Climate Changer?


COP27, the 27th United Nations Climate Change conference, is coming to a close today in Egypt. To stay current regarding our current climate crisis, I follow Lubomila Jordanova on LinkedIn who publishes a great newsletter The Climate of Business which I highly recommend. Her COP27 conference takeaways were wide-ranging.  

Read On:

Lubomila wrote in the newsletter: “I am leaving COP27 with a glass half full and a glass half empty.” A long- time attendee of the conference, she felt the empty part of the glass came from tepid new commitments and unfulfilled old commitments which failed to demonstrate the boldness needed in challenging times. However, progress is being made, but has been slow which led her to conclude after conversations with sustainability professionals in business, they will be the key stakeholder to address and fix the climate crisis. Therefore, she remains realistic a lot of work still needs to be done, but optimistic (glass half full) business has the capital, moves fast and will make decisions with the planet in mind.

I followed the two-week conference closely. What excited me the most was the number of articles published online about the current seaweed revolution and its potential role in fixing the climate crisis. I have been an advocate (now known as a Kelper) for seaweed since my first post on the topic back in 2019. First as a superfood, touted as the next kale. Currently, for its positive environmental impact; a planetary solution for being a carbon offset. Today I just want to briefly focus on what some scientists are researching:

  • Seaweed’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. Field trials are being conducted to learn how to scale up seaweed cultivation as a climate solution.
  • One strategy being scrutinized is carbon sequestration – cultivating seaweed and sinking it into the deep ocean. Interesting solution! Seaweed grows relatively quickly, requires no arable land, fresh water or fertilizers unlike planting trees (note: seaweed captures up to 20 times more carbon per acre than terrestrial forests). In addition, it is good for the ecosystem of the planet’s coastlines – protection via wave reduction, enhances fish production and marine biodiversity.

The potential of seaweed as one solution to help mitigate climate change still requires a lot of research to better understand its benefits to society and ocean ecosystems. As a Kelper, I plan to post seaweed success stories on a regular basis to keep my readership in the loop.

Opinions Welcomed!

Same Old, Same Old (a.k.a. Status Quo)


Currently, my company SMARTKETING is strategically targeting sustainable foods. Unfortunately, the food-away-from-home channel is still recovering from the pandemic. Investment in future innovation is lop-sided. Reminds me of some words of wisdom my mother once shared with me: “You do not create a future, with a foot in the past.”

Read On:               

As a Business Catalyst, I am a firm believer innovation is paramount to the long-term success of any organization. I am continually researching, as well as writing about the topic to further amplify my marketing skills.  Over the years, if there is one thing I have learned/experienced to quote one of my favorite innovators of modern dance: “The creative process is not controlled by a switch you can simply turn on or off; it’s with you all the time.” (Alvin Ailey – American Dancer)

As I stated above in the Blink the food-away-from-home channel is still recovering from the pandemic. A majority of food companies I engage with are still scampering to get their businesses back to pre-pandemic levels. During the recovery process, they have been challenged by supply chain disruption, rising costs and shrinking margins. As a result, when I propose assisting in the development of sustainable products which are good for the future health of consumers and the planet, I encounter budgetary hurdles. Especially from a majority of start-up companies who have raised substantial funding to develop innovative products, yet do not think it is necessary to invest in the due diligence needed to better understand market realities to develop a strategic roadmap.

Is the post pandemic lop-sided investment in future innovation totally attributed to tight budgets? Not really, I believe there are two other major factors:

  • Routine – Same old, same old stunts creativity. Established/mature companies are too caught up/programmed in their day-to-day operations to take timeout to think outside the lines. To be truly creative, you must challenge the status quo and to look at everything from a different perspective. “Any business today that embraces the status quo as an operating principle is going to be on a death march.” (Howard Schultz – American Business Leader)
  • Eating Behavior Myopia – In a relatively short period of time we have experienced three major historical global disruptions – The Great Recession, COVID-19 and the current global warming crisis. A major byproduct of these events has led to a consumer renaissance in eating behavior. For starters, The Great Recession led to the emergence of frugal consumer behavior at Retail Grocery and an offset at food-away-from-home, the demand for indulgence and experimentation (e.g., bold ethnic flavors). In regards to COVID-19, several leading research surveys validated a large majority of consumers changed their eating habits. A survey conducted by the IFIC (International Food Information Council) revealed American respondents were cooking at home (60%) to a greater extent and observing healthier eating habits. In addition, the pandemic heightened the awareness of the fundamentals of the foods system supply chain. Food companies need to be farsighted beyond their current sales and fully recognize consumer consciousness is on the rise. Consumers are focusing more on their health and well-being, as well as the planet’s. Consequently, food & beverage expectations will continue to evolve as their F&B IQ increases. Food companies must begin investing now in designing products which reflect their consumers future personal lifestyles. During this process, companies need to be transparent right down to the source of every ingredient and the energy utilized in manufacturing/delivering their products to market.

Time to innovate. “The status quo sucks!” (George Carlin – American Comedian)

Business Interactions Pre-Zoom


Whatever happened to business interactions? I remember the days……….

Read On:

When you just picked up a phone and called people at their desk unscheduled. Then came voicemail – “Sorry I am currently away from my desk. Your call is very important to me, so at the tone please leave a detailed message.” To avoid voicemail, I began to call a few minutes before lunch or at the end of the day to catch people at their desk. Then came “Sorry the voicemail box is full.”

Before there was email, there were grammatically correct, proofed three times interoffice memos typed by secretaries (note: now called administrative assistants) delivered in brown envelopes which piled up in my inbox. I actually had one boss who got irate his staff was not responding in a timely manner so he special ordered blue envelopes so we knew to respond immediately when his blue envelopes showed up.

Then came email complete with typos and lengthy copy lists including everyone in the organization except the mailroom. People would even email co-workers down the hall or a few cubicles away. Then email became the standard modus operandi, a popular form of communication. Subsequently, people became overwhelmed especially when they traveled which led to the evolution of “I am currently out of the office” bounce back messages. Now in the era of smartphones with 5G networks people actually added to their message, “I have limited access to my email so if you need immediate help, you can _______.” (Note: I will let you fill in the blank).

Before LinkedIn people would network internally over lunch or externally at conferences or trade shows; engage, exchange business cards and write follow-up notes.

Before COVID-19 people traveled to conferences/tradeshows and filled out expense reports documenting how they spent OPM (a.k.a. other peoples’ money). For the record: OPM paid for the best wine course I ever took.

Before working remotely, people booked conference rooms for meetings without agendas. Then came meeting agendas and minutes to improve productivity, plus CYA. Then to further increase meeting productivity came catered working lunches with oversized chocolate chip cookies. Productivity increased to the next level when meetings were held first thing in the morning complete with catered breakfasts. For the record: I alwayswondered where all the tea bags and Splenda packets disappeared to. 

Before working remotely, people casually engaged at water coolers or break rooms or by working the halls.

Then came Zoom!

Influencers By The Numbers


In September, I addressed the growth of influence marketing and how it has evolved into a digital form of groupthink. Since my post, AdWeek published some stats validating how people really trust buying a product or service mentioned by an influencer.

Read On:

Relevant stats:

  • 74% of those 18-24 rely on social media influencers for information about products and services; however only 24% of those over 55 do the same. Overall, influencers are looked to nearly as often as a brand or retailers’ websites for product information.
  • 60% of respondents have bought something on the recommendation of an influencer, this goes as high as 72% of 25–34-year-olds.
  • 90% of respondents of all ages would trust an influencer over a celebrity.
  • Instagram is still the top platform where 18–45-year-olds follow influencers with Facebook leading the way for consumers who are 46+.

While aggregating information for this post about influencers, I learned smart marketers are now shifting from traditional demographic targeting strategies to cultural triggers to better understand and reach the next generation of consumers. Media researchers have identified five new major cultural consumer buckets: gaming, entertainment, education, fashion and beauty. Media agencies warn marketers to closely monitor these cultural triggers since they are constantly morphing and fragmenting.

Since we began handing over data to high tech companies and with the increase in computational algorithms utilized in customer targeting, marketing has been on steroids! I made the transition from finance to marketing back in 1984. Back then my basic understanding of marketing 101 was simple – the set of activities or business practices (a.k.a. marketing mix) of promoting and selling products or services. With the advent of the Internet, it has become more complex. Candidly, I find it a challenge to keep up with all the changes, especially the evolution of influence marketing and the different platforms affecting social media influencers. Are marketers overprocessing targeting the different lifestyles, cultures and subcultures to authentically build a trustworthy brand? Or as one of my all-time favorite marketers P.T. Barnum once said pre-Internet:

“There is a sucker born every minute.”



Saturday morning, I went out on my balcony to have a cup of coffee and learned I had dropped a piece of avocado from my salad Friday night. I had an ant colony! How did my dropped piece of avocado go viral among ants?

Read On:

For starters, the first thing I was concerned about was where did all these ants come from? My apartment is on the fourth floor. I have occasionally spotted maybe a couple feasting on a dropped croissant crumb, but never a colony. I felt better when I read the science section in my Saturday paper.  An ecologist from the University of Hong Kong published his new ant census count in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – ant ubiquity: 20 quadrillion! Ants outnumber humans 2.5 million to 1. Note: His colleagues believe this figure is conservative.

Google queries:

  • How do ants find food? They have a strong sense of smell which enables them to detect chemical substances (e.g., sugar and other food) in their surrounding environment via receptors/bristles on their backs. Most ants can pick up a strong scent from as far away as approximately 11ft.
  • How do ants communicate? They use a chemical known as pheromones and leave a trail of chemical signals behind them so other ants from their colony can follow their trail. Over time, scientists have discovered ants select the shortest route to their food source so their colony members can locate the food source quickly, thus conserve energy.

So what?

By studying ant colony behavior, scientists have been inspired to employ biomimicry an innovative process emulating nature’s time-tested patterns like ant colonies to develop sustainable solutions to human challenges in the real world. It has helped computer scientists utilize computerized virtual ants to solve complex computational algorithms. Best path ant colony behavior has also had a positive impact on logistics execution, mail delivery and the distribution of media through networks and to mobile users.  

Key learning:

In the future when I eat out on my balcony, I will be careful not to drop any food and create more science experiments. 



“As long as you’re resilient and persistent, things can happen even much later. Everyone is on their own path and maybe it’s even a little bit sweeter if it takes a little bit longer.”

– Rajeev Ram (American tennis player)

Read On:

Since late September, in the tennis world, Roger Federer, sports icon has gathered all the headlines after announcing his retirement and playing his last match in London. Lost in the spotlight was future hall of famer Rajeev Ram, an American doubles specialist who became the oldest first time ATP player ranked number one after he achieved the top spot in the doubles ranking. Rajeev is 38 years old.

His words of wisdom (above) resonate for me, especially since I am approaching the 28th – year anniversary of starting SMARTKETING. Since I began my adventure back in 1994, the dogma I advocate both in business and life, is patience and fortitude. I have posted numerous times on this subject: The Library Lions and Patience & Fortitude. It appears Mr. Ram and I are on the same page regarding the value of patience and fortitude.  However, he also added one more tenet;resiliency.How true! Since 1994 I have had my fair share of ups and downs and in-betweens. Candidly, life and business have been a rollercoaster ride. Being resilient has been key.

“Resilience isn’t a single skill. It’s a variety of skills and coping mechanisms. To bounce back from bumps in the road as well as failures, you should focus on emphasizing the positive.”

                                                                       – Jean Chatzky (American Journalist)

Manipulative Social Media Behavior


As a marketer, back in 2018, I began voicing my concern we were becoming algorithm hostages thanks to technology. This month I posted about social media key influencers spearheading Digital Groupthink. Today I am going to address how social media on a macro level, beyond marketing, is directing societal changes.

Read On:

Has social media rewired our minds? There has been a plethora of books written by acclaimed journalists and academic studies published by psychologists conjecturing this topic, but nothing conclusive has emerged. Consequently, I am stepping out of my marketing comfort zone and posting a brief list how I believe social media is dictating societal transformation:

  • Global Politics – Making headlines and trending on social media in the U.S. is how democracy is under threat. Voter suppression stories are in the spotlight, as well as a G.O.P. plot to influence voting in upcoming elections. Throw into the mix former President Trump and his followers promoting far-right conspiracies, American politics is in a state of disarray. Globally, in Myanmar, social media conspiracies generated hatred which fueled a violent military coup. In Sweden’s recent election September 11th, social media posts facilitated a surge in right-wing parties including one with neo fascist backing. As a result, their current Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson only won 30 percent of the vote impacting the country’s parliament since her party’s coalition has three fewer seats than their right-wing rivals. The list of European countries swinging right thanks to social media influencers posting misinformation continues to grow. This past Sunday, Italian voters elected what will most likely be a coalition of right-wing parties.
  • Mental Health – For starters, psychologists estimate there is a small percentage of social media users (5 to 10%) who engage excessively, constantly checking and scrolling through social media platforms. This subset of Americans meets the criteria for social networking behavioral addiction devoting so much time online that it impairs other important life matters. Psychologists indicate addictive behavior resembles other substance abuse behavior – unpredictable moods, erratic emotional and interpersonal related symptoms, cognitive preoccupation, etc. Secondly, dark social bubbles, a topic I addressed at the end of last year. Specifically, about an easily accessible website where mentally unstable members from around the world can discuss their suicide plans (e.g., date, methodology) on the site’s public forums which are comparable to a social media platform; live chat rooms or member messaging. The site reportedly gets on average 6 million views a month which is quadruple the National Prevention Lifeline.  
  • Body Image – Bioethics experts are concerned social media has contributed to growing anxieties around body image, fueling a demand for cosmetic procedures (botox & dermal fillers). Consequently, the cosmetic procedures industry which is loosely regulated is booming globally. Young people on platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram are concerned their photos can receive positive or negative ratings based on how they look in our celebrity culture of perfect lifestyles. Older people are obsessed with being forever young. For the record: The growing popularity of makeover plastic surgery games and apps such as “Plastic Surgery Princess” and “Pimp My Face” could also be contributing to mental health problems in young people.

Opinions Welcomed!

Forever Relevant – Kudos to the Fashion Industry

Forever Relevant: Yvon Chouinard’s mantra which I posted back in 2019 (below), especially when I learned this morning, he and his family transfered the ownership of the company he founded, Patagonia, to a specially designed trust and a nonprofit organization where the company’s annual profits will be used for environmental initiatives.   

Posted on April 19, 2019


I take pleasure in reviewing innovative projects to save our vulnerable planet. One industry that is rising to the challenge is the fashion industry.

Read On:

“Business is a combination of human energy and money and to me that equals power. I would go so far as to say that business is the most powerful force in society today, and it is a force that ought to be harnessed to affect social change to improve the quality of life in those societies around the world where the basic needs are not being met.”                                                                                                                                                               – Ben Cohen

Detailed below are some leading examples of sustainably focused companies in the fashion industry:

  • Patagonia – The company has always been a socially responsible company. Their latest mission statement mandated by Yvon Chouinard, their 80-year-old founder: “Patagonia is in business to save the planet.”Yvon wants to build a sense of urgency inside and outside the company since he believes we are not just witnessing climate change; we are experiencing a climate crisis. Three pillars Patagonia believes are critical to achieve their mission are agriculture, politics and protected lands. More specifically, one major initiative that piques my interest is regenerative agriculture, a long-time priority for their supply chain. Currently, they are working with small cotton farmers in India to create jobs to control pests with traps as opposed to utilizing chemicals, as well as weed and harvest cotton by hand. Note: Studies indicate that regenerative agriculture captures more carbon than we’re emitting. Cotton is a crop that captures carbon.
  • Everlane – Noteworthy, the clothing brand founded in 2011 waited six years before introducing its brand of jeans, holding out for a sustainably responsible manufacturer that recycled 98% of the water it utilized. Their line of “clean silk” shirts are made in an energy-efficient factory using chemical-free dyes. Throughout their supply chain they conduct ongoing audits to reduce waste, plus the use of plastics ranging from their employee kitchen (e.g., straws) to buttons from a foreign supplier. Their founder and CEO is concerned how the world is choking on plastics and wants to be a leading advocate for its eradication.  
  • Synflux – A Japanese start-up research collective has developed machine learning algorithms (a.k.a. AI) enabling fashion clients to customize the shape, fabric and color of their garments. Consequently, their technology will reduce fabric waste by an estimated 15 percent.

Digital Groupthink


I continue to study the growth of influence marketing. There are two type of influencers, macro (celebrities with massive, millions of followers) and micro (everyday consumers who engage on a regular basis with significant social media followings). I am beginning to conclude influence marketing is a digital form of groupthink.

Read On:

This much I do know, digital groupthink is flourishing in the fashion industry. The most recent brand success story I read about is Djerf Avenue, launched in Sweden in 2019. Its founder Matilda Djerf, enjoys sizable social media metrics on her personal accounts – 2.6 million on Instagram and a million on TikTok. Matilda insists she is making a statement by building more than a fashion brand, but a community advocating her Gen Z/European lifestyle known as Scandi Cool. Her loyal/devoted followers are identified as Djerf Angels. Her business metrics are impressive too! 2022 projected sales revenue of $22 million, up from $8 million in 2021.

Do you follow any social media influencers or march to the beat of your own drum?


The Mediocrity Movement?


As an advocate of influence marketing, I understand the value of social media. However, my personal usage is far below the worldwide average (source: Statista) of 147 minutes per day (2 hours, 27 minutes). My Tik Tok usage is zero, but I am on top of what is trending #quietquitting.

Read On:

TikTok, the Chinese-owned video app with over 1 billion monthly active users, continually has been scrutinized over its data practices. As a result, my usage is zero because I refuse to download the social platform on my smartphone. The latest eye opener for me is privacy research revealed the web browser used within the app was built in functionality to track every online keystroke made by its users. In addition to my concern about TikTok’s utilization of data, from what I have read, a majority of the content I would find juvenile/irrelevant, plus numerous critics of the app have expressed it is a time-consuming black hole.

What is #quietquitting? A trending phrase first posted on TikTok back in July which went viral gaining millions of views. People were voicing a concern for optimizing their work-life balance, avoid burnout (a.k.a. rise & grind) and get more fulfillment outside of the office. Leading career coaches believe the pandemic exacerbated the stress and overload of work people perform above and beyond their job description. In addition, people wanted to spend more time with family, friends and their hobbies thanks to experiencing working remotely; versus outright quitting their jobs, #quietquitting TikTokers posted about shutting their computers off at 5 PM, only doing the assigned tasks they were paid for versus working more hours than required. Accordingly, they were leaving the office to enhance their personal lives. Gallup workplace and well-being research revealed a large group of respondents felt they were not engaged – they show up for work, do the bare minimum and not much else. Note: 54% of the respondents in this category were born after 1989.

My take. Work-life balance is paramount, but is best achieved via prioritizing one’s time management both in and out of the office. #quietquitting followers, thanks to a leading social platform are just being vocal venting their employment frustrations, plus validating why they are not going the extra mile for themselves or the organization that signs their paychecks. Are we on the cusp of a mediocrity labor movement?

Pre-social media, I actually experienced #quietquitting decades ago when I was in Corporate America. In every organization I worked there was a subset of people who mastered performing at a mediocre level as they watched the clock strike 5PM. I used to describe these workers as people who showed up daily just so they could collect their paychecks. Maybe I should sign up for TikTok and post a new hashtag to see if it goes viral: