I am a future writer wannabe. To hone my skills I blog, plus read a lot to improve my vocabulary and review different writing styles. I would like to share some new words I have recently learned, plus some over-used, popular business lingo.  

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  • Imbroglio – An extremely confused, complicated or embarrassing situation. Sound all too familiar? To me sometimes a byproduct of overprocessing. Makes me think of my favorite Confucius quote: “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
  • Granular View – Business lingo, for detailed-orientated data points. My apologies, isn’t that the overall objective of conducting quantitative research to compile  data/facts to make informed decisions. Consequently, to me it is a given all quantitative research is granular. 
  • Kairos – An ancient Greek word meaning the right, critical or opportune moment.
  • Nimbyism – The behavior of someone who does not want something to be built or done near where they live, although it does need to be built or done somewhere.
  • Pivot – Primarily a business term that became extremely popular during the pandemic referring to companies changing direction as in some aspect of their core products or services to better meet consumer demand.

A word wealth exercise follows: The imbroglio caused by COVID-19 forced many businesses across all sectors to pivot. Business leaders were challenged by a kairotic event to create a sense of urgency with their teams to better understand with the aid of coronavirus economic stimulus packages, how best to survive the pandemic by analyzing available market data to a granular view. Unfortunately, globally in some municipalities, funds directed for economic stimulus fueled nimbyism among special interest groups to place the funding of environmental/climate related projects on hold.

Have you learned any new words recently?

Food Buzz du Jour


Upcycled Foods!

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For the last couple years, plant-based foods have dominated innovation in the food industry. Food futurists touted a shift toward plant foods would go a long way in promoting human health and the health of our planet. Their robust sales projections were primarily driven by two factors:

  • The continued global growth of the vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian consumer segments has driven awareness regarding the health benefits offered by a plant-based diet. Numerous nutrition research studies examining plant-based eating patterns revealed a reduction in the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
  • Environmentalists publicized the current global food system contributes 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions mainly attributable to current food consumption which is heavily resource-intensive, specifically the enormous environmental burden that goes along with animal agriculture. animal-based foods. In addition to driving greenhouse emissions, industrial animal agriculture, places an enormous strain on our planet’s resources (land, water, forests, and biodiversity).

Consequently, food companies’ innovation has been geared towards producing a plethora of plant-based products ranging from meat alternatives, dairy products (e.g., milk alternatives, ice cream, etc.) and even sushi. In order to facilitate a shift towards a plant-based food system, with the aim of meeting global climate goals, several things need to happen. For starters, new sustainable agricultural centric policies/practices will need to be implemented, as well as redirecting financial incentives to convert the quantity of land currently used for animal feed and animal production into land utilized to cultivate plant protein crops. Last of all, category leaders will need to broadcast the features and benefits of plant-based foods to consumers to drive consumption.

Sustainability continues to grow and evolve into a leading consumer criterion for food decisions. Consumer awareness regarding the negative impact of food waste on our planet has risen dramatically in the past two years – approximately 870 million people are under nourished, 2.5 billion tons of produce goes uneaten annually and it is estimated food waste contributes to 8-10% of global greenhouse emissions. Thanks to food waste’s environmental impact a new wave of innovation has emerged; upcycled foods. Food processors are taking the byproducts of manufacturing finished products, waste normally headed for landfills and converting them into functional/nutritional finished products. A primary example would be the manufacturing of fruit juices. Leftover waste which includes pulp, peels, stems, seeds, dietary fiber, etc. are being transformed into snack items. The recycling of spent grain (e.g., barley), a byproduct of the brewing industry has become an innovative technique, a process made popular by upcycled market leaders EverGrain and ReGrained. They have transformed spent grain into protein bars, beverages, baking mixes, flour, pizza crusts and pasta.  

To learn more, click on this link to the Upcycled Foods Association.

Opinions welcomed!  

The Library Lions


Patience and Fortitude, the pair of world-renowned, imposing marble lions situated in front of the majestic Beaux-Arts library building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan. They have captured the admiration of New Yorkers and visitors from all over the world since the library was dedicated back in 1911.

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I thought about the lions this morning when I went to see my physical therapist and absolutely fumbled my attempt at asking her in French, about her weekend. For the record the language barrier I experience here in Cannes has been awkward. Consequently, I decided to treat myself to French lessons to build on the few phrases I have mastered. Trust me my food French, ordering at a restaurant, boulangerie, poissonnerie, etc. is adequate. I have developed some everyday phrases when people ask me how I am. One of my favorite sayings is “Je suis content.” I have even rehearsed 10 reasons in response to the next question people always ask “Pourquoi?” Then I am lost. End of conversation.

This morning I was way off my game after two weeks of intensive lessons. My therapist knew I had enrolled in a language school and sensed I was frustrated. She told me to be patient and stick with it, French is a complicated language. It is going to take more than two weeks of lessons. Suddenly I thought about a guiding principle I value, especially in my business life Patience and Fortitude, a topic I posted about in the past.

My therapist is bi-lingual and has been helping me with my conversational French. She also taught me to get rid of my standard reply when someone asks how am I? “Je suis content!” She told me a typical French male would never say they are content. She advised me French people like to complain.

Slow down and remember: Patience and Fortitude!

A Touch of Humanity


Candidly. I am getting drained staying informed about our toxic turvy world. The war in Ukraine, U.S. gun violence, the spike in hate crimes, the prolonged global pandemic. What is going on with humanity? Being a pragmatist, on a micro level, I still remain positive especially after this past Thursday.  

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My mother passed away in April at 102-years and 3-months old. It was her dream to move on in the south of France and have her ashes scattered in the shimmering Mediterranean Sea. Last Thursday was a special day as I fulfilled her wish.

To make it happen, I made arrangements with the Les Suaveteurs (Lifeguards) en Mer in Cannes. I identified a captain who would take me out during his lunch hour to scatter my mother’s ashes. He needed a crew of four, thus went online for volunteers. Six people signed up. Ironically the Mediterranean was not shimmering last Thursday. It was pouring rain. The captain navigated the rescue boat to a location I had designated. When we arrived at the spot, the rain stopped and we conducted a brief ceremony. On the way back to the port, I asked those volunteers who spoke Enlglish why they signed up. Their reply: they enjoy helping people, especially someone who wanted to conduct a special ceremony. A truly amazing experience I shared with seven strangers further validating for me, despite what is going on in this world, there is still a bright side to humanity.

Consumer Buckets


I began my marketing journey as a B2C marketer, Consequently, in addition to staying abreast of state-of-the-art digital targeting trends (a.k.a. psychographic profiling), I am always researching the latest advancement as it relates to consumer targeting. Two consumer groups smart marketers currently covet – older people and blacks.

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When targeting consumers, smart marketers whether they advocate conventional targeting or advanced targeting, always start the process by researching/identifying their potential targets’ data points.

  • Older adults – U.S. households headed by people 55 or older hold $92.3 trillion or 69 percent of the country’s total wealth. Today older people are wealthier than previous generations, a statistic which will continue to increase since data scientists project by 2060, 95 million people (23 percent of the population) will be 65 or older, up from 52 million in 2018 (16 percent of the population). Marketers have learned to focus on the lifestyle of older buyers, developing products and services that meet their specific needs without broadcasting old age or senior citizen.
  • Segmented Black Consumers – Black consumers are a growing economic bloc; an estimated $910 billion in consumption in 2019 to $1.7 trillion by 2030 equivalent to the projected GDP of Mexico. Consumer research conducted by McKinsey & Company revealed a high percentage of Black Americans believe they do not receive fair or equitable treatment as consumers, thus are dissatisfied with the products and services that meet their needs, as well as supporting their financial health and security. McKinsey and Company’s research identified seven distinct segments primarily based on household income and geographic location (e.g., communities with lack of retail accessibility known as product deserts, growth communities with wealth and social mobility, etc.). Outside of low-income Black Americans living on a tight budget, on the whole Black consumers seek quality and brand credibility over price attributed to the fact they are highly engaged researchers and influencers. To me, McKinsey’s in-depth, detailed Black consumer research across a wide scope of business sectors (food, auto, apparel, consumer technology, banking, insurance, beauty, health & wellness); further validated when it comes to targeting Black consumer buckets today, one size does not fit all. This much I do know, it would behoove smart marketers to develop all-encompassing, credible content free from biases and fluent to Black American communities.  

Opinions welcomed!

Work Place Disruption – What’s New


As vaccination rates rise and COVID-19 hopefully begins to taper off, companies are currently being challenged to reopen their offices. How is it going? Time for an update.

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For starters, a significant byproduct of the pandemic was 47 million Americans hastily quit their jobs. This sudden shift of jobs was labeled the “Great Resignation.” A nationwide Harris Poll survey conducted at the end of March with USA Today revealed a high level of dissatisfaction among workers and employers.  By the numbers:

  • One in five workers in the past two years who quit their jobs and switched during the “Great Resignation” regret their move and are already looking for a new job – 30% were surprised about what their new jobs entailed, 24% indicated they missed the culture of their previous job while another 24% admitted they failed to weigh the pros and cons before making a shift.
  • Only 26% like their jobs enough to stay.
  • Some employers in numerous human resource surveys have acknowledged they were too quick to hire, thus find the right fit for each job resulting in burnout for new employees failing to adapt and fulfill their new job responsibilities. Note: A Gallup survey indicated that only 12% of employees felt they were prepared for the onboarding process of their new job.

Secondly, a major issue now surfacing in the workplace is the inflated costs associated with the daily routine of R.T.O. (return to office). At the beginning of April, consumer prices were 8.5 percent higher than they were the previous year – overall the fastest 12-month inflation rate since 1981. Two areas workers are feeling the pinch were rising gasoline prices for commuters and “lunchflation” – increased food prices (sandwiches and salads) further compounded by the increased cost of iced lattes or the average morning cup of coffee.

Finally, the future of flexible workplace models is still in flux. McKinsey & Company conducted a survey and fortified hybrid work is popular among a majority of respondents – more than four out of five preferred retaining hybrid work going forward, plus two out of three employees who preferred hybrid work would seek other opportunities if asked to return to fully on-site. Employers still need to work out the dynamics of their hybrid work place models to offer the flexibility of enhancing work-life balance while providing a sense of inclusion – the rising demand employees covet for a sense of belonging and being appreciated.

Opinions Welcomed!

Miner or Farmer?


I am an early adapter of LinkedIn. As I move in on almost two decades of being active on the networking and career development platform, I have noticed a change, diluted engagement and more self-promotion, thus I have begun re-evaluating my future level of participation/time commitment. My assessment?

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When I first joined LinkedIn, given I was self-employed, I thought it would be a great way to expand my business network band width beyond what I had already cultivated via attending conferences, speaking engagements and volunteering in my industry’s association. Being a networking aficionado, I quickly validated my hypothesis there are two types of networkers: strip miners (takers, what’s in it for me) and farmers (givers, who nurture their relationships by sharing information). The strip miners just wanted to collect LinkedIn connections without truly understanding the individual they were connecting with. On the other hand, farmers usually participated in discussion groups to engage with other professionals with similar backgrounds.

Initially I enjoyed my engagement with other LI members via comments, but quickly learned to be more select from a time management perspective. I found engagement usually in select discussion groups was a productive way to aggregate information. In addition, another way was joining discussion groups with a news feed. Before making a connection, I scheduled introductory/exploratory phone calls which was a great way to exchange mutual interests. The net result was I connected with some excellent people and achieved my objective of expanding my business network band width.

For me in the early 2010s, LI engagement morphed. First the platform eliminated news feeds so I no longer was able to aggregate information from my discussion groups. Then LinkedIn followed Facebook and added the Like button. Hitting the Like button might be good for metrics, but to me engagement became diluted. It made it too easy for people since they no longer had to take timeout to post a written comment.

Now I am noticing another change. Posts have become more personal as in people sharing TMI (e.g., spouses battling health issues like dementia), self-promotion about switching jobs or getting promoted, attending conferences, etc., etc., etc. There has been a significant increase in job recruitment which makes sense given LinkedIn was originally launched as a professional networking platform for finding a job, developing the professional relationships needed to succeed in one’s career. 

Frankly, what is now missing for me is aggregating relevant information for my business when I cruise LinkedIn and the potential for meaningful engagement with existing or potentially new connections. Candidly all the c’est moi self-promotion are broadcasts by miners. People just wanting to collect LinkedIn connections.

Opinions Welcome!

French Tape


I have validated thanks to living in France, a roll of heavy duty, water proof, industrial strength (2”x 50 yards) tape, only comes in one color, red,

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When I made the decision to move to Cannes, I knew France had a reputation for being a nightmare for bureaucracy and red tape. Given I was not going to buy a piece of property or get a job, thus pay taxes, I assumed French bureaucracy could not be no better or worse than what I had encountered in the States, except for some extra stamped paperwork. My experiences to date:

  • Out of the gate when I attempted four times to open a local bank account without success, I realized this widespread belief of French red tape was real, not just an old, tired cliché/stereotype.
  • In early September 2020, I assembled the paperwork (a.k.a. dossier) needed to renew my long-stay Visa. I received notification my registered mail was delivered and signed for at the region’s prefecture. I was waiting for my renewal interview and then bam, France’s second COVID-19 lock down occurred, thus forced the prefecture to close. Post lock down I followed up several times and never heard back. I decided to hire a lawyer to expedite my request for a Visa extension. Still waiting!
  • Unfortunately, I experienced two medical emergencies and had to navigate the French medical system. The first was my mother suffered a stroke, survived, so I moved her into a special care residence. She did not have proper medical coverage so I worked with the hospital’s social services to get her temporary French social security to cover the cost of her lengthy hospital stay. Another dossier was required. Good thing I packed a copy of her birth certificate. Her assisted living residence made me sign/initial every page of a 22-page contract. I then had one personal medical emergency. I only had to work with my American medical insurance company to process my claim. Definitely less paperwork, one form and my hospital report, plus numerous exchanges “your call is very important to us, we are experiencing longer than normal call wait times as a result of COVID-19.”

My most recent red tape experience stirred me to write this post. My mom (102 and 3 months old) finally passed away 4/7/22. To abide by her wishes to be cremated and have her ashes scattered at one of her favorite local beaches in Théoule sur Mer, with the help of my family, the cremation paperwork was tedious. The funeral home required me to send in two handwritten letters from my family back in the states complete with copies of their passports authorizing my request. At the end of the funeral home rendezvous (a.k.a. French for meeting), I was told when I am ready to scatter my mom’s ashes, since she selected a public beach, I will need a special permit to rent a boat to take me to a point 500 meters off shore, approximately 5-1/2 football fields, to complete my task. I was speechless.

This much I do know: I will continue to utilize public transportation & UBER and not even entertain the idea of getting a French driver’s license in the near future.    

Rock Star A Cut Above


I recently read this post by one of my LinkedIn connections. I’m hiring. I’ building out a ROCKSTAR Product Marketing Org. for a ROCKSTAR financial technology company. DM me if you are interested! As a result, I googled to explore the origins of the business buzz word Rock Star.

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My research disclosed the expression “like a rock star” surfaced at the turn of the millennium with the popularization of the rise of a “creative class”, people who were going to drive growth via innovation in the 21st century. Rock stars were no longer free-spirited musicians who fronted a famous band playing to sold out stadium crowds and selling millions of records in between drinking and drug binges, smashing guitars and occasionally tossing a TV out of their hotel room. The new rock stars of the 21st century were visionaries, super skilled workers. Human resource management coined the term to label people who were talented and had the expertise to handle repetitive, detail-oriented tasks – technology gurus, social media strategists, B2B telemarketers, sales people and consultants.

I clearly remember the first time I heard the term. I was having a drink with one of my ephemeral social media connections in Philadelphia discussing a digital marketing project I was working on and he said to me: “Bring me on board and I will make you look like a rock star.” I remember saying to myself: “Self, what if I don’t want to be a rock star, what if I just want to be a marketer, one cut above.” Later that evening I went home and compiled a list of the key attributes needed to become a marketer, one cut above:

  • Creative – Think “outside the lines.”
  • Adaptable – Aggregate information, study marketing trends and embrace change.
  • Innovative – There are no bad ideas!
  • Strategic – Transform relevant insight into marketing movements.
  • Organized – Harmony = balance.

After reviewing my list, it occurred to me I did not want to be a rock star. I wanted to be more like a jazz musician, since jazz musicians are known to improvise.

“I rather be a musician than a rock star.”

  • George Harrison

Opinions welcomed!

Playground Freedom


Friday morning, I closed my eyes on the balcony and concentrated on my sense of sound. In the distance (one-block) I heard kids squealing with joy in a school playground. Reminded me of a great article about playgrounds written by Phil Taylor, an accomplished sports journalist.

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I am captivated by playgrounds, a topic I have approached several times. In Playground Lessons. I suggested children play to better learn about the world around them and how best to connect with other people (peers, family members). They use the playground as transformative environment to learn. Playgrounds are a blank canvas for their imaginations to flourish/grow. There are no boundaries in a playground environment.

Phil Taylor’s feel-good column The Thrill Seeker details his visit to a playground with his grandson Rafa who at 2-1/2 wanted to go on the big kids slide designed for children between the ages of 5 and 12. Being responsible for his grandson, he was concerned he was being overprotective by dissuading Rafa and steering him back towards the section of the playground meant for kids his age. He processed with freedom comes discovery and joy, but also the potential for harm and disappointment. He decided to let his grandson go for it. He wrote: “Some bumps and bruises, literal and figuratively, are necessary for children to learn to handle the greater ones to follow. Ready for the world.” He referenced the philosophy of Helle Nebelong, the prominent Danish landscape/nature play spaces architect who purposely varies her designs to encourage children to take risks, choose freedom over safety, since freedom is key to learning how to adapt.

Opinions welcomed!