Italian Guy from Rhode Island
I grew up in Johnston, RI, a 98% Italian suburb with the highest per capita IROC Z28 ownership in North America. Many of my earliest childhood memories involve profanity and food, often dished up simultaneously and in copious amounts.
I went to Cornell, then to New York City to join the glamorous world of big time advertising. My obvious talent and charm landed me a job quickly, as a “doorman” and then bartender at Flutie’s in the South Street Seaport. Eventually I took a pay cut to become an account guy at Lois/GGK, where on my first day I was informed by George Lois that “Account guys are the lowest fucking slime on earth, kid. At least bartending was a noble profession.”
Varsity Ad Guy
I made my way through the ranks, then on to McCann-Erickson working on AT&T, Coke and new business. I left New York for San Francisco in 1991, in part to work on Taco Bell at Foote, Cone & Belding, in part for… Ingrid. Neither worked out. I applied to the only MBA program that didn’t require the GMAT, and was miraculously accepted.
I graduated from Harvard Business School in 1994, and after a microscopically short stint at The Monitor Company, went to work for Sir Martin Sorrell at WPP Group. Eventually I became the founding CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Interactive, where we did work I was genuinely proud of for American Express, IBM, Shell and others. I left to start interactive agency “Brandscape” with the great Tom Cunniff in 1996, where we did even better work for Ragu, Wish-Bone, Gorton’s, HP, Fidelity and others. Assets of Brandsape – me among them – were eventually acquired by Primix Solutions (NASDAQ: PMIX), where I became President in 2002. We rode the dotcom bubble up, which was fun; then down, which was not.
Tech Venture Entrepreneur
After a life low point I signed on to a mobile marketing company called “Proteus Mobile,” funded by venture capital titans Bain Capital, Sigma Partners, and General Catalyst. After a lot of hard work and the emergence of text messaging as a US phenomenon, that company became m-Qube, and we sold it to Verisign for a gazillion dollars in 2006. Life is funny sometimes.
Robert and Jonathan Kraft interrupted my semi-retirement and asked me to build a company called matchmine after that, which I did. matchmine was a media discovery network, a system that let you capture your media preferences – the music, movies, video and blogs you like, for example – and use them to find other media you’d like elsewhere on the web. We built a great team and made pretty good progress, then the US capital markets collapsed. I hate that. One day the Krafts asked me to shut it down, and I did.
Seeker of Truth
After that I spent a year thinking about how brands are going to operate in a world where we decide which commercials to skip, where most of the media we consume comes from an IP network we share, and where most of the things we buy are those recommended by people we know. I signed on as a principal of an agency in town called Holland-Mark, to help clients in the real world answer those same questions. So far I’m having more fun at it than a grown man should.
Anyhoo… this site reflects what I’ve learned so far, and I look forward to learning more from you.
My resume cloud: