Passport Project

Always on the look out for some sort of fun project to get involved in of my own – rather than just helping others – I found this interesting project from a cool kid named Kenji Summers.  I love the idea.

Passport Project has (2) working initiatives including “The Coalition”, a network of Millennial global travelers and citizens across various industries and “Passport Life Grants”, a fund that helps young non-passport owners in subsidizing passport application fees and facilitating travel abroad experiences.

Learn more here.

I was reminded of my trusty passport that has not received enough use (Toronto doesn’t count).



The New American Dream Will be Redefined Back Home

The American Dream is being redefined right in front us. Not by the media. Not by schools. And certainly not by the financial institutions seeking to maintain the status quo.    Marketers give them names like GenY or Millennials, but make no mistake, the American Dream is being redefined by the young people who have inherited an obsolete idea. This is the generation weaned on digital and their dreams have no physical borders.    The new American Dream is largely global and fluid. The need to own a home will be replaced by the desire to live abroad – multiple times. The need to lay down roots will be replaced by the need to remain mobile. This impacts everything from transportation, to dwellings, to the pursuit of higher education.

Personal experiences are the new assets. Individuality is the new wealth.

Working on (or as my UK friends may charmingly say ‘looking after’) a number of brands that serve the younger generations of Americans, more often than not, you are presented rather alarming data about kids of the future.  Things like:  The kids being born today will be the first generation of kids that do not have it as good as their parents.   Or:  The recession is forcing entire graduating college classes to sit out of employment, and be passed up by younger grads once the economy turns around.  A lost class if of you will.

Photo of Taj Reid, of WeJetSet.

As dismal as it may seem, I also think that as a society and marketers, we are looking at these kids through the lense of the now antiquated American Dream.   People are resilient.  If the passion is there, or a drop of ambition, I am confident that these kids will redefine the American Dream – make it a global one, relevant – and make it work for them.

I have had the very fortunate situation, in my opinion, to have had a taste of the old American Dream, and now what may be a new one.   I went to school.  Got a job.  Bought a house.   Dogs.   Marriage.  And it really did not even suck.  It was all I knew.  Most of my friends are living that very dream right now.   Many probably assume that some day they’ll sell their house at a great profit, or better yet, simply strike it rich.  Either by the hands of some benevolent corporation, or by the equally likely winged horse that will fly from the sky to deliver them that big pay day.   Somewhere along the way, probably as a Texan living in New York during a time our country divided down the middle politically and rationally, I realized it was time to adjust the mirrors and clean the windshield.  I have found myself in this somewhat migratory/nomadic lifestyle that I personally find pretty goddamn amazing.   I am not rich.  I don’t even own a car.  But I am free in every imaginable way – a feeling I don’t ever recall as an adult.   A blank canvas.  A GPS waiting for an address.

There is a statistic that measures the number of kids that have moved back in with their parents in their late 20’s.  The number is high.   People who read the stat sit back in their conference room chair and chuckle at the prospects.  I actually think of that scenario – the act of moving back with you parents – as the ultimate gesture or better yet, middle finger to the old American Dream.  It is not a bad a thing… those 20-somethings will emerge poised to take on the world from a new perspective.   The biggest mistake they could make would be trying to jump back into the old rat race.  It is the ultimate opportunity  to rethink your place in the world.   Read books.  Dream big.  Volunteer.  Start over.  It is a beautiful thing.   People that move home now will be the pioneers of the new dream.  Embrace it.  Marketers should not write these people off, but instead seek to understand the great potential of these individuals.  They are the ones starting revolutions in food.  Social entrepreneurs.  They are highly educated with nothing to lose – a powerful dynamic that I don’t recall in my lifetime.

When I wrote the quoted text above for a project I was working on, it was rooted in the observations of the young people I meet, or their blogs that I read.  Perhaps not their actions, but certainly their aspirations.   I am beyond confident they will figure it out.  I hope they let an old man in on what they have cookin’.

My New York Experience: Bright Lights, Big City

As the first of what I hope will be at least 2 times living in NYC comes to a close, I want to use the power of images (Michael J. Fox in Bright Lights, Big City) and sounds (Bryan Ferry and New Order) to sum things up for me.   Ironically, of course. More to come on this topic.


Aging Well: 9 1/2 Weeks

A friend suggested I re-watch 9 1/2 Weeks a few weeks back.  Truth is… I had never seen it.  My new Apple TV changed that.  My friend was impressed with how well it had withstood the test of time, and I have to agree, considering much of the 80s.   Not over-the-top yuppie.  Downtown, but not Wall Street.  And way cooler than Working Girl.



This is not about the amazing people inv…

Bryan Newman and Lady Gaga

This is not about the amazing people involved, or even the incredible cool-ness of what happened.  It is just about following your instincts when you suspect something special is going to happen.    Lesson learned. Pictured above: An impromptu performance by Lady Gaga for a room of 20 people at my favorite Friday night spot in NYC. A few nights after selling out Madison Square Garden indefinitely.

See also:  Friday Nights at Duane Park in Tribeca

Tim Burton at MOMA

Whoa. Probably a pretty common response to the Tim Burton exhibit going on right now at MOMA.    The volume of work alone would inspire a good solid Keanu Reeves-style whoa, but I really cannot think of the words to describe it right now.  The only thing that outnumbered the works of art were the crazy crowds of people who are flocking to the show.   Imagine every character from every movie (plus countless others) sketched, painted and crayoned in order to fine tune his vision for each.  Every time slot is consistently sold out, so plan ahead if you are traveling to the city and have plans to see the exhibit.   He is a true multimedia artist in the purest sense.  Go check it.

Respect Your Elders: Bill Cunningham

Innovator, pioneer, godfather to a legion of fashion photo bloggers, and friend of Stylish Sarah.   Here is a snippet from wikipedia:

Cunningham shoots goings on in the streets of Manhattan every day; most of his pictures, he has said, are never published. Designer Oscar de la Renta has said, “More than anyone else in the city, he has the whole visual history of the last 40 or 50 years of New York. It’s the total scope of fashion in the life of New York.” Though he has made a career out of unexpected photographs of celebrities, socialites, and fashion personalities, many in those categories value his company; according to David Rockefeller, Brooke Astor requested his presence, alone among the media, at her 100th birthday party.

In 2008 he was awarded the title chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. As of 2008, Filmmaker Richard Press and Philip Gefter of the Times are working on a documentary about Cunningham, his bicycle, and his camera.

A documentary?  Sweet.

Check out one of his ‘On The Street’ videos.

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Some Old Favorites from the Archives

Out of nowhere, I happened to see how long the list of archives are for  my blog.  It’s that long list of months in the right hand margin.   I started it back in 2007, which seems like a pretty long time ago at this point.    Quite a bit has changed for me since then.  Went from a huge corporate media job, to a 2-man operation, to a slightly-larger-than-2 man operation.  I started a completely new line of work in a new sliver of the marketing and advertising world.  Major updates to the relationship status.  Sudden loss of my father.  Looking at the old posts from late 2007 and early 2008 gave me some great insight into the way my outlook has changed due to all of the things listed above.  It is almost like a diary – a very public diary that you invite a few hundred people a day to read.  This is my journal, and here are some of my favorite entries from back in 2007.

My first experience at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Sean Lennon was watching from a balcony above, which reminded me of old times with my parents – when I was 6 years old.

My friends David and Allen came to visit in Nov 07.  I love this picture on Mulberry street in Little Italy.  They look like two mobster hitmen looking over one of their assignments.

I like this one mainly for the title.   Doyle was not allowed to venture out into the crowds of the NYC Marathon that runs right by my apartment, so it was called 3/4 Family Photo.

And finally, for a really good snapshot of where my head was at the end of 2007, check out my List of Favorite Things from 2007.  Some of these continue to ring true, but many were simply disposable, like almost everything type of consumable around.


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