Category Archives: Darren Herman

Brand Affinity on the Tee

While living in Manhattan, it was very hard to get to the golf course on a regular basis due to having to travel outside of the city to play. Now that I’m back in suburbia, golf courses are abundant, and there is ample opportunity to play (my grandfather, father-in-law, friends, etc). I had a bit of free time this past Sunday as Sherri was at a bridal shower for my cousin Dean’s fiance so I packed up a few of my golf clubs and went to Fairview Golf Center in Elmsford, NY to hit a few golf balls at the driving range and to test out some new drivers.

Fairview Golf Center Logo I am in the market for a new driver this season so did a little research before I got to the proshop and wanted to sample the Cobra, Callaway, and Nike drivers. I sampled about 7-8 different drivers and ended up really liking the Ping G5, Cleveland Hibore XL, and the Nike SQ Sumo. For the most part, I was hitting 200-275 with those clubs and fairly straight. Not bad!

There was something special about the Nike SQ Sumo club. For whatever reason, when the pro handed it to me, I got excited. I grew up wearing Nike sneakers, watching Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods… and now, Lebron James. While I was playing ice hockey, Nike was just emerging as a leader in hockey equipment and started dominating the market. Basically, wherever I played sport, Nike was there… and they dominated.Nike Tiger Woods Golf

I couldn’t wait to hit the club as I walked up to the practice tee. It held up nicely. Very nicely. I was skeptical at first as to whether or not the club would play well against Ping, Callaway, and Cleveland which are native golf organizations but it really did. The club had a little pizazz to it as well… a bit of yellow on the head and a multicolor face. It stood out nicely.

Nike did very well with me. I showed extreme loyalty to the brand as the club hit just as well [to me] as the Ping and Cleveland. The club felt fantastic and sporting the swoosh put a little hop in my step. I’ll never be Tiger, but I wouldn’t mind having the same tools of the trade as him.

Check out Wikipedia’s definition of the Q Score if you’re interested in learning more about brand affinity and measuring the familiarity with a brand. In this article in Fast Company, Linda Tischler talks about that a brand must not function well, but must also feel good too. Nike struck that chord with me more than any of the other clubs. Maybe we should compare advertising spending between the club brands?

Do we need to be turned on 24/7? Unless you're Jenna Jameson….

I’m fairly digital.  Not just I think so… according to the Pew Internet Study just released (May 7, 2007), I rank in the top 8% of their sample group.  There are times though that I’d like to turn off- not just the time that I’m away on vacation, but times that I do not want to be reached via phone, mobile, text message, email, IM, twitter, or any other means of communication.  I’m not a loner… just need some time away from digital communication.

Darren's Picture I think there should be (correct me if it already exists!) a personal answering service that is a ‘tech layer’ between you and your communication devices that filter all communication coming in – and maybe even going out.

The tech layer/filter allows communication based on rules setup by each individual user.  Rules can include hours of availability [to let calls thru], phone number routing, key people, etc.

I’d find this very helpful and would pay a monthly fee for it… or, should my email/voice/text/etc providers make this free of charge with the service I’m currently paying for?

Would you like this?

Who Said Moving Was Easy?

As some of you may know, I am currently moving my primary residence out of the Upper East Side and over to Westchester County and the move has officially started.  The actual day of the move is tomorrow but we’re packing, packaging, taping, bubble wrapping, breaking, laughing, and getting ready for the big day.   Lets just say some things haven’t gone as smoothly as I would have liked, but all in all, we’re in good shape.

With that said, I will not be posting until late Sunday night (earliest) or into next week.  I wanted to list a bunch of links that I find really interesting on the web and maybe one or two will educate or entertain you.

Signing off for the weekend….

WineTable #2 – Virtual Worlds Recap

Virtual WorldI’m happy to announce that WineTable #2 was successfully pulled-off in the East Village and we had a great conversation surrounding the Virtual Worlds.  Just like last time, I digitally recorded the event and will make it available within the next two or so weeks to anyone who wants to listen.  Topics that we touched upon ranged from the technology underlying virtual worlds to avatars to advertising (and much more).

In attendance were folks from MTV, JWT, Columbia, Rho Ventures, DigiElement, and more.  It seemed to really focus on virtual worlds in general and how the definition is always being stretched in a few directions.  After all, isn’t World of Warcraft a virtual world?

I brought Webkinz and Club Penguin to counterbalance all of the chatter surrounding Second Life.   These are virtual worlds that are surging among the pre-teen market and my soon-to-be-nieces surely have jumped on that bandwaggon.

While we all acknowledged that brands are jumping into Second Life, we all agreed that brands must work their way into the virtual world only if they add value and if it is done with active promotion.  It’s not enough to have “if we build it, they will come” scenarios.

The next WineTable (May 23, 2007) is for founders of startups here in NYC.  If you’re a founder (or deal with founders- venture capitalists, analysts, lawyers, accountants, etc) of a company and want to get together with 7 other likeminded individuals to talk about the trials and tribulations of incubating here in NYC, be sure to sign up.  The WineTable in June 2007 is all about the Music Industry and how it’s changing.  That should be fascinating as well…..

Would love to hear any feedback from the event… thanks to David, Aleks, Doug, Rachel, Shehzad, and Jeff for joining and making this event very special!  Also, to Cheni and Joe for providing the amazing space! 

Time is Money…

Back on March 26, I posted about needing respondants for a survey I had put online.  We have gotten quite a few respondants but want more for statistical relevance.  It’s simple and takes less than 2 minutes, so feel free to fill it out… I really appreciate it.  I’ll be releasing the data in the coming weeks and it’s already fascinating.  The data is being used for…

Confirm Today LogoConfirm Today in its alpha stage shows you [as a business professional] how much money you lose for each botched meeting you setup.  Time is money right?  As a sales professional, venture capitalist, lawyer, doctor, accountant, media planner, etc, you’ve accidently missed meetings or were on the other side of the table, where the person you were meeting with never showed up.  Not only is it frustrating but it adds up dollars and cents over time… and is costly.

Take a peak at the alpha website and fill out the analysis… calculate what a missed meeting costs you and where your industry falls on the scale.  Note:  this is all done anonymously and we do not collect any personally identifiable information.

What is the future of Confirm Today?  Hang tight :)

Same Book, New [Inspirational] Chapter

I do not know what chapter I’m on in my life, but it’s probably safe to assume that a new one will begin tomorrow (Friday). I can only hope that the book is an epic, with many more chapters to come, but as we close out this section, it’s been nothing short of amazing.

I’ve broken my life down into two parts: school and post-school. Though I’m only a few years post-school, I have had a heck of a rollercoaster ride and learned quite a bit. During my school years, I was fortunate to meet an amazing group of guys and spent a lot of time with them growing up… essentially, I had 10 brothers that I played sport (hockey, tennis, etc) and got in trouble with (corn, sombrero, tequila). While in school, I also launched my first venture and got a taste of the business world.

I was never an A+ student in school; heck, the only classes I had with my best friends were study hall and lunch… they were all in high honors (even though they didn’t study!) and I was right below them (and I did study!). I guess the business world came to me early because my grades certainly weren’t going to get me far. If I was going to make it in this world, I thought, I must make it happen myself.

So I did…and boy did I learn fast. There were nights that I would go sleepless, days that I’d be on top of the world, and I experienced business the hard way… the only way… and learned a lot.

Post-college, I jumped directly into the business world by co-founding what is today, IGA Worldwide. While working with a world class team to build out our organization, I’ve learned a lot both personally and in business context. Whilst my days are filled with in-game advertising, I’ve spent many a night with different startups and projects around Manhattan. The early stage entrepreneurial atmosphere is thriving (contrary to what some may think) and I’ve met some incredible people who have amazing ideas, unbelievable drive, and a passion to get things accomplished.

My personal life has changed a lot in the past year as well. A trip to Las Vegas has resulted with my now fiancé Sherri, who some of you have been fortunate to meet. Needless to say, I’m ecstatic about her and the life lessons we’re embarking on everyday we wake up.

Officially, my new chapter starts tomorrow when Sherri and I receive the keys to our new home in Westchester County…. after 4 ½ months of searching and lawyer negotiating. For those of you who aren’t native New Yorkers, it’s about 22 miles north of Manhattan in the ‘burbs (suburbs).

My whole life has revolved around inspiration. To me, I derive inspiration wherever I am at that particular moment… can be from the colors in the forest I’m staring at, the baby in the stroller being pushed down 3rd Ave, the beautiful clothing on a nicely dressed woman, watching Ari say something ridiculous on Entourage, etc.

Tomorrow, a whole new chapter of inspiration will begin and I have no idea where it’s going to lead me. I started my first business while I lived in Westchester County (before I moved out of my folks home) and now I’m back, a few towns over and a few businesses later.

With only the two of us sharing our new home, it is probably going to echo from one room to another. We have earmarked a room on the top floor as our office, but most likely to be called, the Inspiration Room. Sherri and I have decided that this room will be different from all other rooms in the house (color, look/feel) and will be our think-tank, war room, idea furnace, laboratory, etc.

I am excited as ever to get this room finished and organized. After April 27 (our official move-day), most of the blog postings you will be reading will be written from this room… and who knows what the new chapter in my life will bring to this blog.

With the move and the wedding, it’s certainly a busy time in my life… I’ve also managed to release projects such as the not-for-profit darrenSalon and the upcoming entrepreneurial office space endeavor… and a few more in the pipeline.

The last 25 years have inspired me to inspire others, ignite businesses, friendships, and passion. The new [inspirational] chapter begins tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it…

NYC Entrepreneurial Space – It's Coming…

Wow, talk about an overwhelming response. Everyone from Om Malik to Rags Gupta to Cafe Bricolage picked up on my blog posting about new entrepreneurial space here in Manhattan and there has been incredible interest from folks who want to reserve their space early (to garauntee themselves a spot) to people who want to help fund/promote/collaborate on the project. Needless to say, if you contacted me within the last 24 hours and I haven’t gotten back to you yet, hang tight, as I’m still going through my email and trying to get back to everyone. Tomorrow evening is when I’ll be doing most of the reach-out.

Yesterday, upon my update of the original posting, I alluded to a FAQ that would be launched regarding this endeavor. I am going to postpone that FAQ until this coming week as I’m going to have a few more details hashed out. However, of the details I can release now, here they are:

  1. The space is not named yet, but I’ve got a working name that is in use
  2. There is a chance that there will be multiple locations across Manhattan and Brooklyn
  3. There will be a membership fee and a screening process
  4. We are open to companies in the technology and digital media space
  5. There will be a monthly lecture series that may tie into darrenSalon or other conversations
  6. Members of this program will be getting more than space, but will be getting an entire support network (more to come)
  7. This will be an extremely flexible program and even if you have office space elsewhere, this may be beneficial to you
  8. The price isn’t going to be rock bottom cheap, nor, expensive – it will be fair and for early stage entrepreneurs
  9. More to come… stay tuned this week

I am so excited to see the entrepreneurial scene thriving here in Manhattan… it is certainly here, lets harness it and collaborate with each other for the future.

An Entrepreneurs Dream – NYC

I love NYI have been trying to figure out what is needed within New York City to accommodate early stage entrepreneurs/companies. When talking to early stage folks, they lack a place to work with a creative atmosphere. Most of the time, we work out of our homes and do not have the tools at our disposal to really harness early stage creation such as white boards, break-out space, etc. In NYC, space is at a premium, so tiny studios, 1 bedrooms, or the corner office at our accountant/lawyer suffices.

I am in the process of securing space here in Manhattan for entrepreneurs/early stage companies who want a communal atmosphere that fosters creativity and execution. The space will be equipped with cubicles, couches, white boards, desks, etc – all in an open formation, that a participating ‘member’ would have access to, 24/7. Internet access would be included as well thru a private WIFI network. The space is meant for collaboration and work, not really a cafe/hang-out space. Everyone participating would be working on a project (or in a team that is working on a single project) and could ideally help each other out in different capacities (marketing, technology, operations, hr, etc). Ideally, an ecosystem would evolve within this space.

To keep membership within this ecosystem, a nominal monthly fee would be charged of $200-250/pp. To cancel, you would have to give 30 days notice. The price would cover the space and all the amenities and would weed out the less serious folks. We would allow 25-30 people as members at any given time and would create a directory of members to everyone can learn about each other for networking possibilities. Each month, we would host a different workshop such as business plan writing, raising capital, marketing, technology roadmaping, etc – and would bring in outside speakers to the group. It would be free for members of this ecosystem, but would cost a nominal fee for outsiders.

The space is located in the financial district (easily accessible via Subway) and is meant for technology/marketing/digital media/publishing companies.

If you are interested in helping me launch this OR signing up yourself or your company, please contact me. I am looking to launch this space in June 2007 but need at least 20 people to sign up. I figure I can do this with 5 companies of 4 people, or 20 single person companies. I look forward to hearing from you!

Feel free to promote this post as I’d like this to reach as many entrepreneurs in NYC as possible.

*** Update 2:15pm EST ***

There has been overwhelming demand for this and I’m stoked. Lots of questions have been raised and I’m going to take a stab at creating a FAQ portion of this project. Stay tuned as I’ll be posting this later today or early tomorrow morning.

For those nextNY members out there who know Nate’s fantastic Cafe Bricolage concept, this is not competitive, but rather complimentary. Nate wrote a great post about this at his new site, and we are trying to find synergies between us. Over at Y Combinator, there is a great conversation going on about this regarding the NY scene. Any NY’ers want to chime in?