I believe that history and heritage are valuable, and that gentility among people is still the "currency of the realm." I believe in the solid principles that have been passed down from generation to generation; that there is value in a man's word, that there is goodness in the hearts of all men, and that a knowledge of the woods, fields, lakes, rivers, oceans, and the creatures and crops we find there, makes us better stewards of God's amazing earth!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving - 2014

(video Thanksgiving wishes from our Facebook page)
Hoping that you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  -TNCG

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Almost my favorite time of the year!

I cannot remember a beginning to the month of August where the forecasted high was mid-70's.  That being said, I'm not complaining (although it does make me wonder what kind of winter we're in for).  I love the fall and all the fun and beauty it brings with it...I cannot wait for the turning of the leaves, the chill in the air, football games, the world series, and great times with friends and family after the post-summer "routine" begins again.   Now I am fully aware that both August and September can be absolute blast-furnace months, but I have to admit, I'm looking a bit beyond that to the fall season ...  call me wishful.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Rarely do I rant or intentionally speak a negative word (at least out loud) but I find myself in an unusual position.  You see, I was born and lived through the original "preppy" rush.  Was in high-school from 1982-1986 when all things preppy and Ivy League were being discovered by the rest of America. Now, at that time, many of the styles were not ones that I embraced fully as I really didn't understand the considerable history and tradition upon which they were founded.  My last two years at prep-school did, however, bring me around...  I tell you this, not to impress, but simply to provide some back-story.  I've seen prep, I've lived prep.

Now, in today's world, I don't live "prep" so much as I live a "sporting"lifestyle that would find me on the water, at the clays range, or on a quail plantation.  I do, however still dress in a fashion that reflects my upbringing.  A blue blazer is a "must" in my world...goes with jeans, khakis or dress pants...anyhow, here's my issue.

Today's purveyors of "prep" are "wanting." I follow them on Facebook and other social media outlets, and where I am not here to pass judgement as to what's in their hearts, it surely does seem as through it's all about "bragging."  A bunch of newbies to the "preppy movement" that are all screaming "look at me...look at how wonderful my life is...now buy, buy, BUY!"

You see, I also head up an advertising agency that specializes in all types of digital marketing.  I have some of the best in the business either in my employ, as business partners, or as advisory board members.  I know what it takes to be successful online (no, and this blog is not a good example...this is just a personal, "whenever I feel like it thing") and these "newly minted prep stars" are missing the boat.  So, just in case one ever reads this, here you go.


You want to be an aspirational brand, show people (other than you!) doing things that are aspirational.  Show THEM at parties, boating, holding hands with their loved one in a park, enjoying a great dinner out, time with friends...be aspirational without being a braggart, or sounding like a used car salesman (no offense intended to any used car sales folks who may stumble across this).  I get so sick of "look at me, look at me, buy my stuff, buy my stuff!"  Show me situations where I can relate... where your product is on display...a situation in which I can picture myself with my wife and son doing the same thing in the photo.  It's not rocket science, and we're certainly not splitting the atom here, but you're missing the boat so terribly that it's almost laughable...almost.

Here's a quick marketing 101 exercise.  Go back and look at your posts and see which ones are getting the most traction.  I'll bet dollars-to-donuts that it's the ones that are unique and not in-your-face sales-focused.  Second part of the exercise.  Find out if you're getting traction from the same people who are already "fans" of your brand, or if you're actually speaking to anyone new.  A quick measure of this is how quickly your fan population is growing across all your social channels.  If the number is stagnant you're simply speaking to the same people/market.  Hint...quickest way to go out of business is gaining an increasing share of a stagnant or decreasing market.


Ok...if you take nothing else away from this minor tirade, get this!  First, ask the question..."why are people on social media?"  TO BE ENTERTAINED!  period, end-of-story...   They are not there to follow your every move, hear about your life and how good you have it!  You garnered a "like" or a "follow" from them, now, just like with every form of advertising, the burden falls to you to answer the question every consumer asks..."what's in it for me?"  And you'd better answer with some great content...entertain them, dazzle them, inspire them.  Look at it this way...compare the new preppies with the Brooks Brothers and Ralph Laurens of the world...sure they are light years apart in terms of budget but the major differentiation on social media is that those heavyweights have figured out who their audience is and have strategized the best way to inspire those folks.  Sure, they're there to sell, but they put that in a nice "aspirational" wrapper that doesn't come off as judgmental, braggadocios, or conceited.  They simply conform to principle #1 above, while fully understanding principle #2.

I have had to stop following all the self-indulgent "look at me and buy my crap" new preps as it has gotten almost too painful to watch.  Painful because I watched so many people do it right in my youth, and doubly painful because I can see the missteps they're making in business.  I'd like to hope that they'll eventually get it right because, the wholesome, clean-cut prep look (and mindset) is one that the world could use a bit more of...

Really, I'm just tired of all the bragging.  (and to those ends I've tried to offer up some solid advice...I hope one of them takes it)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Personal History

One of the things that is most important to me is a firm understanding of who I am and where I've come from.  To those ends I have sought out my family history on both my mother's and father's sides.  Mom..coming down from the Dutch (one of the original Dutch families that settled in what is now Manhattan) and my father...from a long line of Welsh coal miners.  The point being, neither is illustrious, but it's my history, and along with that knowledge comes a good sense of who I really am. I firmly believe that when possible, we should seek out our own family history, and when it's not, we should take the responsibility to create one.  What do I mean by that?  Well, when I was a young professional, coming up through the ranks of the financial industry we had a speaker come to our office...he was like most "speaker-types;"  challenging us to be physically active, mentally sharp, and to take advantage of all the free offerings in life (I remember specifically his pulling out a library card and asking who had one...he had just about lost me at that point.)  One other thing that I do remember, however, is that he said "a life worth living is a life worth recording."  That stuck (obviously) and so when my son was born back in the early 2000's I began writing letters to him in a journal.  I probably write 4 or 5 per year and they're usually several pages long.  I started the journal with some backstory about our family (both my wife's and mine) and then launched into every topic that I think could aid him in his walk through life...interpersonal relationships, religion, politics, the state of the world, how I've dealt with certain challenges, what to expect in certain situations, etc.  The point being is that the speaker from my youth was correct...a life worth living IS worth recording...and hopefully my record of what has gone on in this brief period known as my life will find it's way into my son's hands...and then who knows where from that point forward...

Just a thought...

Until next time...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Bittersweet Christmas (but mostly sweet)

Today was a bittersweet Christmas...2013 saw our family go through my wife's breast cancer ordeal, our son thrive at a new school, and the loss of a great friend after 16+ years (our beloved cat, Dillinger - Dec. 21st).  All of this made for a day of serious reflection, emotions, and feelings of gratitude.  And quite honestly I believe that's the way Christmas should be!  A reflection of what we've accomplished, how we've acted and what we can take away from the past year as we head into the new one.  I, for one, am more dedicated than ever to being true to my roots, my current family members, my friends, and most importantly to myself and my God!  With that mindset and a desire to do that which I am truly passionate about I believe that Christmas is a wonderful benchmark to re-dedicate myself to all I hold dear and to maintain that focus as I head into 2014.  

So, I thank God for the lessons and blessings of 2013 and ask that I continually be reminded of them so that I may be a better person to those around me and may walk in a more upright fashion in His eyes.

With that said I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you all the best for a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2014!


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Ah, the Christmas season...yes, I said "Christmas," and not "holiday."  Why?  Because I believe what I believe...period.  I am not ashamed of being a Christian any more than someone of the Islamic, Jewish, or Hindu faith is ashamed of his or her belief.  If my wishing you a Merry Christmas bothers you, then please understand this...I am not trying to offend you!  Take it in the spirit of my wishing you peace, good-will and happiness - because, isn't that really what Christmas is all about?  God so loving the world that he sent His only Son to save it...

So, if I, or any other person of the Christian faith wishes you an errant "Merry Christmas," just calm down and understand that we're wishing you all the things you also hold dear to your heart...we're just doing it in our own way...

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Where America Went Wrong

Now, don't get me wrong, I love America, but we've gotten something terribly wrong and it's all due to my industry…marketing.  I've been in marketing/advertising for the last decade and a half and here is (from my view) where we made a very wrong turn.

After WWII there was a boom of middle class families…we became serious "consumers."  The babies were arriving in a huge tidal wave of humanity and these young parents needed all the latest and greatest…and in vast numbers.  Now, forward ahead 18 years…those baby-boomers are coming into their own and the folks on Madison Avenue are tasked with the job of making sure that those "budding consumers" are going to migrate toward their client's brands…so, how are they going to do this?  They're going to play to their collective ego by CELEBRATING YOUTH.

So as we hit the mid-1960's everything is "youth oriented."  They even had a mantra during this time of "free love," "mind expansion," and "fighting the man," that, simply stated was "don't trust anyone over 30!"  Think about that for a second…don't trust anyone over 30?  It's those very same over-30 types that had just (not 20 years prior) risked everything, in both a European and Pacific theater, to ensure that freedom was secure.  And the good folks on Madison Avenue were more than happy to fuel the fires of this youth movement for if their clients could get ahold of these young people in their formative and impressionable years, they'd have them as "consumers for life."  So, the focus stayed squarely on the youth of the country.

Now, youth is fine…nothing wrong with it at all…we were all young once, and it's a great time in life.    But where the real issue came in was not in just "being young," but "celebrating" it…taking away from what got us to where we were; as the world's preeminent republic.  We turned our back on celebrating wisdom, experience, tradition and knowledge, in exchange for celebrating inexperience, vigor, and ignorance.

You see, the entire dynamic had been flipped on its head…our way of thinking about things had been fundamentally changed…all in the name of "consumerism."  We wanted to get younger and younger consumers to begin their reckless consumption at an earlier and earlier age…so, how to best do that..tell them they're great, tell them they can do no wrong…and then when they begin to age, (into their 40's like me) then tell them that your client's products will make them look younger, feel younger, and act younger…you get the picture.  Marketers have more data at their fingertips today than at any time in history.   They know how to push our buttons and get us to take action.  But it's that fundamental shift of 50 years ago, when we decided to de-value the time-honored and respected practice of revering age and wisdom that we made our critical error.

And rather than recognizing our mistake and course-correcting, we've unfortunately gone the other direction (at warp speed, no less)…for we have not only further embraced the desire for all things "youthful," but have now compounded our error by valuing such dangerous traits as "lack of ambition" and "stupidity" as well…just look at what the news covers... (who where those morons who kept telling everyone they were the 99% and living in public places a few years back…I forget…oh yea.."Occupy Wall Street"...)  they give our inept politicians (on both sides of the aisle a free pass)  They celebrate inane movies, ebonics, video games that glorify senseless violence, and a myriad of other things that tear at the very fabric of our great country.

We had a great country…one that didn't just value a formal education but also good old fashioned "common sense."  One where time-honored traditions were passed down from generation to generation.  One where the words and experiences of our elders were the foundation upon which we built successful lives and a wildly successful country.  Now, due to  slick marketing, unchecked consumerism a "if it feels good do it" mentality and a seismic paradigm shift, we have undone what countless centuries of people from around the entire world have known (and we have seemingly forgotten)…youth is wasted on the young, and that there is no substitute for age, wisdom and experience.  If we're to survive as a society we'd better re-discover this…no matter what the marketers tell us!