Trouble In Uber Land


I don’t know why this happened, but I have seen more companies implode due to situations that really have nothing to do with their business model. In the last few days, Uber has found itself in a situation that could literally close the company down.

I will try to detail what has happened but I have also included links to other stories that may tell the story better. See Business Insider.

Like many other companies, Uber has received its share of criticism as the service grew and became available in 45 countries and more than 200 cities worldwide. It is now valued at $18.2 billion.

Most companies grin and bear critiques from journalists, but apparently Uber wanted to fight back. At a recent industry event that included journalists, one of Uber’s senior executives admitted that the company was gathering information to discredit certain writers.

Uber has also been under fire by Sarah Lacy, of PandoDaily, for outrageous sexism woven deeply into the culture of the company. “We’ve seen it in the company’s PR team discrediting female passengers who accuse drivers of attacking them by whispering that they were ‘drunk’ or ‘dressed’ provocatively.”

Lacy and a host of other tech writers are calling for the resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick who has been quoted calling his company “boober” because of all the tail he gets since running it.”

Behind The Scenes Of Rosewater

I want to demystify the 2014 movie Rosewater for many of my readers. Eliot and I saw the drama, written and directed by Jon Stewart, a few nights ago. Ever since then, several of us have been speculating how the entire project came about and why Stewart got involved.

I did all of my research on YouTube and Wikipedia. If you watch the videos from top down, you will learn that the movie is based on the memoir, Then They Came for Me by Mazari Bahari. In 2009, the author was imprisoned in Iran because he reportedly misspoke on Stewart’s The Daily Show. The skit Bahari participated in was a joke, but the Iranian authorities took it very seriously. Bahari was tortured and detained in Iran for 118 days.

The movie details Bahari’s horrendous journey and how and why he was eventually released. In my opinion, Stewart did an amazing job capturing the Iranian state-of-affairs.

It’s All About The “Likes”

I’m in the thick of things when it comes to social media. I handle a lot of the content that gets posted for clients. Yet it took me by surprise when a music agent recently told me that young artists are just not taken seriously if they don’t have a big following on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. That means record companies, movie studios and casting agents are more concerned about how popular an individual is, than the talent he or she possesses.

Unlike when we were in the prime of our careers, most young adults are expected to have a fan club if they want to get ahead in life. It doesn’t matter what business they are in. Handlers and/or superiors want to know that, if needed, the talent or employee, can send out a tweet and engage personal support.

In our day, we were judged for our capabilities. We would focus on improving our skills. Today, people in the workforce have to worry about improving their talent as well as building a loyal following. I can’t even imagine the pressure for anyone in the job market who needs to prove he or she has the power and impact.

A recruiter friend also told me that those who have a sizable fan club on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, should immediately list it on top of their resumes. Where, once we would describe our “experience,” the show offs post their high ranking numbers. They are immediately perceived as industry personalities.

I know it’s difficult for people of our age to believe that this is the way business is done today. It may be sad, but it’s true.

For The Picasso In You


For years now I have wanted to learn how to make a collage. My cousin Hanna tried teaching me. I got the hang of it, but I still need a qualified instructor leading the way.

I really love living in the virtual world. I don’t feel like racing out to some institution to work on an arts and crafts project. I want to do it in the comfort of my home. When I explained this to an art aficionado the other night, she quickly told me about Craftsy.

Gal to the left, Jayda Knight, told me about Craftsy.

Crafty’s website says

“Our hundreds of classes in quilting, sewing, knitting, cake decorating, art, photography, cooking and many more categories, bring the world’s best instructors to you. Learn at your pace with easy-to-follow HD video lessons you can access on your computer and mobile device anytime, anytime, anywhere, forever. You can even bookmark your favorite techniques to return to as often as you’d like with just a click. Plus, ask your expert instructor questions for all the personalized guidance you need to succeed!”

Craftsy is located in Denver. Entrepreneur magazine just announced a fourth funding round of $50 million for Craftsy bringing the company’s total to $106 million. Five hundred additional courses will reportedly be added next year.

The company is four years old. Craftsy has 5 million (predominately female) users from 180 countries, generating $12 million in revenue in 2012 and $24 million in 2013.

The most important part of Craftsy is that it provides continuous hours of fun.

The Money Shot


Tonight was the Williams McCall’s group show in Miami Beach. Eliot’s “Money Shot” was one of the art pieces featured. Everyone loves money.

It turned out to be a great night. It was just one of those parties where everything jelled.




The big surprise for me was how many folks showed up with their new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. I’m still getting used to taking photos with my iPhone 6 Plus and how they are stored on my device. Practice makes perfect.






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Transfering Photos and Videos From Your Smartphone

You are going to love this. The new iXpand SanDisk USB flash drive has been specifically designed to help you transfer photos and videos from your smartphone or tablets to your laptop in a few easy steps. You don’t need cables or other Internet connections.

Watch the video to see how easy it is to do.

Where was this flash drive when I needed it a few months ago? I was walking around with 4000 photos on my iPhone. Then my phone stopped functioning until I downloaded all of my photos and freed up space. If I owned the iXpand flash drive at the time, I would have transferred my photos and videos to my laptop more frequently. Now I will.

All you have to do is download the iXpand app and tap it so it accesses your photos and videos. Then plug the iXpand Flash Drive in to your smartphone and, presto it grabs your photos and videos. It’s extremely simple.

The 16GB drive will sell for $59.99 and the 64GB drive for $119.99.

Shower Power


i wish I owned the iShower2 this past Tuesday. I was in New York and Eliot was in Miami. I was taking a shower around 8:30am when all of a sudden, my iPhone started ringing. While I brought my iPhone into the bathroom with me, there was no way I was going to answer it. I was in the middle of shampooing my hair. No chance of suds getting into my new iPhone 6 Plus.

I decided to ignore the call. Then I heard my landline ring followed by my iPhone again. If that wasn’t disturbing enough, I heard someone banging on my front door. I also received a series of texts. It turns out that my housekeeper was in the lobby because she thought it was the day to clean my apartment. Yuri has been my housekeeper for more than a decade, My coop staff knows her well. When she couldn’t reach me, the doorman and my superintendent, assisted her. I was getting bombarded with calls.

If I had the iShower2 Bluetooth speaker, I could have answered the call right in the shower. The iShower2, with a price tag of $100, has a speakerphone so mobile calls can be answered. The device uses two AA batteries and claims to have a 200-foot range so the phone doesn’t have to be in the same room.

Woohoo. The reviews on this product are not that great on Amazon. That doesn’t scare me. It’s worth a try.

Calling Your Own Time Of Death


It was so strange to hear the adult daughter of Jack Wayman talk about her father in such a personal way. The 100-plus people in the audience only knew Jack as a powerful and outspoken leader who founded the CES. He was everything you would image a leader to be: full of energy, ideas and plans.

Yesterday, we heard about how this major force, at the age of 92, tried to control the day and time of his death. He was ready to go. He told his children that his big world had shrunk. While friends did call, it just wasn’t the same attention he received for decades on the floor of CES with 150.000 show goers in attendance.

Jessica Wayman said her father told her that he was going to die at 5 o’clock one particular afternoon. He then proceeded to call his close friend to say one final goodbye. It turns out that he didn’t die that day at 5, but he did the very next afternoon. I guess once you run the show, you run it to the very end.

Jack Wayman, 1922 to 2014


Photo from Variety

I wonder if Jack would have liked his Memorial? The Consumer Electronics Association, producers of CES, gave Jack an emotional send off today at the Grand Hyatt New York. Jack started CES in 1967 and was the force behind CES becoming the largest trade show in the United States. Jack died at 92 years old. He had an amazing life.

He reportedly had five wives, (one of his wives confided that number to me), five children, 13 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. While he adored his family, the greatest love of his life was his girlfriend, Katrine Barth, a PR agency owner who competed against me for many years. I’m not going to get into how unfair the competition was for my company during their affair, I’m saving that for the book I may write someday.

After the romance was over (scandal galore), Jack liked to pretend that his relationship with Katrine had no impact on me. The fact that she got to meet all of the new exhibitors first and received his nod of approval to anyone looking for a PR program, could have easily put me out-of-business. It did the opposite, it made me stronger.

I saw Katrine at the Memorial service today. We kissed, we hugged. I knew her for many years before she hooked up with Jack so there was a history of many good times. She accompanied the 30-year old daughter she and Jack had together. To his dying day, Jack was still in love with Katrine. Call me if you want more details. Jack would have approved my gossiping about him. He loved the attention, dead or alive.

Jack was one of the most gregarious, personable, handsome, smart, accomplished, and dedicated businessmen I have ever met. He was all business. That was one of the reasons he loved Katrine so much. He could share CES with her.

Jack was also a decorated U.S. veteran. He served in Europe during WWII as a combat infantry company commander and fought at the Normandy Invasion and the Battle of the Bulge, earning multiple awards including the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart with Cluster and two Presidential Citations. .

We learned during the Memorial that he was a great athlete and a terrible driver. His eldest daughter gave a moving speech about his last days on Earth that I want to share with you. I will tell you more about it tomorrow. I never heard of anyone dying the way she said he did. He was in control to his last dying moment.