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The LASSO Algorithm

These days, algorithms have gone from a phrase only people who like math used to know, to something we talk about every day. On social media in particular, algorithms define us as users. They show advertisers what we like, what we purchase, what we support and believe in. And they’re solely responsible for whether or…

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A Letter to my Younger Self

Dear younger Pete, As I reflect back on my life, I offer these ten life lessons that will enrich yours, if you choose to embrace them. I promise you, they will bring you immeasurable joy along the way. 1. Winning is not everything, not even close. Reward comes from giving your best, showing respect to…

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Take the Leap!

When creative strategist, Mark Di Somma, and I realized that there was an opportunity to create a tool for brand owners to determine if and how they should consider extending their brands, we created the LASSO algorithm to predict which of your brands have the greatest potential to expand. Determining whether a brand meets the criteria…

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The Original Smiley Face

As someone dedicated to studying the art of licensing and branding, you can imagine my intrigue at finding an article that talks about the trademark and licensing of one of our world’s most iconic illustrations. The original trademark for the smiley face came from Paris, of all places, despite it being created in the U.S….

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Living More Mindfully

I was moved by the words of Jay Shetty, New York Times best-selling author, podcaster, former monk, and Chief Purpose Officer for Calm, when I saw him on The Drew Barrymore Show a while ago. His simple, yet powerful advice, really got me thinking. Our daily lives are so integrated with our work lives, and…

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America Runs on Dunkin’

Remember when I shared about Dunkin’ Donuts’ branded paint a while back? I am intrigued by the way brands sometimes push the envelope and enter into new territory even for a short period in order to expand and, ultimately, gain awareness, new customers and income. It’s a curious endeavor that doesn’t always pan out. Sometimes…

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Empathy in Business

My biggest takeaway from this Forbes article about empathy in business is not a new idea: “people may not remember what you say, but they will remember how you made them feel.” I’ve always loved this quote, and it’s why I love this article. I wholeheartedly believe it. As the writer points out, “Great leadership…

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Would you drink your french fries?

Would you drink your French fries if you could? I’m not talking about pureed fries in a blender. I mean an actual cocktail made with… wait for it… Arby’s Curly Fry-Flavored Vodka. Arby’s partnered with Minneapolis’ Tattersall Distilling to create a pair of flavored vodkas inspired by curly fries and crinkle fries, even making the…

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The Dream

We hadn’t spoken in forever. But the message on my machine, asking me to call back, felt urgent, maybe even a little exciting. It was 2011, and I needed some excitement. My company, BrandAlive, was two years old, and still lingering in that uncomfortable space between my newfound success as a business owner and the…

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How Refresh-ing!

I was really impressed with an email newsletter I received from Sara Delaney, global activist, and social entrepreneur, who founded Sarilla, a carbonated tea made with organic, Fair Trade Rwandan tea leaves. In her email, she says, “Before we were known as Sarilla, we were Silverback on Tap™ and before we had products sold in…


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