Tell us what you’re going to talk about at TEDxBuffalo, in five sentences or less.
I’m going to talk about how successful businesses today operate completely differently than the business of the past that built Buffalo over the last century. I’ll explain my philosophy about building a “small house with nice things” and why it’s the way that businesses of today and the future should operate. Â These ideas can be applied to any organization, personal or professional, for profit or not-for-profit.
What do you hope those in the audience, and those watching online, come away with after your talk?
I hope that the audience will walk away charged with energy and ideas to make the organizations that they’re involved with stronger, better and more successful (and not just in the financial aspect). I hope that they too believe that the methods and practices of organizations in the past aren’t the key to a successful and sustainable future, especially in a city like Buffalo.
Tell us a bit about yourself–where you come from, and what you do.
I grew up in East Aurora but went to school in Buffalo. When I left Buffalo for the Savannah College of Art and Design I, like most 18 year olds, vowed never to return. But I came back and you know how the story goes. Now I love living in Buffalo.
In 2007 I started a publication called Block Club Magazine and over the last few years we’ve grown and diversified our products and services. Today Block Club is divided into three parts: Block Club Magazine, Block Club Creative–our design and marketing services studio, and City Dining Cards–known locally for Buffalo Dining Cards and now in 5 additional markets from Boston to Phoenix.
I’m a big foodie and traveler. Food, travel and communities, and creative business pursuits are what I’m most passionate about. The lines are always blurred between what’s business and what’s pleasure and that’s the way I like it.
Who do you admire or look up to?
I’ve always admired people who challenge the status quo and people who are creative thinkers, people who are always moving things forward. I have a soft spot for people who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and put everything on the line for what they’re passionate about.
I’d love to be inside Steve Jobs’ head for a week or two. I am absolutely enamored by his ability to see opportunity where others see only the mediocre. His ability to improve upon what’s accepted as satisfactory and make it revolutionary is incredible. His ability to change entire industries with a single, intelligent product is something I aspire to do someday as well.
What are some of your favorite web sites, books, movies, music that you’ve discovered recently?
Honestly, I’ve been watching a lot of TED talks recently and those are always good for learning something new. I just read Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeir Hansson and Start With Why by Simon Sinek, and the approach in both books is refreshing for business. My sister and co-workers are always sending me really interesting posts from a variety of blogs and sites. If all else fails, every morning I at least glance at the following sites (in this order): NPR, Google News, NY Times, Buffalo News, Buffalo Rising, Business First, MacRumors, Venture Beat, Facebook, PerezHilton.