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When I first heard of Clubhouse from technology writers on Twitter, I thought the invitation-only social app with a waiting list to join was a toy for elite Silicon Valley bros. But after making my way past the velvet rope (thank you Jeremiah Owyang), I quickly learned how wrong I was.

Clubhouse is a social audio app, meaning that people communicate exclusively via audio chat. What’s different about Clubhouse from other social apps is that members communicate only through talking with each other, which adds a completely different dimension to social interaction online. You cannot see the other people you…


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How does a business say farewell? Family is showing us how: with grace, humanity, and gratitude. On January 5, Family Video went out of business. All its brick-and-mortar stores closed. But the brand is still alive — ironically in the digital world that helped usher in the company’s demise.

Family Video’s corporate Facebook page is something to behold. On Facebook, Family Video continues to share tributes from customers and ex-employees saying farewell. Keeping the digital lights on and letting letting the Family video community comment openly on social media is a branding masterstroke. Here are some sample posts:

  • “I’ll never…


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Bruce Springsteen is catching some flak for appearing in a Jeep ad. He does not need the money. So why would the Boss do a commercial? Here’s the answer: he wants to keep his personal brand relevant and visible. And that’s a lesson everyone should heed, no matter who you are or what you do for a living.

Bruce Springsteen broke through during the album-oriented era when heavy radio airplay, touring, and mass-media PR helped his music find an audience. When MTV came along, Springsteen adapted to the video format by learning how tell stories visually. His career became…


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Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

On my first week on the job at Lord of Vinyl, a middle-aged woman who looked to be about my age walked into the store holding a stack of weathered record albums, placed them on the counter, and left without saying a word. There were some good albums on the top of that stack, including Black Sabbath, Aerosmith’s Toys in the Attic, and Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies.

“Check this out,” I said to Scott, the owner, as he walked on to the floor from his tiny office in back, his eyes focused on his mobile phone screen. …


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When I was a kid growing up in the shag-carpet ’70s, my dad was on the road all the time. The rest of us lived in a ranch home on the midwestern tundra near Battle Creek, Michigan. One way Dad showed his love was to occasionally bring home a gift. Dad knew I loved baseball. After one of his lengthy road trips, he presented me with a 1959 Topps Hank Aaron baseball card.

I was stunned.

Hank Aaron was one of my heroes. And although hero worship can be dangerous — heroes can disappoint you as much as they can…


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Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

The Covid-19 pandemic unleashed suffering on a global scale not seen in our lifetimes. As if waves of sicknesses and death were not bad enough, businesses everywhere were rocked to the core, resulting in job loss and economic hardship. And it’s not over. But amid the turmoil, some businesses fought hard to emerge from 2020 as strong or even stronger than they were before the pandemic changed everything. Here are their stories, and the lessons we may learn from them.

1 Take Care of Your People: Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers Rallies through a Hard Times

Todd Graves saw the storm coming. Graves, the co-founder and CEO of fast-food chain Raising Caine’s Chicken Fingers, followed the…


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Vinyl album sale are hitting historic highs in the United States, casting a spotlight on the importance of album cover art. Album sleeve design plays an essential role in expressing a musician’s vision and sparking curiosity through visual storytelling. In the digital age, album cover art is even more valuable. That’s because digital gives musicians more ways to raise awareness for their work through the visual power of an album cover — on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Tumblr, Twitter, and so on. The memorable covers of 2020 expressed the times we live in. …


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How did you spend your Thanksgiving? Did you check in with your aunt on Zoom or perhaps take a walk around the neighborhood with your immediate family? Although some defied the CDC advisory about family gatherings and traveled to be with loved ones, it looks like many of us stayed home and . . . shopped online. According to Adobe Analytics, Thanksgiving Day spending online rose by nearly 22 percent year over year to $5.1 billion, hitting a new record.


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Netflix has declared checkmate with the release of The Queen’s Gambit miniseries, which premiered October 23. The Queen’s Gambit, which tells the story of a woman’s journey to becoming a chess master, is probably the most talked about production of 2020 as well as critically acclaimed, with a rare 100-percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Netflix has not released viewership numbers yet, but The Queen’s Gambit is certainly going to rank at or near the top when compared to anything else Netflix has created during the company’s great creative run in recent years. But the miniseries is more than a critical…


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Wonder Woman is changing with the times. When she squares off against Maxwell Lord and the Cheetah in Wonder Woman 1984 (aka WW84) on December 25, she’ll do so in movie theaters and on streaming service HBO Max. That’s right: streaming services have been promoted to first-run status. Or maybe it’s the other way around: movie studios are crawling to the streaming services.

Welcome to the rise of New Hollywood during the pandemic.

Old Hollywood Is in Trouble

Old Hollywood studios are in a terrible bind. Going into 2020, they’d scheduled their usual slate of big-budget blockbusters for global release in theaters around the world…

David Deal

Writer and pop culture lover.

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