Philip L. McKenzie is an anthropologist who uses his expertise in culture to advise organizations on how best to thrive in an increasingly challenging and uncertain environment. Philip uses his quantitative background and Wall Street experience in combination with a qualitative understanding of social, economic and cultural movements to unmask complex opportunities and identify significant trends that drive our future.
Generally, when I hear the term "futurist" I tend to break out in a healthy eye roll. Nowadays, it is a title too easily given and rarely backed up. If there is anyone who deserves such a distinction, however, it would be Douglas Rushkoff -- a visionary writer and nimble thinker. We have had the pleasure of sharing conversations with one another here and here. With the release of his latest book, Team Human, Rushkoff makes the case for embracing our humanity in the face of an increasingly digital world.
This past week, pop star and icon Beyoncé announced that she signed a self-described "multi-layered" deal with Adidas. The deal is expected to include a new sneaker line, apparel and the relaunch of the Ivy Park brand; it's normally enough to set the Beyhive buzzing. This news, however, was overshadowed by an interview from ESPN reporter Nick DePaula citing that Beyoncé rejected overtures by rival Reebok, specifically citing their lack of diversity as a significant factor in her decision. Although Reebok denies this as having played a role in their now Beyoncé-less future the star was reportedly very clear. According to DePaula, "She had a meeting at Reebok, and they had a whole presentation of everything -- potential products, how this could all look -- and she kind of took a step back and said, 'Is this the team that will be working on my product?' Somebody said, 'Yes' and she said, 'Nobody in this room reflects my background, my skin color and where I'm from and what I want to do.' So, she took a step back and left, and then it did not come to terms."
The only constant in the media industry is change. Brands are constantly fighting to maintain their relevance and grow their market share with increasingly discerning audiences. As the President of iOne Digital and One Solution, Detavio Samuels (pictured above) navigates these waters on a daily basis. The company's digital media division operates sites like CassiusLife, GlobalGrind, HelloBeautiful, NewsOne, MadameNoire and HipHopWired. Even though parent company UrbanOne is the largest distributor of urban content in the country, there is no letting up on the goal to represent culture and drive influence, as he explained in a recent interview.