Dan Barber


Congratulations Dan Barber, winner of SMARTKETING’s eighth Gretzky award.

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Back in 2010 I started an annual tradition of awarding a company or individual for peak performance, the Gretzky award for “skating to where the puck is going to be.”  The sixth and seventh Gretzky awards, were two companies making this planet a better place, LeanPath and Lotus Foods respectively.  In light of the fact I am extremely concerned about collapsing ecosystems on our planet, I am awarding renown chef, long time farm-to-table advocate, Dan Barber a Gretzky award for his forward thinking as it relates to future food and farming.


I wrote about Dan last August, specifically wastED Pop-Ups, his restaurant concept of dishes composed entirely of ingredients usually considered waste to be discarded.  His latest mission is to change farm-to-table cuisine.  Instead of center-of-plate entrées consisting of a protein, preferably grass-fed, entrées should be great tasting vegetables topped with a seasoning or a sauce of meat.  He advocates that chefs have a responsibility to form a relationship with their farmers, thus know where every ingredient comes from.  In addition, they need to better understand the numerous combinations/origins of global food.  Long-term it will be better for our ecosystems.

I highly recommend carving out some time to watch Dan Barber’s classic TED talk How I fell in love with a fish to better understand he is a planetary ecosystem leader skating to where the puck is going to be.  Congratulations Dan!

Tharp’s Wisdom


Last week I pointed out the need to deviate from the norm to advance progress.  Sometimes creative innovation is a byproduct of deviating from the norm.  Renown modern choreographer Twyla Tharp’s classic The Creative Habit offers remarkable wisdom about creative innovation.

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Tharp believes that creativity is not just a result of challenging the status quo and deviating from the norm, but rather an act of defiance.  She stresses the need for creative people to question accepted truths and principles.  Don’t always conform to the established rules.  Do things differently!  Furthermore, in the creative process according to Tharp, there has to be an act of destruction or abandonment.  Consequently, something has to be cast aside to make way for the new.

Can you subscribe to doing things differently?  If so, creative innovation will follow.



“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.”  Frank Zappa

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Early morning Christmas Eve day I went to Macy’s to buy a duffel bag.  The store was completely dead despite all the discounted merchandise.  I was surprised given all the positive holiday sales forecasts I had read.  However, I was aware that a significant amount of growth was going to be a result of increased online sales versus a year ago (approximately 18%).  Bottom-line: I was experiencing the overall inertia of retail brick & mortar.  Reminded me of a line I once read in Fast Company magazine: equilibrium, status quo is the precursor to stagnation.

Deviation (noun): The action of departing from an established course or accepted standard.

Are you prepared to deviate from the norm in 2018?





Slang – cool, def, bomb, kwel, awesome, boss.  What defines a cool person?

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To me, New York Times columnist David Brooks said it best this past year: “The cool person is stoical, emotionally controlled, never eager or needy, but instead mysterious, detached and self-possessed.  The cool person is gracefully competent at something, but doesn’t need the world’s applause to know his worth.  That’s because the cool person has found his or her own unique and authentic way of living with nonchalant intensity.”

Are you cool?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Innovative Byproduct


I have posted numerous times about food waste, the last titled Good Thinking.  Beyond food, the global challenge is Zero Waste, a visionary philosophy – the redesign of sustainable resources.  All products are reused.  The most recent Zero Waste innovation I learned about is Feel Iceland.

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Founder & CEO, Hrönn Margrét Magnúsdóttir observed how her father-in-law, a fisherman of Viking decent, utilized his catch from the ocean.  She was amazed how much of the fish byproducts were thrown away.  Her mission was born; she was determined to create more value for the fish caught by Iceland’s fisherman.  Via research, along with other ingredients from the waters surrounding Iceland, she created a line of food supplements and skin care products that would make people feel good.  Two examples:

  • A collagen powder made from Icelandic fish skin and amino acids that helps conserve the youthfulness (elasticity) of skin. Just mix the powder into your favorite smoothies, tea or the beverage of your choice.
  • An anti-aging skin serum made with a high concentration of marine enzymes and Feel Iceland’s collagen powder.

Feel Iceland, an innovative example of utilizing the precious sustainable resources of our planet.

Over the Top


In my 2011 post titled The Missing App – The Personal Touch, I questioned whether society had lost its personal touch.  However, I still believe there are exceptions to the norm.  Amtrak employee, Kevin Marshall is one of those people who practices the value of the personal touch.

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Recently Mom and I went to Washington D.C.  We decided to take Amtrak versus experiencing the parking lot on I-495 (the Capital Beltway) and taking out a loan to pay for hotel parking in DuPont Circle.  On the way back to Philadelphia, when I went up to the counter to purchase our tickets, Kevin Marshall the ticket counter customer service specialist, after viewing my Mom’s ID (age 97), said wait a minute.  Unsolicited, he put on a jacket, stepped out from behind the counter, got a wheel chair and wheeled my Mom onto our train directly to her seat.  Over the top – the personal touch!

When was the last time you experienced an over the top customer service experience?

Vegan Sneakers


I have been following World Vegan Month (November) on twitter.  Key Learning: Exclusive vegan sneakers are here!!

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Back in 2009, I posted about exclusive sneakers, specifically Nike’s “Gucci” themed Dunk High sneakers.  Nike’s latest exclusive release will be the winner of their inaugural Vote Forward contest – vegan shoe style Air Max 97/1 designed by Richmond, VA vintage store owner/vegan Sean Wotherspoon.

What are vegan sneakers?  Sneakers made without any animal ingredients or byproducts.  Most sneakers are made with synthetic materials to make them light and breathable, but some are blended with animal leather or use glue made from animal bones.  A majority of sneaker colors are made from synthetic dyes and inks, some that are derived from animals.  Sean designed his sneakers with a velour interior and a multi-color (80’s love theme) corduroy exterior.  To promote his sneakers, he drove a Volkswagen bus painted with the same colors of his shoe style from Richmond to Los Angeles giving away vegan food on his trip.  The first pair which was scheduled to debut in Los Angeles sold for $96,000 on eBay.  Currently the shoe is priced upwards to $2,000 on eBay.  Recently, the exclusive release of the vegan sneaker was cancelled when a crowd of 500 people camped out in front Sean’s store days in advance.  Note: Nike plans to release the shoe globally in March 2018.

Are vegan sneakers on your Christmas list?