The Call For Help

I was just about to fall asleep on Saturday night, October 9th, when I heard someone screaming, “Help, help, help” over and over. Eliot and I jumped out of bed and ran to our bedroom window which looks over the Miami Beach Marina. We couldn’t believe our eyes. 

An 80-foot Hatteras (a yacht called Mimi) was out-of-control, going back-and-forth, like a bumper car, banging into six other docked boats. We later found out, the guy yelling for help, was in his cabin in one of the boats being attacked. We called the police. So did many other condo dwellers who heard the same cries for help. 

The Miami Herald had the story the next day. It turns out, that a wannabe pirate, managed to steal the $3.2 million yacht but didn’t know how to drive it. He crashed it so many times it started to sink. The thief jumped into the water and swam away. The Coast Guard is still looking for him. 

Eliot documented the accident, the investigation, the rescue and then the departure. All this took place over a 10-day period.  Click here for the Miami Herald story. Also watch the CBS video coverage above.

Photos by Eliot Hess

Someone tried to steal the Mimi.

After the thief swam away, a helicopter arrived to shed light on the situation.

The police, the coast guard, an ambulance, fire engines, and news crews, surrounded the Mimi for hours.

Many people in our building, and neighboring ones, watched the events unfold all night.

This is what we found the next morning.

The yacht was placed on its side for further investigation.

A few days later, a huge barge showed up to get the yacht ready for transport.

Eliot called the Mimi a black-and-white cookie. The part of the boat that was submerged was filled with sand.

Preparations to remove the vessel took days.

A safety net was used to make sure the Mimi didn’t sink again.

A huge crane started to lift the yacht so it could be placed on the barge.

A smaller barge was brought in to carry the yacht out of the marina.

Mimi started its departure.

As the Mimi was being pulled away, we admitted we were going to miss the action.

We hope the Mimi gets restored.

The Mimi leaves the marina.

If You Can’t Tell Us What Your Company Does In Less Than 30 Seconds, You’re Not Going To Succeed

It’s never too late to start a business. I don’t care how old you are. Let’s hope you’re smart enough. If you plan to do a start -up, be sure to listen to our Lying on the Beach podcast. 

Most founders of start-ups can’t describe what their companies do in less than 30 seconds. Most executives at well-known establishments can’t either. They go on and on. In today’s world, most folks have short attention spans. Serious business people better be able to spell out the winning facts, fast. 

This is so important for attracting strategic partners, editorial interviews, and social networking. Here is advice from a major TV personality, Steve Greenberg, and yours truly,  who talk about this topic on our podcast, Lying on the Beach.

Click here. 

My Next Project  

I’m looking for anyone who knows how to arm knit. YouTube is loaded with how-to videos, but it would be so much fun to find someone who can offer first-hand experience. 

You knit these giant fluffy blankets with your full arms

Arm Knitting: Basic Blanket Tutorial

How to Arm Knit a Blanket in 45 Minutes with Simply Maggie (with out takes

Meanwhile, I continue to color. I’m in the middle of these two projects.

The Wynwood Coloring Book


Gary Shapiro Speaks Out 

Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, which represents more than 2,400 tech companies and owns and produces CES. 

The following was posted on Gary’s Facebook page last Friday

Way before the first Republican primary I have been consistent, clear and firm that Donald Trump is unfit to be President. He is divisive, appeals to our worst tribal instincts and is highly immoral. He hurt thousands of contractors and investors. He is lazy, didn’t prepare for debates or learn the basic facts about foreign or domestic policy. I disagree with the substantive positions he has taken. (The only redeeming virtues for me of a Trump presidency are restrictions on regulatory overreach, lower corporate taxes, investing in infrastructure and pro-business Supreme Court appointees).

But I am never Trump for two other big reasons: 

First, he will destabilize the world and should not be entrusted with our military and nuclear arsenal. This draft dodger for a foot bunion had the audacity to say multi-year POW Sen. McCain was no war hero.

Second, he is such a horrible immoral sexist, racist, nasty person he should not sit in the White House. The President sets the moral tone for the country and is a model for every child. For the last 40 years we have had R and D presidents who had different views but they were decent and ethical people. 

I want my children and future grandchildren to know I did what I could to stop this horrible person from being President. 

So I have written op eds, tweeted and opined.
Now I must vote. Despite having supported, contributed and advocated for the last few Republican presidential candidates, I am almost ready to vote for Sen. Clinton as she is experienced, stable and by every measure a better choice. She is good on tech policy, social issues and hopefully trade. Her husband was a great president who appreciated that businesses create jobs. 
I think she means well and although she began as a Republican, had adversity (NASA telling her at five that girls could not be astronauts, failing the bar – and other better known challenges) she did ground breaking work establishing rights of children and fighting for women globally. She also is passionate about the value of a free Internet. 
Of course she has issues. She does what unions want. She has several incidences of poor judgement which I hope she learned from. 

I hope she can understand that American companies are in a global battle and need a supportive government willing to let them hire the best and brightest and not face unfair tax and regulatory burdens.
In high school she ran for class president against a guy who said something like you are stupid if you vote for a girl for president. Well, I hope tens of millions of Americans vote for HRC not because she may be our first woman president but because she is highly qualified. Trump not only is unqualified, he is bad for our nation, our ideals and our children and the legacy of moral leadership we owe them.

Having written a best seller about innovation and ninja behavior, I can only say this is not the situation I preferred, but looking at all the options, a landslide vote for Sec. Clinton would be the best message we can send the haters, the party firsters and others who think Trump’s brand of nastiness, failure to take responsibility, and simplistic but idiotic fixes will make us better.

Clinton And Giuliani Became A News Machine For Samsung Four Seasons Of Hope

 This plaque was a gift from Peter Weedfald to HWH PR to commemorate the day. 

The year was 2003. June 17th to be exact. The next day was the annual Samsung Four Seasons Of Hope Charity at Cipriani’s. The charity raised millions of dollars for children’s causes.  I was totally freaking out. My PR agency, HWH PR, worked on this event for a month and we still didn’t have a stitch of editorial coverage for it. In fact, we didn’t have many press people attending the charity luncheon either. I watched as special rafters were being built for camera crews around the perimeter of the catering hall.

I rolled my eyes. I didn’t dare tell anyone on the client side. HWH was looking for a miracle. I started working the phones. I’m not sure what made me call Andrea Peyser at the New York Post. I told her my dilemma. She asked which notables were attending and I answered, “Joe Torre, Boomer Esiason, Arnold Palmer, Magic Johnson, Rudy Giuliani, and Bill Clinton. 

She screamed in astonishment. “I can’t believe you got Giuliani and Clinton in the same room. They hate each other.” That was news to me. They both agreed to attend the event without any restrictions or conditions. I didn’t think Andrea was right. She said she might write a story about it. I didn’t pay much attention. I thought her story would be a few sentences. 

I woke up early the next morning around 6am. I went to the front door to get the newspapers. There it was. Andrea scored a front page story about Giuliani and Clinton meeting face-to-face at the Four Seasons Of Hope event. I really thought I was going to get fired. The job of HWH PR was to get stories about Samsung, not a political warfare. 

My phone started ringing. It was the press. All of the TV networks, magazines, newspapers, and radio stations were sending reporters to cover the event. Some wanted to talk to a Samsung official immediately.  

I was forced to call Peter Weedfald, the person I reported to at Samsung. If I was a betting person, I would have guessed that Peter would have been furious that the charity event turned into a circus. Just the opposite. He seized the opportunity. He quickly confirmed the attendance of both Clinton and Giuliani, and then gave them Samsung message points. He was brilliant and saved the day.

Needless to say,  the Samsung Four Seasons Of Hope event was standing room only. Everyone read the New York Post that morning and wanted to capture a piece of the story for themselves. Without a doubt, every media outlet was in attendance. The rafters were completely full. In fact, they were so crowded, I thought they would crash.  

Giuliani and Clinton did not disappoint. They were eager to please in order to garner more publicity for the charities. They both walked on stage from opposite ends. When they got to the middle they shook hands. The press went wild. Cameras were flashing and live reporting went into action. It became a media frenzy. 

The net, net, was that there was more press coverage for this event than most other parties or conferences in the tech industry.

As far as I was concerned, it was all happenstance. I just stood by and watched the events unfold. There were many times, over the years, that I realized how lucky I was that Peter Weedfald didn’t freak when he received my call that early morning. He knew just how to put a proper spin on the news and to make sure the Samsung Four Seasons Of Hope got the publicity it deserved. That’s a talent.

Mission accomplished. Thank you Peter.

Peter Weedfald Meets HWH PR–The Fun Begins

Peter Weedfald 

It’s always very threatening when a client hires a new vice president of marketing. The new executive can easily justify appointing a different PR agency for supposedly a fresh start. It’s always a possibility. 

This time it was a whopper. We went from a timid and laid back marketing boss at Samsung, to the most energetic and highly- animated personality you could ever meet. His name was Peter Weedfald. He joined Samsung from Viewsonic. Peter was eager to show the business world his creative talents in his new job. He wanted a PR agency that could match his ambition.

He wasn’t sure HWH PR was up for the task, even though we were Samsung’s PR agency for many years. He more or less told me that. It was one of those times that you could only pray to your higher power to keep you employed. You just didn’t know if anyone else would come to your rescue. 

Peter called the entire HWH Samsung team into headquarters. I think there was six or seven of us at the time. Peter grilled us about our capabilities. We all felt that if he did any investigation beforehand, he would have known we were doing an outstanding job. 

Just when I thought we might lose the battle, the door to the room we were in opened. In walked IS Hur and JH Ahn, the Samsung executives in charge of Quality Control. They heard we were in the building.

Right in front of Peter, both executives handed HWH PR a bonus for the remarkable job we did generating record-breaking product reviews, plus garnering a few Editor’s Choice Awards. 
Getting the bonus money was terrific, but watching Peter Weedfald’s reaction to what he just witnessed, was so much better. He sat there in astonishment. He became gleeful. I could see that he loved experiencing triumph. Perhaps we were the agency he could trust after all.

The story doesn’t end there. Peter wanted to be sure we had the editorial connections we needed to get future high profile stories placed. He actually conducted an oral test with Jose Cardona, one of the Samsung account executives at HWH at the time. Peter would name one of the publications he was interested in, and Jose would rattle off everyone on the staff that mattered. 

They went back and forth about 10 times. It was just fabulous to watch. Jose didn’t miss a beat. He knew the name of everyone. Peter loved it. We loved it. And we went on to create some of the most exciting days at Samsung. 

Samsung Never Should Have Abandoned HWH PR’s 12-Step QC plan

One of the major reasons why HWH PR remained the PR agency of record for Samsung for 17 years was because we established a 12-step quality control check for every new major product introduction. You can laugh all you want, but it worked. Even if Korea had already introduced the “so-called Innovation” to the marketplace in Asia, HWH put it through its 12-step check list in the United States.

 I will even go so far as to say that one of our check list points would have revealed a faulty battery or whatever else ails the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 long before it came to market. You can ask Steve Panosian who is still at Samsung after all these years. He may not remember all that I am saying here, but he was very involved in helping HWH achieve Editors’ Choice Awards for each new flat panel TV being introduced in the marketplace.

 We weren’t geniuses; we just used common sense. It was just made very clear to us that in order to be in good standing with Samsung Korea, HWH had to do everything in our power to get two things accomplished – a record breaking number of reviews year after year, and the highest marks possible for each new innovative product.

 HWH actually had a 12-step plan that we created and religiously followed. One of the steps involved our close posse of advisors who got to test each new product before it was released to the public. The testers were editors at tech magazines, tech buffs, and tech hobbyists. They were all anxious to be the first to try these new innovations so they agreed to carefully check out each feature, even if it meant ripping the product apart.

 Time after time, one of these advisors would find something wrong and I was the one who had to go back and tell Samsung their new baby wasn’t as pretty as they thought. My name was on the door of the agency, so I was elected to deliver the news. It was never a pretty sight. I would watch a committee of five or six Samsung Korean executives stare at me with such venom that I would want to bolt from the room. The defiance in me would never allow me to do that. I was there for a bigger reason and I was going to see it though.

 It always worked out. Each time I tried to picture it as a game. They would get pissed at me, questioned my sanity, ask me 20 trick questions, talk to each other in Korean so I was left out of the conversation, and then finally smile. They figured out what went wrong, respectfully asked HWH to make sure the problem never leaked out to the public, fixed and fine-tuned the unit, and then officially sent the product out for a public review.

 That was one of the 12-steps HWH insisted on. The entire course of action worked so well, Samsung officially established a Quality Control department in the United States, headed by IS Hur and his direct report JH Ahn. We worked so closely together that we regarded ourselves as the dream team. Their mission was to tweak the product to excellence. Our responsibility was to make sure Samsung got those damn awards.

 Next installment — Peter Weedfald arrives to shake things up.