photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Brands send messages. These messages are conveyed by their advertising, by their earned media, and by everything else that the company does and stands for. Perception among customers and prospective buyers is formed by the aggregate weight of these messages, these practices, and by all encounters with a company’s team members, with the product, and so on.

Today, brand experience is the name of the game, because it encompasses operational realities. When a brand message says one thing but the reality of the product or service delivery says another, cognitive dissonance drives people away. Forever.

How does one go about…


“Alligator” by Jerry Garcia

The artist understands from years of practice that the act of making art, film, advertising, or music is what matters. In fact, the act of making art matters much more than any outcomes that result from this act. Put another way, the creative process is where all the action is and once a piece or a project is completed, the artist longs to get back into the zone where making meaningful things is a deeply satisfying way to spend one’s day.

The artist that manages to somehow make a healthy living by selling their work, learns many “art of business”…


The American reckoning is here.

We are a troubled people lurching toward an untenable election. Whoever wins and however it’s fixed by the legal eagles, a portion of the population will be outraged. Their outrage won’t be justified but it will be real. Sadly, a great deal of the outrage is manufactured. Outrage, like cloaked language and promises that never come true is all part of the show now.

I recall my own outrage at the rise of Reagan and Bush. “The War on Drugs” was one of their signature policies. Of course, it was never a war on drugs…


Grateful Dead and its leader, Jerry Garcia, opted out of conventional modes and frameworks. He did not follow convention, he defied it artfully. Growing up in the Mission District of San Francisco during the Beat generation was formative, and Jerry was not going to be a square. Jerry was going to be an artist and an adventurer.

Folk music was the music of cultural change, and Jerry liked the sounds made by the banjo — an instrument with African-American roots. Jerry also learned to play the pedal steel guitar. Both instruments are critical to Country music, then and now.

It’s…


“Jerry was the Sun of the Grateful Dead — the music they played was like planets orbiting around him.” -Carlos Santana

Jerry Garcia was exceptional and he was strong, but he didn’t want to be the leader. He didn’t want to tell people what to do.

With this old school leadership model in mind, Jerry never claimed to be the leader of the band, even though it was obvious to everyone in the band that he was not just the leader, but the heart and soul of Grateful Dead.

As a business, the band sought to function as a family…


Jerry Garcia achieved great things. He was an artist with a unique vision and a unique ability to convey his vision. He was also a hero to many, and a rock icon to many more.

He was also a nice man with a large heart and a gentle spirit. There’s plenty of evidence, including my own anecdotal evidence. I met Jerry one morning, completely by chance at his local grocery store in Marin County. I wanted to give him some space. He wanted to chat. Because he was gregarious and he loved his fans.

In 2013, to celebrate 9 Days…


Making music requires intense concentration, active listening, plus physical coordination and stamina.

Making music live in front of a paying audience is even more rigorous.

Jerry Garcia Life Lesson: Stretch

Stretching is both a physical act and a metaphorical framework.

Top performers stretch to achieve a desired state of limberness, which in turn allows them to reach much further and higher than they otherwise could. Before going on stage, Jerry used to run through scales to prepare himself physically for the challenges of playing a three-to-five hour show. …


Jerome Garcia grew up in The Mission District. His dad was a professional musician. You live what you learn.

What Jerry learned was to make things from available materials, and make things happen with the people and talent at hand. Phil Lesh, for instance, did not know how to play bass when Jerry asked him to join the band as bass player.

Phil was a budding composer of classical music, and Jerry liked his musical mind, so he taught him to play bass.

Jerry Garcia Life Lesson: Improvise

Jerry’s brother, Tiff, accidentally removed his little brother’s middle finger with an…


You have to learn the rules before you can begin to artfully deconstruct them.

Of course, all serious artists and thinkers do learn the rules first, it’s the artful deconstruction of said rules that eludes so many.

Jerry Garcia Life Lesson: Defy Convention

Jerry Garcia grew up in the 1950s–a time of mass conformity in America, San Francisco included. So, where did he acquire the ambition it took to dream his own dreams, think his own thoughts and live his own life? I can’t say for sure, but this kind of inner confidence is typically the result of strong parenting.

David Burn

Editor of Adpulp.com. Founder of Bonehook, a guide service and bait shop for brands. Fan of Kurt Vonnegut, Nebraska football and wolves in the wild.

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