EchoDitto Blog

Who's the new guy?

Hello, my name is Brian. I am the newest member of the EchoDitto team/family/gang – effective today.

I have been asked to write a post introducing myself – announcing my arrival. For days I have been trying to figure out what to write, how to make myself sound smart, creative, funny, warm, interested, professional, passionate and accomplished – in a word, awesome. I could post a bio, but that seems boring and certainly doesn’t scream ‘awesome.’ I could offer some thoughts on politics, technology, PR, marketing, or sports – all subjects I spend a lot of time reading, writing and speaking about -- but there will be plenty of time for that going forward.

So, I thought I would try an experiment. I set a timer for ten minutes and wrote a list of all the things that came to mind, in the context of who I am and how I work and live. Then I went back and filled in a few details, fixed the grammar (I think) and spelling (I hope). Some of the items below appear in my regular bio, which will be posted to the site in the coming days. Some of them are just about me and my personality. And some, well... I'm not sure where they came from.

Anyway, here is what I came up with:

I am 5’6” tall. (Why did that pop into my head first?)

I am 30 years old.

I am married – to Karen Dahl – and have been since October 2003.

I am a new father – my son Henry was born November 16, 2007.

I read a dozen newspapers a day – some online, some offline – and subscribe to 19 different magazines.

I do the New York Times crossword puzzle every day. I can finish Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday on most days without any help. It gets pretty ugly the rest of the week. Together, my wife and I teamed up to finished the Sunday puzzle once – a very proud moment which we are still working to recreate.

I love books. I read exclusively non-fiction, with very few exceptions. Read might be the wrong word though, since I fly through the text trying to absorb important tidbits of information. Then I keep all my books on a shelf and call on them for reference as often as possible.

I wrote a book, Media Rules!: Mastering Today's Technology to Connect With and Keep Your Audience, about how organizations must adapt to our changing society to communicate more effectively. I hope you will consider purchasing a copy (here is a link.

I am a regular writer and speaker on the issues involving the impact of the internet and technology on politics, society, and the media. But I don’t like panel discussions – too structured, not enough good conversation. I would much rather have a conversation or do a Q&A. So, invite me to speak at your event, or to your group.

I love baseball. I will attend a baseball game – any level (from Little League to professional) – every chance I get. I drove around the country and visited all the Major League Baseball stadiums in 1997. Today, because of turnover, there are a few new ballparks that I still have to visit (Houston, Philadelphia, etc.), but I am working on it. I would love to coach my own little league team some day.

I am a Seattle Mariners (and yes, I grew up in Seattle).

I also love football – college and pro – and root for the Michigan Wolverines and Seattle Seahawks, respectively. I love NASCAR, soccer (especially international leagues and the World Cup, golf, tennis, snowboarding and bowling. I watch college basketball, but mostly during the NCAA tournament. I have a passing interest in professional basketball, mostly to keep up with my Seattle Supersonics. I like hockey, but don’t have a favorite team. I watch the America’s Cup and pretend I know something about sailing (which I do not). I was a rower, a coxswain and I also coached rowing. I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon in 1999 (my finish time was 4:06:04). Because of injuries, I don’t run as much as I used to, so instead I like to spin.

I have been to all 50 states.

I have been to the UK, France, Ireland, Canada, Israel and Mexico and maybe a couple of other countries outside the United States. I haven’t done much international travel, but I hope that will change – I really want to go to Asia and Africa.

I am currently tracking 227 feeds in my bloglines account. I read about marketing PR, the environment, sports, economics, and parenting, gossip, and organizing, as in how to keep your files clear and your pens in order.

I am not a techie. I can’t code (aside from some very basic html). I can’t fix my computer when it breaks. I have figured out my Tivo, but it took a couple years to really master. My focus is on how people use technology to consume, create, and share information. I have been living and working that area of focus for over a decade now.

I went to elementary school in Seattle, middle school in Westport, Connecticut, attended a small arts-humanities focused high school in Seattle, attended the University of Michigan and graduated from Columbia University in New York. I learned enough French to graduate from elementary school and enough Spanish to graduate from both high school and college. I wish I could speak a language other than English, but I have never committed the time to doing it.

I have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, EONS, MySpace, Zaadz, and about a dozen other sites and communities. I update nearly all of them regularly, but not as often or as fully as I could.

I have my own blog, Thinking About Media, which I use to share my thoughts about media consumption habits and the future of communication, politics, and our society (among other things). I haven’t updated it lately, but I expect to back posting on a daily/regular basis very shortly. I contribute to a handful of other blogs, including serving as a Fast Company Expert.

I have a Dell laptop, a Macbook and a Macbook Pro (for work) – I like being dual-platform because there are different attributes about each system that are positive.

I have two cell phones – one personal (a Motorola Razr), and one for work (an iPhone).

I have two iPods (one regular, one video) and I use them almost exclusively to listen to podcasts. I love music, and I have hundreds of CDs, but I would rather listen to music without headphones – in my home, at the office, or in my car.

I like to travel, to be on the road. I like airplanes. I love trains. I’m not a huge fan of cars, and I much prefer to drive than ride as a passenger if I have the option. I don’t like boats very much.

I listen to NPR, mostly when I am driving. My favorite shows are “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me” and "Only A Game" (which is recorded here in Boston).

I watch ESPN – mostly in the morning, to catch SportsCenter. I prefer MSNBC to CNN or Fox News (but I watch both as well) and turn it on when I first sit down in front of the television, just to see if there is any breaking news.

I have two TiVo’s – networked, so I can send programs back and forth between the TVs in my house. The shows that I record and watch regularly include: Grey’s Anatomy, Ugly Better, The Biggest Loser, Friday Night Lights (best show on TV!), Oprah, The Real World, The Amazing Race, Cashmere Mafia., The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report. I don’t record it, but I would never turn off an episode of CSI or CSI: Miami if I come across it.

I have a Slingbox, but I have never activated it (and that really bums me out). I also have Apple TV, and I haven’t activated it yet (I just got it a week ago).

I was previously the Director of New Media for brand strategy and communications firm in Boston and a Senior Strategic Consultant and Director of Boston Operations for an interactive agency which helped many of the leading corporations, associations, non-profit organizations and governmental entities leverage the communication opportunities created by technology. I had my own consulting business – Mouse Communications – which helped political and non-profit organizations use new technology to improve communications, drive action, and support fundraising.

I am on the Board of the Massachusetts Advocates for the Arts, Sciences and the Humanities (www.MAASH.org) and serve on Committees with the Ad Club of Boston and the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston, helping direct public relations and marketing programming. I am on the advisory board for iFOCOS (www.ifocos.org) and the Sustainable Brands Conference.

I feel comforted when I am surrounded by office supplies – pens, folders, paper, thumbtacks, clips, tape – all of it.

I have spent much of my life working in and around politics, helping to direct dozens of campaigns across the country. During the 1996 cycle, I was the youngest campaign manager in the nation, leading a U.S. Congress challenger-race in Connecticut. I spent 1999 and 2000 as Vice President Gore's Briefing Director in the White House, handling official activities and support him during his presidential campaign. Some days I miss politics – and that feeling that I am doing my part to make the world a better place. Then I remember the punishing lifestyle and know that I can still have an impact on the world without having to sleep on the floor or subsist on cheese and crackers to do it.

I am not afraid to stop and ask for directions. But even with good directions, I get lost all the time.

This is just a partial list, I hope, of all the things that define me or offer insights into how I conduct my life. I try to work hard, work smart, and use every experience in my life to learn something. I like talking to people, listening, and hearing their stories. I am interested in a lot of things, more and more each day. I don’t know if any of this makes me seem smart, creative, funny, warm, interested, professional, passionate and accomplished – but I hope that you will not hesitate to reach out, ask me a question, and decide for yourself if I am someone worth talking to, working with, or getting to know.

Most importantly, I am honored and excited to be a part of EchoDitto. Now it’s time to get to work.