means to confirm what you want the outcome to be.

Plus don't be afraid of harnessing a little bit of luck.

- Marc

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


One: Chiara Ferragni — the Italian influencer who built a global brand: She launched her Blonde Salad blog 10 years ago as a bit of fun. Now she manages a €30m business and is one of the most influential people in fashion. 

Two: Human contact is now a luxury good: Screens used to be for the elite. Now avoiding them is a status symbol.

Three: Andrew Marshall, Pentagon strategist, 1921-2019: A prescient threat analyst who helped reboot US intelligence. 

In a building notorious for groupthink, Marshall’s perspective stood out. He foresaw the demise of the Soviet Union long before most others. Before the cold war was over, he switched his focus to the rise of China. He had a rare knack for separating noise from signal. “Who else would have asked about China the day after 9/11?” recalls Andrew May, one of Marshall’s protégés.

Four: How lacrosse star Paul Rabil aims to redefine professional sports: With the new Premier Lacrosse League, he and his brother Mike are inventing a new business model—and challenging some pro sports sacred cows.

Five: Digital metrics blocking business value creation: “A lot of businesses talk about CPA (cost per customer acquisition) metrics but the problem fundamentally with measurement is that markets haven’t been able to measure anything for a long period of time and suddenly they can measure. The stuff they think they can measure is not necessarily the right things to invest in.” 


Brigadoon Radio: Episode 7: The Future of Work: Recorded at the lounge inside the Robert Redford Center at Sundance Mountain Resort, Dr. Mark Stellingworth speaks with Deloris Wilson during Brigadoon Sundance 2019.

Deloris is a first time Brigadoon Sundance participant and for 2019 joined the main stage to lead a discussion on "Mind the Gap: What’s Missing in the Future of Work."

Deloris is an entrepreneur, social impact strategist, and equity advocate fueled by an earnest designer to equalize opportunity. As a strategist, she has crafted programs and initiatives to drive civil sector capacity in Sint Maarten, expand access to legal rights in Ghana, build new majority-owned businesses across the United States, and develop the cultural industries of Barbados.

Brigadoon Radio: Episode 8: 365 Days of Optimism: Recorded Pinehaven House at Sundance Mountain Resort, Brendan Kownacki speaks with Wendy Jones during Brigadoon Sundance 2019.

Wendy is a first time Brigadoon Sundance participant and led a whiteboard session on the power and benefits of optimism.

Wendy is an author and founder of The Optimists Journal, a generational learning platform to help people and families heal and learn about each other.


The Bob Lefsetz Podcast: Lefsetz speaks with the punk rock rebel, college radio star, singer-songwriter, and left-wing political activist Billy Bragg. On the podcast Bragg tells the story of growing up poor and rejecting his preordained future at Ford's to become a part of the political fabric of the UK, all via music. Billy tells a great story, you'll become a fan even if you're unfamiliar with his music (and learn a lot about Brexit too!)

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.