Thinking Differently

The first step in thinking differently is finding a sense of curiosity. You can’t think different if you’re not willing to learn, and you can’t learn if you lack the curiosity to do so. Brands and retailers should stop assuming they know what customers want. They don’t. But they can have the curiosity to engage with customers and ask them. Learn what they want.

The second step to thinking differently is gaining a broad set of experiences. Leonardo da Vinci was primarily interested in science and engineering. He was a reluctant artist at best. Yet it was the experience and knowledge he gained from dissecting more than 30 bodies that allowed him to paint Mona Lisa’s smile.

As a brand or retailer, you don’t necessarily have to seek outsiders with different experiences to add value to the whole. Encourage everyone in the company to pursue a life well lived. After all, a life well lived brings a bounty of rewards to everyone. No one has done well living under a rock. Equally as important to encouraging your teams to gain outside experiences, you absolutely must seek diversity of people and thought. Mix it up. There is no room for a lack of diversity by race, gender, age, and education. Likewise mix up your teams. Design should live no more in a bubble than finance.

The third step toward thinking differently is compassion. There’s an old saying that you can’t argue with stupid. Well I have come to learn that that’s a stupid thing to say. It’s not that other people are stupid. They may not have gained the comfort or capacity to appreciate steps one and two herein. Encourage them to do so. But let them do so on their terms. More likely than not though, their curiosity and experiences have provided them a different lens by which to think differently, from you. This, by the way, is where the magic happens. It’s called collaboration.

When all of us are curious, and when all of us seek different experiences, it’s leads us to the sharing of information and knowledge. You can’t grow if you don’t learn and share. Likewise your brand can’t grow if doesn’t stimulate curiosity and collaboration among many points of view from a diverse set of people who are hungry for learning and excited for experiences.

Fashion industry leaders need more data intelligence

DataScientistJobDescriptionsSo many companies talk about how they are becoming more and more data driven. While I think that’s a good thing, I also think it could also be a very dangerous thing.

Being driven by something is much different than being intelligent about something. A person or company that is data intelligent is very different than a person or company that is data driven. Being driven means you are propelled by something. It’s not enough to say we use data to propel us forward. Using the right data with the wrong conclusion can be as detrimental as using the wrong data, or no data, at anytime.

Being intelligent, on the other hand, means you have a high mental capacity for something. It’s a process brought about by good judgement and sound thought. Driven is compulsion whereas intelligence is skill. Let’s work to make sure the fashion industry becomes data intelligent.


Know your customer.

Understand who your customer is and what they want from you. If you’re a brand and sell your products to other retailers, you need to know what their customers bought of your products. It’s completely irrelevant what you sold to the retailer. Likewise forward bookings, or orders from your retail partners, are useless. Just because you sold it to them, doesn’t mean you’ll sell it to me. If you want to build a brand that customers love, look only at what they’ve bought from you. If they didn’t buy it, they didn’t want it. That could be a function of the right product at the wrong time, or the wrong product at anytime. Your job is to figure out what your customers wanted and then make sure they can get more LIKE it at the right time in the future.

Venturing into the cannabis


Several months ago someone I know and trust discussed an opportunity they had in the legalized cannabis industry. Up to that point, I haven’t given it much thought. My understanding and experience with cannabis was elementary at best, but I was intrigued with what I had heard, and being the perpetual beta that I am, I needed to quickly learn much more about it.

Firstly it’s important for my readers to understand that I barely drink wine–although that’s actually not true (my wife will expose that BS pretty quick.) I am far from being known as someone who drinks though. If I abuse anything, it’s peanut butter. I can eat it by the jar, but that’s ok because I only eat natural PB without sugar! The point is I am obsessed with being in control of myself and my body at all times. I don’t drink past happy. There is nothing worse in my mind then a hangover. I am however, someone that loves to learn. And that is why I am here. I have quickly found that legalized cannabis, its potential, and its deep regulations are highly complex (no pun intended)–everything I love to get my head around.

In the past several months, I’ve gone from an elementary school education on cannabis to perhaps that of an inept high-schooler. What I’ve learned is there’s much to be learned, but what I’m learning is exciting. When my head isn’t exploding from researching the science and chemistry of cannabis or learning the different techniques and technologies to grow the plant along with how to distribute product according to highly regulated laws that are unique and evolving by state, I’m looking for and really excited about meeting the true experts and people in the industry to hear what makes them excited, how they approach their craft, and what they think will help the industry thrive and change people’s lives in a good and useful way.

It’s the love and advocacy of the people entrenched in the industry that I find remarkable. I like meeting the artists that blow glass and the lawyers who advocate for legalization. So far, everyone I’ve met has been really excited to share their insights and ideas. It’s been refreshing to see an industry and people so excited and eager to share. There’s a lot of curiosity and innovation. Coming from my past industry, I find this startling–almost uncomfortable. It’s refreshing to find and become part of such welcoming and open-minded people. The cannabis industry is said to be advancing more than 25% a year–more than all industries except a few. Surely it is in large part due to the passion and curiosity of the people who have known its potential all along.

One thing you’ll notice is that I use the term cannabis instead of marijauna. I’ve researched that too. There’s lots of words used for the product besides marijuana including weed, pot, Mary Jane, and ganja of course. Cannabis however, looks to be the rapidly growing term used by the modern advocate. If you want to be modern, say cannabis. Otherwise all the other terms are well known and perfectly acceptable. No one will correct you cause it’s all good.

So as someone who constantly experiments with nutrition and exercise, not to mention meditation, reading, and learning; I’ve quickly found that cannabis has tremendous healing powers and it’s well beyond the “stoner” phenomenon, it’s religion. There’s an endless amount of strains that can be produced to create vast amounts of effects to every different user that can also be unique depending upon how its consumed. You can smoke it, vape it, eat it, wear it, drink it, and more. You quickly learn that cannabis is no different than wine. Wine has different varietals produced different ways in different soils and in different lands for different times that can be combined and produced in different ways to create endless possibilities. The effects are different for different people. We taste it differently and react to it differently. Same is true with cannabis. It’s way beyond getting high. That’s like saying I’m gonna get drunk. That’s not what we’re talking about here. Like I said, I don’t drink wine to get drunk (I wouldn’t condone that, of course), but rather to enjoy it. Same goes for craft beers, and vodka or Mezcal.

This is a new journey that I’m excited about. I have a ton to learn and my hope is to document my efforts and learnings along the way. As much as people think the industry has progressed, I’ve quickly learned it is perhaps only a few hundred feet into its marathon of potential. As much as I learn to catch-up, I likewise realize that most people are yet still far behind me. It’s one thing to enjoy cannabis. It’s another to thing to understand it. For those who just want to get high, carry on. My interest is really to learn and construct, to understand the science and people as much as the present and potential.

My goal is to start a podcast so everyone can listen and perhaps learn from the interesting and passionate people I meet and learn from along the way. That being said, I suppose this will be a good time for me to learn how to create a podcast. If anyone has any ideas, be sure to pass them along. As I am doing this, my hope is to be able to share the knowledge and experience I’ve gained during my life working with some great brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Kate Spade, to help artists and entrepreneurs looking to contribute to the legalized cannabis industry and build a business they can be proud of. To be honest I have no idea where this journey will lead, but I do know that I’m a good listener, a quick learner, a deep thinker, and a good problem solver. I think this will be fun and I look forward to sharing.