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Love Thy Neighbor(hood)

Project Nande is a $5/month membership club that gives its members access to curated neighborhood guides spotlighting cool stuff going on in Chicago. The guides are curated by an editorial team comprised of Chicagoans who got tired of SEO-driven listicles that felt phony compared to their daily experiences. Founder Andrew Tran stopped by the podcast to talk about how Project Nande came to life, what he feels is missing from nightlife coverage and who exactly is responding to those concierge texts. Really insightful stuff in this episode, even if you don’t live in Chicago.

The Office Hours Interview: Phil Chang

Phil Chang is a Brand Strategist and Creative Director based in NYC who has worked with Nike, Apple, Netflix, Samsung, MTV, The Museum of Modern Art, SSENSE, Bottega Veneta, Dropbox, Mandarin Oriental, Rodarte, adidas, and Calvin Klein. He also wrote one of the most influential pieces of business/culture writing I've ever read. Listen to his thoughts on advertising, marketing, why creatives shouldn't have to be in the office and a LOT more.

The Office Hours Interview - Carly Fisher

Carly Fisher is an award-winning journalist who’s byline has appeared in publications like GQ, Fodors Travel, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, High Times, Leafly, Wine Enthusiast, Brides, Saveur, Edible and NBC. Her work on CNN's "Family Meal" earned her a prestigious James Beard Award nomination in 2018. She’s one of the people in my life who I have to clear my schedule to hang out with because we will talk for hours about anything. This episode, we discussed how legalized cannabis is going to make things boring (3:32), why nobody should aim for the “local experience” while traveling (21:00), media and her forthcoming new book, Easy Weekend Getaways to the Hudson Valley & Catskills: Short Breaks from New York City!!!

Steven Gaither, owner of HBCUGameday.com

There are 48 historically black colleges across the US that operate athletic programs. Despite being members of the NCAA in Division 1 and 2, those athletic programs don't receive the same media coverage as the larger D-1 A (also known as FBS) schools despite averaging crowds that rival some of the programs in big conferences. Enter HBCU Gameday. The self-funded media platform spotlights HBCU sports and aims to fill the wide open lane by creating quality content that resonates. I got on the phone to talk with HBCU Gameday founder Steven Gaither to learn about his background, the sincere need for sponsors and partners in this space and the HBCU teams to watch this season.

Danny Daniels, owner of AAW Wrestling

When’s the last time you watched professional wrestling? If you’re like most Americans over the age of 30, you grew up in a world where promotions like WCW, WWE and ECW were on television nationally and names like Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and Goldberg were household names. After years of falling out of the mainstream, this fall will see the biggest slate of wrestling programming on TV since the late 90s. I felt like it was time to take a look at the business of wrestling and who better to help walk me through it than Danny Daniels, the owner of AAW Wrestling, a independant promotion based here in Chicago

The Art Of Finessing w/ Eddie "Esquire" Sanders

Our guest this week is Eddie Sanders, an intellectual property lawyer based in Chicago. In his life, he’s been a part of Chicago’s creative community as both an artist manager as well as a legal aide to countless members of the superstar musical talent the city cranking out on the regular these days. Hear about his upbringing, how he pulled off getting engaged on-stage at Lollapalooza 2019, what brands can do to get better creative partnerships as well as sharing a cultural concept native Chicagoans will recognize anywhere: the art of the “finesse”.

We Fix The XXL Freshman List

The reveal of XXL Magazine's Freshman List is one of the biggest moments on the hip-hop. Ernest and Alex discuss ways to market around the List to increase it's relevance -- and revenue.

4th of July weekend ALL-RECOMMENDATION EPISODE!

We put together a full episode of recommendations for interesting things that live at the intersection of culture and business like Japanese men's magazines like Popeye and Hail Mary (8:46), Khan Academy (15:20), books (20:30, 41:12) and every Stevie Wonder album released between 1972 and 1980 (33:15)

Money Team (feat. Big Homie Doe)

Darryl "Big Homie Doe" Williams is a multi-faceted creative who currently works as manager to Chicago's King Louie as well as one of the few minorities working in the top levels of the booming cannabis market (39:45). From the first time he met Kanye West to his new partnership in the cannabis space, this is the intersection of business and culture like you've never heard before.

Whatcha Drinkin, Whatcha Thinkin'

What's the most popular cocktail in Chicago? What are emerging trends to watch in the world of booze? Wine + Spirits Guru Max Heinemann from Nielsen CGA stops by to give us the biz behind the booze.

"Watching you drink this is my entertainment"

Learn about the culture and marketing strategy around Chicago's most famous (infamous?) liquor with Sam Mechling, the cultural ambassador for Jeppson's Malort.

Blind Spots!

A conversation around blind spots in marketing/advertising. We also solve racism once and for all!

How The Sausage Gets Made In Chicago

If you live in Chicago and have eaten a hot dog at any point, odds are one of 3 businesses in town got it into your hands. From the distribution strategy to the raw economics of opening a hot dog stand in town, we're joined by food writer/Hot Dog University graduate (yes, that's a thing) John Carruthers to talk about how the sausage gets made in Chicago and what the larger culture around hot dogs and street food as a business

Brands to Watch: Spring/Summer 2019

Ernest and Alex spotlight 5 brands doing cool things in culture and business.

My Favorite Monoculture

Hulu, ESPN, Marvel Studios, ABC...all owned by one company. We discuss Disney and the idea of "monoculture" aka how one company can "own" nostalgia across demographics and generations. Ernest also does the single worst Terrence Howard impression of all-time!

The Curious Case of the Chicago Fire

This week, Ernest is joined by Mess Director of Strategy Alex Menocal to discuss the Chicago Fire and strategize on how the team can build a larger fanbase locally with marketing

Create More, Consume Less

How consuming less and creating more will change your life

Guts and Sites

This week: How to make decisions when it’s hard to make decisions, Client 101 - How much does a website actually cost? and Ernest shares 3 playlists for your listening enjoyment!

The Secret Life of Tree

We talk with Tree, a Chicago-based rapper whose new album WE GROWN NOW can be found everywhere. Despite producing for and rapping alongside some of hip-hop's biggest names, odds are you haven't heard of him. He says that's on purpose. Listen to find out why!

Cowboys and Clients

This week, we talk about playing Devil's Advocate, debut a BRAND-NEW segment about strategy and get to the bottom of a recent controversy on the Billboard Country Music charts

Content about Content

As Ernest prepares to board a flight to Vegas for his bachelor party, he shares 3 of his favorite books about content creation and management.

Cultural Fossilization

If you’re sitting at the office wondering who anyone on that festival lineup is, this one’s for you. Stay tuned to the end for a homework assignment, it's not game over just yet.

© 2019 Ernest Wilkins + Mess