CEO Blog

Just Breathe.
Just Breathe.
June 1, 2022

For the last 6+ weeks, I've been dealing with a herniated disk. For those who have experienced it, you understand the pain - constantly ranging from barely manageable to crippling. So, you can imagine how I may have reacted when my younger brother, Drew, sent me a text advising me to "just breathe."  In the midst of the pain, all…

Where’s your ego?
Where’s your ego?
May 3, 2022

Inspired by the Beatle's Get Back series (see my last blog post), I've found myself immersed in Rock and Roll documentaries over the last few weeks. From reading Dave Grohl's The Storyteller (recommended by my brother, Drew) to watching Metallica's Some Other Monster (recommended by my friend Julian) and the Rolling Stone's Gimme Shelter (thanks to my friend, Justin), I've enjoyed getting a glimpse behind the stage of these…

Beatles Inspiration
Beatles Inspiration
April 4, 2022

The Beatles Roof Top Performance After trying to watch Get Back (the Beatles Documentary) with my wife several months ago, she told me it was boring to watch four guys write songs for eight hours. So I put Get Back on the back-burner, and opted for shows like Billions, Emily from Paris, and Dexter.  But, this weekend, I finally had…

Can we kill the “post mortem”?
Can we kill the “post mortem”?
March 9, 2022

I'm always a fan of learning from experience. However, when I get invited to a "post-mortem" meeting (or even when someone just calls a meeting a "post-mortem"), my stomach turns. For one reason, we're in the marketing business - generally speaking, we're not saving lives. Second, just the words alone sound like we're going to discuss something that ended in disaster. And, with very…

Do you hear the echo?
Do you hear the echo?
February 14, 2022

James Mirrored While up in Maine with my family a few weeks ago, James (our 1-year old Corgi) was barking non-stop outside. At first, I didn't pay much attention (sometimes, it's best to just ignore him). But, after about 10 minutes, I had to go see what he was barking at. Turns out he was barking at himself. Or, more specifically, his…

Spreading Optimism
Spreading Optimism
January 24, 2022

A sampling of my "Life is Good"​ collection Those who know me well, know that I'm a big fan of Life is Good. Not only do I love their products (and, according to my wife, wear them a bit beyond their "expiration date"), but I also love what they stand for. In short: optimism. So, when I had the chance to interview Steve…

What will you commit to?
What will you commit to?
January 3, 2022

I hope you had a nice holiday and, despite this virus that's going around, you were able to spend some time with friends and family.  Now, as the New Year begins, and we make our "resolutions," I thought it would be apropos to write about commitments. At the end of the day, commitments are simply promises that we make to…

What’s your escape?
What’s your escape?
November 24, 2021

My first drum gig (with my older brother, Marc) A few weeks ago, after abruptly shutting down the cancer fundraising event that we started in 2009, my emotions were running a bit wild with sadness, empathy and, honestly, a bit of anger. I felt a bit like climbing under a rock for a few days (or longer) but, unfortunately, the cold…

How to teach good behavior
How to teach good behavior
October 25, 2021

Good boy, James! As you may remember, we welcomed our new Corgi puppy, James (aka Sir James Oliver III), into our home this past December. And, while he may be the cutest dog I’ve ever known, he may also win the award for most destructive. So, in an effort to tame the beast, we recently sent him away for a 2-week…

Seriously, Facebook?!?!
Seriously, Facebook?!?!
October 4, 2021

Facebook has been down all day today. Karma? In early September, my Facebook account was hacked. After it happened, I immediately followed Facebook's online instructions to secure my account. I used 2-factor authentication to log in, updated my contact info (the hacker had changed it) and added trusted contacts to my profile. Shortly thereafter, my account was hacked again and I followed the…

How to cook up a winner
How to cook up a winner
September 13, 2021

Yum! This Summer (and actually, through most of this pandemic), I've been doing quite a bit of outdoor cooking. Aside from using our "go-to" Cuisinart outdoor products, I've more recently been trying to master the art of smoking food with a charcoal grill (a Father's day gift from my wife). As I learn how to moderate/maintain the temperature and use the appropriate…

The importance of “the visit”​
The importance of “the visit”​
August 16, 2021

An empty college campus (not one we went on) Over the Summer, my wife and I have spent quite a bit of time touring colleges with our daughter, Julia. After honing her list, based on a set of key criteria, she identified the ones she wanted to explore more seriously with an in-person visit. And, off we went. However, in this strange…

The office advantage
The office advantage
July 26, 2021

Working from home over the last 18+ months has certainly had its benefits (they don't need to be repeated here). However, we also know that many people are putting in more hours than ever before - often to the point of mental exhaustion and burn out.  Of course, many are equating the high hours to high productivity, and view this…

Mushing Lessons
Mushing Lessons
July 7, 2021

Me on Dallas Seavey's Champion Iditarod Sled (wearing some of his gear, too.) While traveling in Alaska with my wife and kids over the last few weeks, it was virtually impossible to skip over any chance to interact with dogs. My kids (and, if I'm being completely honest, my wife and I) missed our dogs, and constantly needed some "furry-love." Fortunately,…

Thanks, Barbara!
Thanks, Barbara!
June 15, 2021

This past Sunday, as the Uber app showed my driver stopped for about 15 minutes while only 5 minutes away from my location, I wondered what the issue may be. But, knowing that her arrival represented the end of a get-together with two of my closest childhood friends, I was fine with the unexpected delay. When Barbara finally arrived, she immediately apologized and…

Like a dog without a cone
Like a dog without a cone
May 24, 2021

James and his cone Two weeks ago, our 6-month old Corgi puppy, James (or affectionately referred to by my son as "Sir James Oliver Freedman III") got neutered. It was quite a tragic experience, but one that James approached with grace and elegance. It was also a reminder that, in business and personal life, we are all faced with set-backs and…

Bar Mitzvah Lessons
Bar Mitzvah Lessons
May 4, 2021

From left: Jason Margolis, Charley Margolis and Amy Margolis A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Bar Mitzvah of a close family friend. It was a beautiful ceremony - and extra nice to actually be present in the temple as opposed to watching via Zoom. As our friends Amy and Jason read their inspiring words of…

Speak for yourself
Speak for yourself
April 13, 2021

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop about building more effective and accountable teams with Eric Coryell, author of Revolutionize Team Work. Of course, I feel great about my team at the agency. However, there is always room for improvement, and attending workshops like this one always helps identify new insights and ideas that cause me to re-think…

Finding Joy Amidst Adversity
Finding Joy Amidst Adversity
March 22, 2021

The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu Last week, while the nation was dealing with yet another horrific act of racial violence, I was in the middle of reading "The Book of Joy" by The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. While just the thought of joy could seem ignorant and counter-intuitive in light of the current state of adversity in this…

A good hug
A good hug
March 2, 2021

Almost time to hug again... Two weeks ago, I finally felt us turn the COVID corner. It wasn't an evening out on the town, a look at the improving daily numbers, or an announcement about reduced crowd restrictions. Instead, it came in the form of a hug.    After close to one year of waves from afar, and conversations via Zoom, I was…

Let’s all get along
Let’s all get along
February 1, 2021

Best friends, relaxing together after a brief wresting match As you know, my kids are often the inspiration for many of my blog posts. Watching them face new challenges, overcome hurdles and just learn things for the first time often causes me to see things through a new lens. However, today, I thought I'd share a lesson from someone else in…

Persistence Pays Off
Persistence Pays Off
January 11, 2021

James the Corgi Pup As you may recall from previous blog posts, my 13-year old son, Josh, is obsessed with Corgis. I'm still not quite clear on how his love for this long-bodied, short legged, "royal" breed came to be. However, even though we have Jasmine, a very well-behaved and loving Golden Retriever, Josh has been asking for a Corgi…

Don’t take it personally
Don’t take it personally
December 7, 2020

Deep breaths. A few years ago, a very talented employee shared some simple, yet insightful, parting advice with the team as he headed off on his next adventure: "Don't ever take it personally."   At the time, I didn't think much of it. Being in the advertising business for more than 25 years, it seemed obvious. After listening to "constructive feedback"…

Thank you, 2020.
Thank you, 2020.
November 24, 2020

Thank you, 2020, for giving me more time to spend with my favorite people. The year, 2020, has certainly given us more than a fair share of trials and tribulations (perhaps the understatement of the year). But, in their midst, we can often lose sight of the positive things that happened.  I believe that most good and positive momentum in…

Please help me fight cancer
Please help me fight cancer
November 16, 2020

Mike and me, circa 2004 It was just three years after we started Small Army when I got the dreaded call from my close friend and business partner, Mike, telling me that he had stage 4 cancer. It was an eye-opening moment, that immediately caused me to realize how precious life is. And, in the days, months and years that followed, I also came to understand…