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01 Mar 2023

Economy-size Redemption is Enough Substack

My friend directed me to a story in the New York Times about Elizabeth Koch, daughter of billionaire Charles Koch. After suffering considerable personal distress as a result of her extraordinary life circumstances, Koch founded an organization devoted to helping others through “self-investigation.” It looks interesting and good for her. There are many forms of anguish in […]

24 Feb 2023

Wait Till They Get a Load of Me! Substack

I’ve been following the murder trial of South Carolina lawyer, Alex Murdaugh, for a few reasons. The first is that I am riveted by true crime. The second is that there are parallels between this violent crime and the white-collar cases I’ve worked on in crisis management. There are crimes committed by the desperate, and […]

14 Feb 2023

How Sorry Are You? (Not Enough) Substack

I feel like there has been an avalanche of books and articles about how wonderful apologies are, and I’ve taken to hate-reading them because of their sanctimony and self-celebration. My issue is not a personal resistance to apologizing when you’ve done something wrong; it’s the inability to see those apologies in the present tech climate […]

31 Jan 2023

Self-Immunity is the Seed of Scandal Substack

When people find out I’m in the crisis management business, they tend to ask one question: Do the people and institutions that get in trouble admit they did something wrong? The answer, for the most part, is no, sometimes based on the fact that they actually didn’t commit any malfeasance, or the accusations are exaggerated. […]

26 Jan 2023

George Santos and I Go to Wimbledon Substack

George Santos is taking up more space in my head than he should. Elizabeth Holmes had the same effect on me a few years ago. I have a fascination with fabulists, and I’m not sure why. Some of it may be due to being in the crisis management business where lying is the boundary that […]

11 Jan 2023

Villains, Victims and Vindicators in Media Movies Substack

I like movies about journalism because I live these dramas and enjoy comparing what I see on the screen with what I’ve experienced. I just watched She Said about the Harvey Weinstein scandal because I read the book and have worked on #MeToo issues. The movie was based on the book of the same name […]

07 Dec 2022

Balenciaga and the Bondage of Culture Substack

There is a myth that companies are pure capitalist enterprises guided only by profit. It’s trickier than this. My experience has been that while profit is the engine that powers large corporations, culture is what steers the vessel.  This brings us to the bellwether case on this front, the luxury brand Balenciaga, which recently apologized […]

18 Nov 2022

Bankman-Fried and the Rise of Shtickbait Substack

Here’s my new business model: I’m going to meet with venture capitalists wearing only a Speedo and a monocle and ask for a billion dollars. I don’t know what my product is yet, but that’s not important now. Because this is where commerce is headed — a construct where business is anchored in exquisitely crafted […]

27 Oct 2022

What Adidas and Gap Tell Us About the Celebrity Crisis Business Substack

It is challenging to write a crisis management newsletter without mentioning one of the biggest ongoing crises playing out in the media today – the fallout from Ye, best known as Kanye West’s, recent anti-Semitic comments and how brands are reacting. The lead author of this newsletter and Dezenhall Resources CEO, Eric Dezenhall, was on CNBC […]

18 Oct 2022

The Grease Pit and the Garbage Pail Substack

It’s no longer breaking news that we’re living in a self-involved and self-documenting culture as if whatever civilization comes after us will be interested in the duck-faced selfies overwhelming us on Instagram and TikTok. However, there’s an attendant phenomenon that we’re not addressing so much, and it involves the evaporation of modesty and humility as […]