Hello and welcome.
When not working with clients to hone their strategies and improve their marketing, I spend time here writing about strategy and marketing. Sometimes, I stray into other arenas to spout off…eh…discuss what’s happening in the world. Intense curiosity drives me. Coupled with a feverish imagination, it makes for a poignant mix. I hope you’ll agree.
So why should you or anyone else care what I have to say? Good question. If you like exploring new topics, come stay for a while or, as my friends in the South say, “set a spell.”
Who am I? Andrew. If you call me Andy, my 82 year old Mom might punch you. A client conceived the nickname Dodfather about 20 years ago and it’s stuck since. Frankly, it’s much preferred to my previous moniker of “Fatboy” despite the fact that Leonardo da Vinci, one of my intellectual and creative heroes, was called that for a period of time. True story. The Internet said so.
OK, here are the basics: Strategy, marketing and communications executive, chief marketing officer, five-time entrepreneur, agency owner, brand and innovation consultant, storyteller, two-time author, columnist…you get the drift. I have been around lots of blocks, both with large global organizations and emerging companies. For decades, Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” address framed my approach to life. And then it was Thoreau’s call to “suck the marrow out of life” followed by Carl Spackler (Bill Murray’s character in Caddyshack), “Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion.”
Whatever the inspiration was, it shaped my career trajectory as I helped launch more than four dozen technology companies and hundreds of products and services over the past 30 years. Some actually killed it. For those that didn’t, all lessons learned were codified in a hard bound notebook that’s nearby at all times. I refer to it often. I thrive helping companies shape narratives, position brands and steal share from better-known competitors. That’s what makes my blood pump.
A student of politics since the early 70s, leadership in all its forms has been and continues to be of significant interest. I have advised two presidential candidates on messaging, communications and debate preparation. It was a great experience…well, except that both candidates lost.
Writing is like therapy. I co-authored Richard Nixon: A Psychobiography (Columbia University Press, 1997). While academics lauded it, in round numbers…including digital versions…and rounded up…we sold about 13 copies. And that includes immediate family who I shamed into buying it. Its rank on Amazon is holding strong as the 38 billionth most popular book. But no complaints here – I don’t owe Columbia University Press for book returns anymore. Regardless of financial results, it was a powerful experience to write a book, and everyone should try at least once. I also ghost authored Driving Business Performance Through Strategic Sourcing, (Vanity Press, 2005). Why? Because I convinced a client that it would make for a great lead generation tool for their business. It worked. Big time. In addition to books, several hundred articles and thought leadership pieces have flowed from my computer as did columns for various marketing, brand and communications-related publications, including Business to Business Magazine, Catalyst Magazine and Small Business Matters.
Curiosity is in my genes. I love questions more than answers because properly framed questions nearly always reveal truths. It’s a lesson I learned as a freshman at Princeton, and it’s a guiding principle still today. Somehow, I managed to graduate magna cum laude (Politics) which basically means four years of my life were spent entrenched in the basement of the university library reading, studying and trying to learn how to write effectively. You know those people who manage to get great grades without having to study? Yeah, that wasn’t me. I also had the good fortune to apply classroom lessons to real-life situations as president of my class, chairman of the Honor Committee and Brooke Shields’ geology lab partner. Seriously, we studied rocks together. (Ask me about the time she “kissed” me.) I also tossed the hammer on the track and field team and only nearly killed myself in the throwing circle three times.
After Princeton, I was immensely honored to have been the recipient of the Annenberg Fellowship at Eton College in England. I taught American Politics and Economics while wearing a white bow tie and long black academic gown for an entire year. Love the school, not the dress code. According to the headmaster at the time, Sir Eric Anderson, I hold the astonishing record for the shortest first lecture of any master since the school’s founding in 1440.
At home, I spend time in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes. Sometimes, they’re even edible. In truth, my cooking concoction batting average is north of the Mendoza line, especially when it involves a straight down the pipe Italian meal. If anyone wants to challenge me to a meatball throwdown, better bring money. You’ll lose.
If you’ve read this far, thanks for your interest. Market well.