I went to the San Francisco Art Institute to study photography. That led to SF’s Levitan & Feinstein Photography. Our clients included San Francisco Magazine, Robert Mondavi Winery, Sonus, and Visa.
I joined New York’s largest Mad Men agency Dancer Fitzgerald Sample Advertising in 1980. DFS had golden clients that included P&G, Nabisco, General Mills, Hanes, Wrangler, Toyota, and HP. One of my clients invented email.
Saatchi & Saatchi bought DFS in 1986 while I was running the Minneapolis office and the global Northwest Airlines account. I started to buy English suits. I won EFFIES that delivered sales from content marketing. This was content before we called it content.
I moved to Saatchi’s London office in the 90s as European Director, business development director, and managed Johnson & Johnson and other accounts across Europe. I bought more English suits.
I discovered early-stage digital marketing when I returned to New York in 1995. After AOL’s President Ted Leonsis told me to “get the fuck out of advertising”, his exact words, I left the agency to invent the online newspaper industry for the third largest newspaper group and Conde Nast. The Newspaper Association of America named me its New Media Pioneer.
In 2000, I founded the startup ActiveBuddy, raised $30 million, and lead the world of natural language bots. Our SmarterChild bot had over a trillion Instant Messenger conversations across AOL, MSFT, and Yahoo. Microsoft bought the technology in 2006.
I moved to Bend and Portland Oregon in 2002 and bought the ad agency Citrus. Our clients included Nike College and MLB AOR programs; multiple banks; healthcare accounts including the five-state Providence: hospitality accounts including Harrah’s Casinos; the Montana Lottery; Seaswirl Boats and LegalZoom. We delivered national and uber local advertising.
I sold Citrus in 2014. I’ve bought and sold three agencies. I know the art of buying and selling agencies.
I have spoken at the 4A’s, the ANA, Newspaper Association of America, Hubspot, Radio Advertising Bureau, international and regional advertising orgs, and recently at marketing universities across India.