The whole CV from early newspaper days through digital media consulting.
THIS TRAIN STUDIOS
Placeholder site for the wave of projects coming in semi-retirement.
Some things you won’t find on LinkedIn.
My father wanted me to follow him into business as an auto mechanic, maybe run a boat yard with him. My mother wanted me to become a lawyer. When I was a kid I wanted to be a teacher. Or an historian. Or President. Somehow I ended up in media, and then in digital, on the business side.
Over the course of four decades now, I’ve had the luck and the privilege to work for a number of large, well-known corporations and firms, and some interesting start-ups, each outstanding in its own way. From the satisfaction of hearing the newspaper hit the driveway every morning, knowing I had something to do with supporting a foundation of democracy; to the thrill of learning to code and helping to design the advent of the commercial Internet; to the disquiet of witnessing the deconstruction of the the media business and the transformation into surveillance capitalism with all of its consequences; all of that has led to, in my few remaining years, trying to organize a few missions that might repair or replace some of what was lost in the disruptions.
Reinvented myself in a major way at least 6 times in my career, mostly in strategy and sales roles, spanning a dozen companies. The last decade or so, I’m usually the oldest person in the room, and sometimes I look around and wonder where everyone went—we’re not done yet!
Some companies were truly family. Some companies were extraordinarily brilliant even in spectacular flameout. Most of the companies I worked for don’t exist any more, or have been bought out and merged away to their last breath. All that’s left is a network of colleagues and clients—hundreds of people who have graced the work day with good business practices, exciting projects, and for many, with great stories and lasting friendships.
But that’s not what’s most important about what I wanted to share here.
This is. I had three ironclad rules during my career. More, really, but these three were the foundation.
1. Don’t sacrifice family for work. My father, god bless him, barely made it out of the 8th grade, and worked 80 hour weeks at his service station to put a roof over our heads and food on the table. He was a good provider because he always did what he had to do, but he also wasn’t around much. I was determined to be present every day to watch my children grow up. There’s very little that I missed even with inevitable travel, and I have zero regrets about the decisions I made, starting with that sunny Sunday afternoon at O’Hare when I stepped out of the security line to go back home to watch my son play some ball, then dialed it into the meeting the next day. Someone told me recently, “you’re more protective of your personal time than anyone I know.” Damn right. I saw enough people give everything to their work, only to wake up with their family, and their jobs, gone. Wasn’t going to let that happen to me. I am the one who knocks. And still I’ve always delivered at a high level for the companies who have employed me.
2. Don’t ever, ever climb over someone else’s back. I’m reasonably sure I never did that, and I’m sure I was reasonably successful without doing it. Nothing in business burns me more than to witness that kind of behavior, and I’ve always done what I could to stop it. This is not just about treating co-workers and customers with respect, it’s about respect for yourself–if there’s a situation where your personal ethics could be compromised in a meaningful way, I’ve always felt it’s best to remove yourself from that situation, and I’ve done so when it’s been necessary.
3. Hold the door wide open for the people who come after you. Why this should even be an issue in our affluent society is totally beyond me, but somehow it is. Not just hold the door, but invite everyone in. If there’s anything I’d want my colleagues and clients to remember me by, it’s that I always took the time to stop and listen, to take the call and take the coffee, to teach and train, to help lift others up and through, whether they needed the extra help or not.
I can see retirement from here, as much as anyone retires these days. A few projects in my back pocket, most notably improving digital connections for the global running community. The placeholder for those is This Train Studios, which is a closed front door of a site for now. In the meantime, you can find the rest on LinkedIn.
Strategy and sales.
Digital since 1994.
- Bergen Record
- Chicago Tribune
- Time Inc. New Media
- Quokka Sports