It’s not news that Millennials prefer using social networks over email, even when they want to communicate one-on-one. What may come as a surprise is that today’s most progressive businesses have begun to follow suit. A recent issue of CEO Briefing notes that some companies have begun to adopt social media as a means to improve internal collaboration because it provides context for the work. The network effect associated with social tools also improves:
- Access to collective intelligence
Okay, those benefits seem obvious. People work within communities rather than in isolation. And while email is a powerful tool, it has significant limitations when it comes to communication and coordination within a community. Email falls short as a result of:
- Fragmented conversations, some which exclude important members of the group
- Multiple, overlapping conversations that do not intersect due to functional silos
- Information overload and a requirement to ‘manage’ one’s inbox
- Confusion related to who does what (to: vs cc:)
- “Reply all” by accident (or when there’s a bcc: you don’t know about)
- CYA with bcc:
The CEO Briefing mentions Facebook and Twitter by name. Focusing the discussion on today’s tools limits the way we think about the power collaborative apps and workspaces can unleash. Because social networks are based on the idea of community, they give us an opportunity to think about project management tools in a whole new light. And that’s where the next generation of work-related social networking apps begin.
GraphEffect provides a prime example of what a next gen social network can look like. The company designed a social media workspace for agencies, brands, vendors, and media buyers to work on client campaigns. Take a look at what Fast Company said about GraphEffect last week and you get a glimmer for how much the landscape will evolve as we think of new, social networking apps for business.
Social networks 2.0. I smell disruption… and opportunity.
Michael Grass is the founding editor of The Huffington Post’s local DC edition, covering local news, arts and events in the nation’s capital and surrounding suburbs. He’s worked for Roll Call newspaper on Capitol Hill, The Washington Post’s Express, The New York Observer, and Washington City Paper among other media organizations. In 2004, he co-founded DCist.com, bringing together the original group of volunteer contributors for what’s grown into one of the DC’s area top local news destinations. In a town that is known for its ephemeral culture, Michael’s roots run deep. His family has been in DC since the 1860s, giving him a unique perspective to the city. We sat down with Michael to talk about online media and some of DC’s own idiosyncrasies and unique delights.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Your ties to D.C. go back quite a bit, don’t they?
I move 1’s an 0’s across the digital ethos for The Huffington Post, where I edit the local DC, Maryland and Virginia homepage.
I’ve worked for most of the past decade at established and start-up media properties in the DC area. I’ve worked on developing some really great online news projects over the years. I co-founded DCist.com in 2004 when DC’s blogging community was very small. I’ve held editing positions at Roll Call, The Washington Post Express and Washington City Paper. And I always have some sort of side project going, too.
Although I grew up in Michigan, my father’s family has been in the District of Columbia since the 1860s. DC had always been a second home to me growing up because of my family roots here. When I moved to DC after college a decade ago, it already felt like home. HuffPost’s DC bureau is on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House, just down the street from the house my grandfather grew up in. Today, Kinkead’s restaurant is there. If you know the Brewmaster’s Castle near Dupont Circle, my great-great grandfather did much of the interior woodcarving in that mansion, which is open to the public. My ancestors carved wood, I help carve the Internet.
What sets Huffington Post apart from other media outlets? What is the secret to its success?
The Huffington Post is an incredibly socially engaged community. It’s not really a secret, but one key to HuffPost’s success has been the ability to adapt how it delivers news and commentary to different readers who sometimes consume information in very different ways. HuffPost isn’t just a news website, it’s a platform to discuss, discover and drive the conversation. Now there are international editions of HuffPost in Spain, France, Canada and Great Britain. But HuffPost can also be incredibly local. And in the DC area, that’s where I’ve been able to help out. The success of HuffPost has been its ability to change and be a driving force.
What do you love about our fair city? What about D.C. still surprises you?
I use ZipCar occasionally, so I live mostly a car-free diet. And I like it that DC is a place where I don’t need to spend money on a car payment, parking citations or gas. For all the bellyaching about Metro, we’re incredibly fortunate to have a good rail and bus network.
Neighborhoods are largely walkable. Transit connects the places that matter. For all the planning and foresight that went into our transportation infrastructure, I’m still surprised by what was left out or unconnected. And I’m still surprised that some people refuse to ride the bus. Technology has removed much of the guesswork that sometimes comes with public transit.
The last decade has seen so much change in DC. Where do you see us headed in the next decade?
There’s certainly been a lot of change in DC. Just look at how places like 14th Street, U Street, and H Street have developed in the previous ten years. Neighborhoods have been transformed in the city and in the suburbs. Plenty of new people have settled in the nation’s capital. There’s so much new energy and so many new ideas. We’ve really shattered the image that we’re a one-company town.
But much of our success is still tied to the federal government and the business of government. With tighter federal purse strings in the years ahead, we’re being pushed to diversify our economy more. We have no choice in the matter. In the next 10 years, the big question will be whether the success we’ve achieved can be maintained and evolve. I think we can continue to transform and innovate.
The DC area has built some solid foundations, a place where new ideas, concepts, businesses and enterprises can experiment and thrive. D.C.’s local politics may just be the most entertaining in the country.
We are the city of Marion Barry after all. Why do you think that this is the case?
Entertaining, yes. But much of what’s been going on in the DC government isn’t funny. But DC isn’t the only place that’s had corrupt elements. (I’m looking at you, Chicago.) What does make DC unique is that we’re not a city and not a state. DC’s local elected politicians can’t climb very high because we’re not a state. It’s not like they can run for U.S. Senate or governor. This has created a local political structure dominated by established players who have few options for growth or advancement. Local DC political culture can stew way too long in its own juices. This particular setup can prevent a healthy political climate from forming. But it can be fun to observe, for sure.
Will DC ever become a state? And what are some of the benefits of becoming a state?
Many people dream of statehood. Will we get it? I’m not sure, but I’m hopeful that we’ll someday achieve full and equal representation in Congress like other Americans. Maybe it won’t be traditional statehood, but it would be an arrangement that gives DC residents more control over their local affairs and a voice in Congress. And that would be something that benefits both DC residents and Congress.
We are known as a city of lawyers and government contractors. What else is there that people should know about DC?
We should be known as a place that attracts highly educated people. That’s a trait that is found across many professions in the DC area. But we’re much more than just a place for government. Our creative and knowledge sector is diverse, energetic, innovative, and international. Yes, we’re the nation’s capital. But we’re also much more than that.
DC is also known as a transient place. People come, they work and then they leave. Why is that and what can be done to ensure people stay in the city?
That’s been a dynamic that’s been going on for generations. Capitals of nations can be like that. But other places are like that, too. We’re just especially good at hosting a transient culture. We’ve come off a decade of incredible growth and change across the region. Overall, more people are moving to the DC area. We have to plan for that growth and make that growth sustainable.
DC can be a very expensive place. It can be incredibly expensive for young professionals, new families, and those who have been here for generations. Across the region, we have to diversify the local economy and create a place where people have the ability to stay long term. Fortunately, the DC area already offers many compelling reasons to stay and grow.
It’s been noted that we may be the only city in America with a surplus of jobs. Why is it hard for us to attract talent?
It depends on what industry you’re talking about. DC certainly excels in attracting top talent in many areas. But just because there are jobs doesn’t mean we’re drawing the right kind of talent in all areas. DC has a reputation of being an all-work-all-the-time type of town, but a lot of people are starting to want a better work-life balance. There are certain professions and some businesses that tend to thrive in a more relaxed setting and I think DC is slowly chipping away at its obsession with work. It’s okay to relax and recharge.
If you had the power to do so, what one thing would you fix in D.C.
If I could snap my fingers, I would have a new crosstown Metro line built to untangle the Orange and Blue lines through downtown. While that would help connect places like Georgetown Union Station and H Street in DC, it would also help the entire region.
As a member of an invitation only technology CEO community in Washington DC, I get together every month with like-minded individuals to network, listen to expert speakers, and potentially discover my next big co-founder or investor in our area. During last week’s summit, the predominant theme was marketing. We listened as two executives spoke about utilizing clever tactics to persuade potential buyers/partners and how startups can maximize their returns on thin marketing budgets. The speakers emphasized maintaining focus, executing with purpose, and getting your company’s message out to as many media outlets as possible. But how does one accomplish that? Traditional methods say to produce scores of press releases, top 10 lists, survey studies along with thought leadership packages. If you build it, will the media member cover it? The simple answer is no, they will not.
You see, as a publisher, I couldn’t help but think of my own inbox and the onslaught of e-mails I am bombarded with on a daily basis, most of which go unread. The number of press releases/survey results pushed to my inbox from companies seeking my attention is enough to make your head spin, and frankly, they all start to sound the same. “Look how smart this startup’s owner is,” or, “Look at the results from our most recent survey.” So, as I listened to these marketing executives share the fruits of their knowledge with us, I couldn’t help but feel like someone needed to add a few pearls of wisdom from the other side of the fence. So I decided to speak out.
“Please, for the love of god, stop spamming publishers and editors. They go straight to junk mail. How about we try working smarter, instead.”
Founders and CEOs of startups don’t need to spend a fortune on a public relations firm or marketing companies when they are perfectly capable of doing a great job on their own. There might come a time when the expertise of a larger corporate entity is required, but as a bootstrapped startup, they should allocate their funds to hiring talent and investing in sales and technology platforms. As the Publisher and Editor-in- Chief of three successful media platforms, the following list is a strategy that I try to implement in my own endeavors.
1 Research and find out as much as you can about the reporters who are writing about your industry. Make a list of their names, e-mails, Twitter handles, etc. Connect with them on every social media platform possible. Start with the reporter and work your way up from there. Don’t attempt to contact the publisher without an introduction or prior engagement.
2 Engage the writer. Read their material often and leave comments. Everyone who writes about anything does so to engage the readers. So you will always have their attention if you comment in a complimentary and intelligent way. Add to their discussion and validate their points with examples not just kudos.
3 Through your interactions, try to build rapport with writers by offering relevant information, links, and ties to other executives they might possibly want to know about. Make introductions. Nothing speaks louder about you then the people you know and the company you keep. So go ahead, don’t be stingy when it comes to intros.
4 Do their homework for them. Research your own industry. Then keep writers informed by offering them briefs about the latest developments in your industry.
5 When the time is right, arrange for a meeting, but be specific about your motives. Other than saying, “Let’s meet for coffee,” opt for something like, “There is a new study I want to share with you as a follow-up to the piece you wrote about last week. I think it could be useful in your ongoing coverage of company X or idea Y.”
6 Re-Tweet them. Share links to their articles on your Facebook and Twitter. We all have Google Alerts. Tag them in your own posts and you will see that they will start noticing you and giving value to what you have to offer.
7 Follow whomever they are following online. You want to connect with whomever they are connected to. It may sound like Internet stalking, but there’s a good chance your contacts might begin to feel like they know you already if you happen to share the same social media circles.
8 If the reporter writes about you, follow-up with gratitude. Find ways to thank them beyond a simple shoutout on Twitter. Regardless of how much you despise the picture they’ve posted of you or if their article included a typo, be grateful and show it. Be humble and grateful. There’s a good chance you might not ever engage with them again should you fail to followup on your article/feature.
9 Don’t use your connection to them to constantly sell your own genius. Remember, the relationship is about them, first and foremost. It takes time to establish trust. Be patient and your turn will eventually come.
10 To re-emphasize what is perhaps the most important point—don’t spam your media contacts with events, press releases, and surveys galore. Avoid forwarding, cc’ing, and bcc’ing your contacts. Construct individualized e-mails and invest your time in building real relationships. Your ultimate goal with the people in your network should be making them realize the value in knowing you. Your relationship should be a symbiotic one, where both parties mutually benefit.
Just because I publish a magazine, I do not assume to have solved the age–old problem of getting the most out of an investment when it comes to print and online advertising. Based upon my observations throughout the past five years, however, I have noticed a trend in what works for people in terms of getting the best returns on their investments and I’m able to detect the first signs of failure from those who take a loss. To become a successful advertiser, there are a few things to consider for your marketing strategy. Here is some advice if you are looking to take your business to the next level.
Find Your Niche
Know who your target market is and what they read. For example, you may think that your business is great for everyone. While that may be true, you are not necessarily looking to appeal to those consumers who might benefit from using your products or services. Rather, you are looking to appeal to the decision maker—the person responsible for purchasing your product. If you are a family business, you are most likely targeting the mom and it would be in your best interest to appeal directly to her. You need to find out exactly what kind of mom would benefit from your products. What are her hobbies? Where does she go to shop? Who is she? Profile her and find the outlets she uses to reach her.
Do Your Homework
Identify the outlets of media your target market uses. Are they online? Do they read the local paper? Are they an avid magazine reader? Do they belong to daily deal sites? Once you identify the outlets, request information from their publishers. How many readers do they have? How many magazines do they print or readers do they have online? How often do they print or update? What are the platforms available to you? Pricing? Discounts?
Invest in a Good Design
Invest in an eye catching design. No matter how good you think you are with Photoshop or InDesign, if you are not a designer, your best bet is to hire someone that is. It is important to have the right artwork that will catch the attention of your target market. Remember not to crowd your artwork, don’t overload consumers with too much information, don’t make lists, and don’t try to sound like everyone else. Be honest about your services and give reasons why consumers would benefit more from using your product more than they would your competitors. You are going to spend thousands of dollars getting your product out there, so spend a couple of hundred more on the product’s aesthetic. Most magazines will offer design services for free, but they will not necessarily provide the time you need. Hire someone. Have them make you the perfect ad. Evoke emotion. Use pictures and illustrations that would evoke emotion in the reader.
Keep it Simple
Do not use too many different fonts or sizes and always accept the power of what designers refer to as “negative space,” literally blank areas or white spaces in your ad that are not occupied by artwork or text.
Track and Analyze
Once you place your ad, follow its performance. Understand what sort of results you’re looking for. Is the purpose of the advertisment for branding, for coupon retrieval, or to establish new leads? Find out how your customers came across you by digging for details. Most consumers won’t recollect specifically where they noticed your ad and it’s okay to lead them. Was it in the paper or on the billboard? Help them help you. Analyze the ad’s performance once it hits the newstands or website. Ask your current customers what they think, then ask your competitors (hopefully you are close to them). If this is not a viable option, then ask your family. What does the advertisment do in the big scope of the entire magazine or website? Is it too small and does it convey your quality?
Don’t Expect Immediate Results
If an ad does not work, don’t blame the publisher unless he or she did not deliver on the quality product that he or she promised. Remember, the publisher cannot twist people’s arms to use your services. They are only responsible for producing what they promised you and distributing it in a timely fashion. If it is a website, do they update daily? If it is a magazine, does it look and read the same way it did when you decided to advertise in it? Other than that, if your ad didn’t work it is most likely not their fault. Look to see if the publication is being read and where. Find out the reader’s opinions about the media outlet. If you receive positive feedback, then the product is probably doing its job. Before you think about discontinuing the ad, consider redesigning or rethinking your offer and keep going.
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
Advertising works with repetition. This sounds like the publisher’s schtick, but it really does carry weight. Research shows that consumers need to see or hear about you on an average of five times before they make a decision on your product or service. Advertising also works best if you are a part of your campaign. Be active about getting on the outlet’s site to blog, post, and comment and make yourself readily available to your potential customers. Remember, you only get back what you put in. Most consumers want to attach a face to a product and will be more inclined to use your product or service if they feel that they have established some sort of relationship with you.
Finally, you must remember to talk to the media outlet about your ad. If there is a flow of communication, they will do their best to help you. It is in the interest of the media companies for you to succeed. They want to keep you as a customer and have you refer more clients to them. If you expect them to extract information from you, you will ultimately be disappointed. Most publishers will assume that you are happy if you do not speak up. If a publisher doesn’t offer to help you after you reach out to them, then by all means, terminate your contract with them.
When I answered Hulya’s call for bloggers in April 2011, I had no idea where this journey would go. Monday marked the 200th post published under my byline on Modern DC Business. A very heartfelt thank you to our readers for sharing what has turned into an extraordinary adventure. And an enlightening experience. If you’re thinking about blogging, perhaps the following tips will help you take the plunge.
Blogging Is Always about Other People
You have to say something people care about. (Well, duh.) But, in the process of finding things to write about you meet a lot of cool people doing really interesting things. You wind up building a new network that:
- Helps people learn about cool companies or ideas
- Enables you to introduce people who run in completely different circles—and really need to meet
- Establishes friendships with people (doing really cool things)
A number of companies use blogging as a primary vehicle for establishing a position of thought leadership. This strategy works, but only if you have a unique point of view. The search for new knowledge and thought leadership will force you out of your comfort zone, and is well worth the effort. And that’s what helps you keep readers’ attention.
Learn to Fly without A Safety Net
The day I decided to write about whatever happened to be in the news each day was frightening… and also one of the best decisions I’ve made. Scanning the news forces you to build a knowledge base, which turns into discovering connections and new ideas before other people. Writing about these connections keeps content fresh (and hopefully) thought provoking for readers.
The ability to build on others’ ideas or challenge conventional wisdom also sharpens critical thinking skills. The need to write every day hones writing skills. Both provide an opportunity for growth.
It takes courage to speak your mind in a public forum. I know a lot of intelligent people who have something important to say, yet let fear stand in their way of having a public voice. The fear doesn’t go away until you dive in and learn that you actually can swim. (The same goes for all forms of social media.)
If you don’t have something different to say, then it’s time to dig deeper. Saying the same thing as everyone else is a waste of your time and it won’t be long before readers find something else to do with theirs. Digging deeper takes more discipline than you might think. Yet, it’s the only way to develop a voice that stands out from the crowd.
Achievement happens when you actively pursue results. It takes time to gain traction and it may seem as if you’re talking into a vacuum at first. Have patience. Ask for feedback. Measure results. And don’t give up.
Stay focused. (Okay, that’s what other people will tell you.) As a blogger for Modern DC Business, I have the pleasure to write about a lot of different things. So, while other people would say lack of focus works against a writer, I say there’s nothing wrong with writing about a wide range of interests as long as you have a forum that supports that type of curiosity. Personally, I cannot wait to see how the next 200 posts on local events, business, education, leadership, government, funding, consumer apps, marketing and social media unfold.
Okay, I admit to wanting some of the focus referenced above. I have an insatiable passion for two things in the business world:
- Helping people build high performing companies from the ground up
- Transforming toxic environments into workplaces of excellence
This fascination with leadership and organizational behavior spurred me to launch a personal blog the end of May. Please take a moment to stop by and submit topics you’d like to see addressed in either forum.
MindShare is D.C.’s premier invitation only program for CEOs of the most promising companies in the region. Founded in 1997, the program provides CEOs unparalleled access to well established and respected mentors and unrivaled business opportunities. To date there have been more than 550 CEOs who have graduated from MindShare, who have in turn gone on to create a unique and valuable alumni network. Past alums include Tim O’Shaughnessy of LivingSocial; Rick Rudman of Vocus; Hemant Kanakia of Torrent Networking Technologies; and Philip Merrick of webMethods.
The MindShare Organizing Board provides a forum exclusively for CEOs to share success stories, as well as some of the biggest challenges that they have faced during their rise to the top. Each session focuses on a differing aspect of nurturing and growing an emerging business.
Two rising stars from this year’s graduating class are Blake Hall of TroopSwap and Hulya Aksu of CriticMania.
HULYA AKSU OF CRITICMANIA
What is CriticMania?
CriticMania is a few things to few groups. CriticMania Expert is a platform where small businesses must qualify and meet criteria set forth by the experts on our staff to have their business information published in a narrative. Most small business owners need support, education and online partners to improve and expand their online identity. That is what we do. CriticMania is a strong ally to the small business community, not another extortionist made to look like a social media platform such as Yelp and the others. This year we will also launch CriticMania Social where users will be able to use a mobile app to check in and post their own reviews with people that matter to them.
Where do you envision CriticMania in five years?
I can’t speculate as technology is constantly shifting and I don’t have a crystal ball. I can only tell you that we will be quick to adapt, adopt the necessary advancements, and improve as quickly as the marketplace demands us to.
From where do you draw your inspiration?
Ive been publishing in print successfully for the last six years. We have won national acclaim, plenty of awards and have met some of the country’s most talented people. Although it’s flattering to be where we are in the community, nothing inspired me the way the small business owners have. Their needs, their passions and their problems have driven me to come up with solutions that are effective and affordable. Our success is measured in the success stories of every single one of my customers.
BLAKE HALL OF TROOPSWAP
What is TroopSwap?
TroopSwap is the first e-commerce platform exclusively for the military and veteran community. Over 23 million living Americans have served in uniform, yet, prior to TroopSwap, there was no efficient way for brands to reach this demographic online because the government doesn’t provide a digital ID for service members and veterans. We are solving this problem by building a fully integrated marketplace where merchants can retail to verified military users via fl ash sales, permanent military discounts and virtual stores. We also plan to give our military members the ability to create their own stores so they can interact with one another inside of a trusted environment. If you can imagine a military marketplace along the lines of an “eBay meets Amazon” then you can see where we are headed.
Where do you envision TroopSwap in five years?
The best brands build an ecosystem that creates value for everyone who interacts with that brand. I love the story of how Vans became a national brand by organizing a world championship for skateboarders. They had no idea that by crowning a champion they were creating an aspirational brand that would position Tony Hawk at the top of the pyramid and young teenagers who wanted to be like him at the bottom. They just decided that the community needed a world championship and that it was the right thing to do. The coolest part of being an entrepreneur is that I have no idea what TroopSwap will be in five years. We simply want to focus on building great products and services that will create tangible value for our community – if those products and services happen to spur massive externalities then so much the better. Ultimately, Matt and I want to create a vibrant community and a platform that will enable the free market to serve the military in ways that the government simply cannot.
Cooley LLP hosted the 26th biannual Capital Call event at their Reston location. Modern DC Business Magazine was present along with 12 regional startups and over 100 Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors looking for the next great idea. Historically, there has been a 40% investment rate for presenters who get 3 minutes each to pitch their businesses to the investors. The presenters this year include the following:
In the past, some cultures predicted that the world would end in 2012. This past year, I too have had that inkling, usually when reading through the latest economic numbers, jobs forecasts and the steady stream of doom and gloom on the 24-hour news cycle. Keeping a realistic approach to all the data out there can be a challenge sometimes. However, silver linings, just over the horizon, have been apparent for some time now. To see it, one simply needs to be diligent when filtering the information being presented. Opportunities are all over our fair city, and in every emerging market across the globe. Which brings me to the issue you are holding in your hands. Brazil, or the B in BRIC, is a nation full of economic opportunities, possibilities and if you strike while the iron’s hot, impressive profits. In these pages we bring you expert analysis from those on the front line, like businessman Jonathan Whittle, venture capitalist Patrick Kerins, director of the Brazil U.S. Business Council, Steven Bipes, and Philip Gough of the Brazilian Embassy. Each one offers us great insight into what to expect, how to carry ourselves, and where the big profits are in Brazil. It may still be cold outside, but I feel a good Caiparinha is in order. Cheers, and welcome to 2012!
The country has seen better days. This much is undeniable. We sometimes forget that the decisions being made (and stubbornly not being made) by national leaders in our fair city, have far-reaching effects. We have been, happily, somewhat insulated from the lack of cooperation on the Hill, but for how long? As we ponder this question, millions remain unemployed across the nation, and our political system remains in gridlock over even the minutest details of governance. If we continue on our projected path, even those of us living in the nation’s capital and its surrounding suburbs will feel the pinch.
In this issue we bring to you a few people who know well how to iron out complicated deals and understand the importance of reaching one’s goals through careful analysis and cooperation. We had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Robert Barnett of Williams & Connolly LLP, the legendary lawyer who has represented some of Washington’s most elite names, Mike Lincoln of Cooley LLP on the art of the deal, and David Saltzman of Saltzman and Evinch P.C. on his experiences representing the interests of the Republic of Turkey in Washington.
These deal makers and master negotiators can offer more than a few pieces of advice for our gridlocked leaders on the Hill. One can only hope that they would have the wherewithal and the wisdom to listen. I’m not holding my breath.
Our latest issue of MB includes:
Alternative Investment Vehicles
Art & The Good Life
Art & Science
Business Golf 201
Social Media Jobs
The Future is Electric
Jesse Thomas, Founder and CEO of Jess3
Don Rainey, Venture Capitalist
Robert Barnett, Attorney
Mike Lincoln, Corporate Attorney
David Saltzman, International Lawyer
Founder and Chairman of Sun Design, Craig Durosko and President Bob Gallagher
Washington D.C. is in the midst of a transformation. No longer just a temporary home for lobbyists, lawyers and unscrupulous political operatives, Washington is defining itself as home to a plethora of cultural movers and shakers, innovators and internationally recognized business leaders. The booming business culture of our fair city is exploding right before our eyes, and those with foresight and know-how are reaping the many benefits of being in our nation’s capital at just the right time.
What distinguishes the great cities from the not so great ones? If you answered that the dynamics of a great city is its economy or its cultural foundations, then you are right, but there is so much more to it than that. Just as important as a city’s economic vigor is a city’s history, its culinary traditions and its innovative and restless citizenry. These factors all add up to form the whole puzzle, and one piece without the other is useless. Washington D.C. has all the missing pieces and is developing a grand picture for all to see − a masterful mosaic of diverse institutions, varied businesses and entertainment spots that are the envy of the country, if not the world.
This brings me to the issue you are holding in your hands. “The Purveyors of Taste” highlights some impressive new restaurants, trends and sporting institutions, and we are introducing you to the masterminds behind the scenes − those calling all the shots and succeeding at their crafts to make Washington, D.C. one of the best cities in which to live and work.
Among those featured: Ted Leonsis, the business guru and sports icon behind the Washington Wizards, Capitals and the Mystics; Jimmy Lynn of JLynn Associates, a behind-the-scenes deal maker par excellence, a man whose Rolodex has more VIPs than most of us will ever know, and whose role in countless nonprofits sets an example to us all. We also delve deeply into the delectable world of Washington’s impressive culinary scene with Geoff Tracy, a Washington native and the man behind Chef Geoff’s. We have two symbols of French cuisine − Michel Richard of Citronelle and the great innovator, Alain Ducasse. They, and other individuals we feature in this issue, have shared with us the inspiration and motivation for their creations and why they have chosen D.C. to expand their empires.
Transformations can be hectic. Many cities fail when seismic shifts are attempted, but Washington, D.C. is a city with history on its side. As we strive to continually bask in the warm glow of the Potomac, what we make of our time in the sun will determine where we are as a city in the decades to come.