The Gatekeepers: Excellent Read For All The Political Junkies Out There

The Gatekeepers: Excellent Read For All The Political Junkies Out There

 

WOW – wrote this post earlier this week not realizing how timely it was going to be and that I would need to do a last minute edit before it went out this morning.

Chris Whipple’s book about the role and power of the chiefs of staff for presidents Nixon through Obama, is a great read. Highly recommend – especially for my political junkie friends – and really who isn’t into politics these days?

  • Whipple interviewed all seventeen chiefs of staff who remain alive today.
  • He was privy to all the juicy details on how each president’s White House functioned.
  • The management style of each president is crucial in determining what kind of chief of staff he wants (which is often very different from what he needs).
  • The Gatekeepers delves into the details of how each president’s chief of staff ended up defining the presidency  he served.

What I found most intriguing were the similarities in how many of the presidents functioned (or not) within the White House.

  • The amount of chaos and hubris and vicious feuding that goes on in almost all administrations is mind-boggling.
  • What was even more lamentable was how similar the issues were in so many of the administrations – from Carter to Clinton to Bush (the Decider).
  • Very different presidents, but once they got into office, the hubris took over and they acted very similarly in many situations.

Read on below for which administration reminded me the most of Trump’s.

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OZY Fest 2017: Tremendous Potential But So Disappointing

OZY Fest 2017: Tremendous Potential But So Disappointing

 

 

OZY Media, which launched in 2013, held their second annual OZY Fest this past Saturday in Central Park at Rumsey Playfield.

  • It’s positioned as a new type of SXSW or “TED Meets Coachella”
  • All I can say is NOPE – not even close.
  • I can’t quite put my finger on what makes it come off as such a strange mishmash of ideas, but it doesn’t work.
  • Part of the problem may be the location. Central Park is not conducive to talks of this kind – there are too many distractions – and it’s too weather-dependent.

Because I had not been familiar with OZY, I did some research and what I found is not good news for the brand (which also explains why there were only eight sponsors for the event, three of which I had to google).

  • OZY initially began with an ad-driven, web-based business model.
  • Traffic to its main site, Ozy.com, declined 41% to 6.4 million unique U.S. visitors in December from just under 11 million a year earlier. (Source: WSJ/comScore)
  • The competition in the millennial news space is fierce. OZY is up against VICE, Buzzfeed, Mic, Vox, Cheddar, Bustle, Fusion among others.
  • And all the mainstream news sites e.g. CNN are going after the same audience. Whether OZY can survive is a big question mark.

Read on below for what needs immediate fixing should there be an OZY Fest 2018.

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Snapchat Is A Playground: This is the best description of Snap I’ve heard

Snapchat Is A Playground: This is the best description of Snap I’ve heard

“Snapchat is a Playground” – YES, Chris “Kubby” Kubbernus, it is!! Best description ever!!

 

I’ll be the first to admit things are not looking good for Snap. People are abandoning it in droves. At least 50% of the people I follow are gone.

  • However, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve started seeing influential early users e.g. Chris “Kubby” Kubbernus (photo above), tentatively checking back in.
  • Are they being paid to do this? I don’t think so, but who knows.
  • I’m also sensing there’s still a lot of love for Snapchat among its earliest and most avid users.
  • This appears to be especially true for those who abandoned Snap for Instagram Stories because they got more immediate engagement thru hashtags and ability to tag brands and celebrities.
  • BUT something is afoot, snappers are getting restless, they seem bored with Instagram and seem to genuinely be missing the Snap experience.

Here are some of the best comments I’ve heard recently on the state of Snap vs. Instagram:

“Snapchat is a playground….the voice changing thing, the filters, it’s just so much fun.”

  • This is the most brilliant description I’ve heard about Snap. It came from Chris “Kubby” Kubbernus, a leading marketing/social media guru (photo above)
  • He had been very active on Snap and abandoned it for Instagram for all the reasons cited above but he came back to check out all the new features and was clearly impressed.

“(Snapchat) is a platform for the imagination”

  • Caught this at the tailend of  an interview with Brian White of Drexel Hamilton on SquawkBox on 7/17/17.

“Snapchat is just better than instagram….”

  • Sam Sheffer commenting on quality of photos/video on snap vs. instagram.
  • Sam is an independent content creator, and close friend/collaborator of Casey Neistat
  • However, he’s more of a hired gun for brands so not sure where his true alliances lie e.g. he was pushing La Croix on every post for a while, now not at all so assume that contract ran out.
  • UPDATE FROM SAM: he did not have a contract with La Croix.
  • BUT when i heard him rave about snap a few weeks ago, it sounded genuine….

These recent comments, plus my own experience, indicate that Snap still has some advantages over Instagram, particularly when it comes to user experience.

Read on below for more on Snap vs. Instagram.

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Knitting: Great for Stress Relief, But So Much More

Knitting: Great for Stress Relief, But So Much More

 

Everywhere I look, there they are: Knitters (men and women!).

  • On the subway – YES!
  • At art events – YES. Yarnbombers covering trees, motorcycles, trashcans.
  • On TV – YES. Norway’s Slow TV has a National Knitting Evening with 4 hours of knitting for binge watching. Another reason to love Norway! Available on Netflix.
  • On Youtube – YES. Almost 3MM videos on knitting.
  • Memes – YES. Knit Club is my favorite.
  • Even Vogue is on board: German Vogue editor, Christiane Arp is often seen with her knitting needles.
  • Wool and the Gang, a super cool knitting company, has created a kit that builds 20 minutes of meditation into your daily schedule via knitting a scarf.  Their “Me Time” Scarf comes with striped yarn in two different shades. Every day, you’re supposed to knit rows of a single color then stop when the color of yarn changes. Each stripe of color on the scarf should take about 20 minutes to knit, which is just enough time to relax and meditate about your day.

Read on below for more on knitting including a great video on why people knit, and some first hand examples from Franklin Habit, the renowned writer, illustrator, and knitter, on the connection between knitting and yoga.

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Des Moines, Iowa: Super Cool and Ranked #3 For Millennial Homebuyers

Des Moines, Iowa: Super Cool and Ranked #3 For Millennial Homebuyers

 

Heading to Des Moines in August for the Iowa State Fair (and if you’ve been reading this blog, you know State Fairs are my thing).

  • Top of my to-do list: check out what’s trending in Fair foods, livestock showings and the Thrill Zone!
  • 90’s Music Night (Millennials’ favorite pop culture decade).

But, I have an additional reason (beyond the State Fair) to check out Des Moines.

  • It came in #3 on the list of cities nationwide where millennials are buying homes.
  • 44% of millennials in Des Moines are currently home owners vs. just 20% in the NY Metro area and 18% in LA.

I’m always on the lookout for cities undergoing a renaissance and attracting millennials e.g. Detroit, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia.  Excited to add Des Moines to my roster.

Based on this excellent report from credit.com on home ownership among millennials, I’m also recommending the cities on this list for patterning and millennial trend scouting trips.

Read on below for all I am looking forward to exploring while in Des Moines.

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Do You Think Like A Millennial? Take This Quiz!

Do You Think Like A Millennial? Take This Quiz!

 

I got 80% right!  See how you do.  Here’s the link.  Report back.

And while we’re at it, here are 5 things impacted by Millennials that we’re all now doing a little differently. (Source: MarketWatch):

The 9 to 5 work week

  • Nearly 40% of U.S. workers can now work from home at least one day a week.
  • Millennials don’t unplug at 5 p.m., 68% check work emails from home.

Dinner dates

  • They’re dating more often and more casually, making the idea of sitting across from someone at a pricey dinner for a potentially long amount of time less desirable.
  • “Online dating creates an enormous number of first dates in a short period of time,” said relationship and etiquette expert April Masini.

Napkins

  • 86% opt to use a paper towel as a napkin at the dinner table.
  • The paper towel’s ability to clean up messes makes it a more versatile and economical choice, especially as fewer millennials eat dinner at home.

Soap bars

  • They prefer liquid soap.
  • 60% believe soap bars are gross and covered in germs after use.

Wine corks

  • Millennials love wine, consuming nearly half of all wine in the U.S., but they’re opting for bottles with twist-off caps and cans of wine.
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FRIEZE Was Major: A Flock Of DiCaprios, Epic Sales, Massive Flooding

FRIEZE Was Major: A Flock Of DiCaprios, Epic Sales, Massive Flooding

 

This year’s Frieze Art Fair was more of a crazy happening than I’ve experienced before. First, there was a torrential downpour of biblical proportions – 3 inches of rain over a couple of hours. Workers securing the fair tents caught everyone’s attention as did the rain buckets scattered around the booths protecting $100K works of art.

  • But my favorite art piece was created by Dora Budor. She recruited three Leo DiCaprio-lookalikes to roam the fair impersonating some of his most memorable characters: Jordan Belfort (The Wolf of Wall Street), Hugh Glass (The Revenant) and Frank Abagnale Jr. (Catch Me If You Can).
  • Budor’s performance piece, a commission for the fair’s Frieze Projects sector, is titled MANICOMIO!, which translated from Italian means “Madhouse!” according to Artnews.
  • I encountered “Catch Me If You Can” Leo first and thought it strange that a military officer was attending Frieze and being so smirky about it. Then I ran into the “Reverent”. I did not see “The Wolf Of Wall Street” in person.
  • Here’s what the artist told Artnews about the project: “I wanted to create the opportunity for unsuspecting visitors at the fair to experience a disjointed reality—believing that the actor Leonardo DiCaprio might be there, but seeing him, impossibly, many years younger and as characters he has played. He comes every year so that’s part of the idea: he becomes the fourth actor, as himself. It’s like the rings of Saturn, where all Leos orbit the central idea of the eternal Leo.”

Just love this concept!!

Read on below for my top 10 Frieze galleries and artists.

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LOVE this Spectrum Commercial – Absolutely No Idea If It’s Effective

LOVE this Spectrum Commercial – Absolutely No Idea If It’s Effective

 

LOVE LOVE LOVE this commercial – cracks me up every time I watch it. Whoever wrote the script for this droll, conversation between the four “monsters next doors” on their morning commute deserves an award. Brilliantly funny!

I must admit I had no idea what the commercial was for when I first saw it. Also, can’t say it would make me sign up for Spectrum if it wasn’t already my carrier.

It was produced by Brooklyn-based independent agency Something Different.

Make sure you watch it.

 

 

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