sparked 1.0: what we learned

As I mentioned in my post from earlier in the week, Arik and I were pleased with the first program we put on last November as part of the sparked: Digital & Social Media Training series that we are attempting to develop. We successfully produced the event! (Step one accomplished.) Generally speaking we received very positive feedback from the attendees on various facets ranging from content to speakers to format. Lastly, we heard enough from our actual attendees and others in the community that we believe there is a need for this kind of offering. Now we have to figure out whether we can help address that. Continue reading


Ask an MN Marketer: Heather Look

Over the course of my career I’ve been fortunate to work with, work for or cross paths with many smart, talented and inspiring people. I thought it would be interesting to highlight and hear from some of them on my blog, so I’m starting a new monthly series where I’ll do a question and answer format post where I interview creative and marketing leaders that have ties to Minnesota. (And on occasion I may chat with others that are from outside the state.) I want to hear what guides these leaders, what they have experienced and what the rest of us could (or should) learn from them.

Out of the gate I’m starting with Heather Look. Heather and I were colleagues on the entertainment marketing team at Best Buy. Her energy and optimism is infectious. She did some ground breaking work during that time and currently is a Vice President at UnitedHealthcare. Continue reading


This week I wrapped up my second term and fourth year on the board of directors for the all volunteer run Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA). It was a wonderful and occasionally frustrating ride. It feels like the closing of a chapter – the end of a relationship of sorts. So instead of doing a typical blog post about it, I thought I’d write a farewell letter.

Dear MIMA,

Thank you for opening your doors to me four years ago and giving me the opportunity to be a part of something. Part of the board of directors. Part of a network full of gifted and talented individuals and companies. Part of a community that is both large and small all at the same time. (Didn’t someone say something at my final board meeting comparing the digital scene in the Twin Cities to “Two degrees of Kevin Bacon”? Yeah, that seems about right.) Continue reading

15 minutes and a whiteboard


The whiteboard I used for my Digital Download presentation last month.

What do you do when the people you work with don’t understand your job or what you do? I’m guessing a lot of us can relate to that in some form or fashion. This has been a question that my team has been trying to figure out it while working with other parts of the marketing department at my office. We’ve found that there is inconsistent knowledge with our colleagues on various things digital. Search Engine Optimization. How web pages are created. Knowing what user experience is as a discipline. Having a basic understanding of the social media landscape in 2017. These are just a few examples, but the short version is that some peers didn’t understand what we work on or how things get done in our area. (I have this same issue but on the opposite side when it comes to certain other departments at Allianz;  I am no expert when it comes to the inner working of the hedging or actuarial groups.)

Unsurprisingly, this has made it tough at times for us to have conversations or collaborate when peers don’t understand core parts of marketing technology, our processes, the different media channels, how we evaluate and use metrics, etc. Like any kind of relationship, ideally you should strive to know or understand where other side is coming from or how they operate. Continue reading

the next side something


I’m not a fan of the phrase “side hustle” because the word hustle seems overused these days, but I’ve always found myself spending free time on outlets outside of my day job. I tried my hand as a co-founder on a start-up venture that fizzled out. I am nearing the end of my second and final term on the board of directors for the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association where I co-lead programming. I also serve on the advisory board for SXSW where I get to help evaluate proposals and provide input on the content that makes its way into the Austin conference. Continue reading

The calvary isn’t coming


SXSW wrapped up a little over a week ago and this marked the second consecutive year that I wasn’t able to make it down to Austin. Changing jobs and having a kid will do things like that. Even though I wasn’t there, I have been trying to catch up on presentations and keynotes from the conference. One speaker from SXSW 2015 that I particularly enjoyed was filmmaker and actor Mark Duplass. Continue reading