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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 […]

12 Oct 2022

The Rise of the Charismartist Substack

I told my colleagues that I didn’t want to go to another lunch meeting to get charismaed by another would-be Steve Jobs. Perhaps I’m getting old and grumpy, but the executive charisma shtick that has been cascading down upon us since Jobs first loped onto a stage wearing a headset and a black turtleneck has […]

30 Sep 2022

Nobody Knows Anything Substack

The Democrats are poised to sweep the midterms. Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen are on the outs. The feud between the princes has resulted in sobbing princesses and King Charles’ decision to banish Harry’s children from the Kingdom. And Trump and Putin are in big trouble now. I know these things because they are nano-bites […]

28 Sep 2022

Watch out DeSantis; The Media Loves to Declare a Crisis to be “Mishandled” Whether it is or isn’t Substack

There are crises, and then there are CRISES. If you’re a corporate CEO, it’s one thing to put together a plan for managing bad media driven by a consumer group, and it’s another thing to manage a factory explosion.  In our world, we make distinctions between chronic attacks (a company in a disfavored industry under […]

26 Sep 2022

You Have to Believe It to See It Substack

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” – Joan Didion It’s hard for me to stomach political news these days, but certain things are tough to ignore. Donald Trump’s recent rally in Ohio, where he embraced QAnon tropes got my pulse racing. I’m nervous about anything that smacks of collective brainwashing. This is a […]

20 Sep 2022

“Why Can’t We Do What the Russians Do?” Substack

A friend sent me an extraordinary article from this weekend’s New York Times about how Russia orchestrated an attack on a 2017 Women’s March in opposition to Donald Trump. After what was, by most accounts, a successful event, the march’s organizer began receiving a bombardment of hate tweets focusing on her status as a pro-Palestinian […]

15 Sep 2022

Watching Succession(s) Substack

When asked what his new film, The Godfather, was about, director Francis Ford Coppola answered, “Succession.” Indeed, the movie chronicles the bloody drama that must take place to ensure a leadership change that must appear smooth to the outside world. As King Charles III succeeds Queen Elizabeth II, it all seems like a matter of […]