Category Archives: Darren Herman

Automotive Business Opportunity – Two Season Leases

Calling all entrepreneurs and car companies…   Curious to hear what you think about this potential business idea.

Today, there are three ways to have a car:

  1. Rent (think Hertz, Avis, Thrifty, etc)
  2. Lease
  3. Buy (includes finance)

Lets focus on #2, lease as that’s generally what I do with my cars.  When you lease a car, you lease it for a defined time period (24, 36, 39, 48+ months) and then return it back to the dealer on the due date.  Fairly simple and straightforward.

What I’d like to propose is a “dealer” lease where you can lease multiple cars from a dealer but only have one (or more) out at any time.  Lets use Mercedes for example and to illustrate my point.  In the winter, I’d love to have an AWD GLK350, which is ideal for the snowy conditions of Vermont and NY.   However, in the summer, I’d love to be able to trade in my GLK350 and swap into a CLK350 convertible or similar.

Essentially pay (for example) $700/mo “lease” for 36 months and be able to change my car once or twice a year to a pre (or not) defined car/truck.

This is a headache for dealer logistics but with enough demand for both season autos, this could be really interesting and net dealers additional dollars.

This lease program isn’t for everyone as I’m sure a premium would be necessary to support this – but I think this would be interesting, no?

SXSWi 2010

I’m heading down to SXSWi on Thursday and am excited to go.  It seems as though most of the NYC entrepreneurial scene will be down there so it’ll be the same faces in a different setting (way better BBQ, sorry @lazerow re: Hill Country).

I created my initial schedule and have made it public – so if anyone has any comments of insights, I’d love to hear them.

I’m trying to do less “entrepreneurial” sessions and more about marketing, culture, advertising, media, and technology.  For me and my stage in life right now, these are much more relevant.  I’m also not speaking at the conference this year, so it’ll be nice to be a regular attendee and blend in with the crowd.

If you are down there and want to say hi – leave a comment on this blog or ping me on twitter (@dherman76).

Will probably post from Austin- see you down there.

… working on a new chapter in this epic

Announced in an article by Brian Morrissey, entitled “Herman Leads Digital at KBS+P” a new chapter in my life has been started.  KBS+P is going through an evolutionary period and I’m excited to be joining some new faces and old friends to help lead the agency in it’s next phase.

My belief is that if you are going to create a sustaining communications experience in 2010+, you are going to require a digital backbone.  I’m not saying that everything has to be digital, but there will be at least some digital involvement and I’m looking forward to help educate internally, externally, and involve myself on many of kbs+p’s client businesses.  If you believe that television, print, radio, OOH are going to become digital in one way or another, which many have already become, then overseeing digital media is a dream job for someone who is a both a big thinker and geek at heart.

I learned at a young age that it takes a village to raise a child and I’m fortunate to not only have my immediate family close to my side, but also an extended family that I’ve met over the past 12 years in business that have all sent me messages through Twitter this morning: @jstylman, @jonsteinberg, @zachrodgers, @donalderyan, @adventurista, @adambain, @thatcherbell, @msg, @dandotlewis, @greenermags, @exchangewire, @johnbattelle, @scottrcrawford, @wmargiloff, @arijacoby, @natsturner, @pubmatic, @anwaraizer, @jonburg, @whitneyhess, @afloam, @davidhonig, @zachcoelius, @seph250, @lmai, @kevinvanlenten, @phineasb, @aaroncoles, @cliqology, @tylerathi5, @guybendov, @rafatali, @zimbalist, @1digitalworld, @vstesin, @chrismasters1, @jlkelly, @yuliz, @fndrsroundtable, @adstruc, @falicon, @davidhelmreich, @pamelaparker, @ericfranchi, @saarpa, @mikeduda, @daveknox, @stbullard, @eporres, @conradlisco, @chrisfralic, @malbonnington, @jonathanmendez, @caro, @clouvi, and of course, @jstnprnll, @sparkle201.

…and the above was just on twitter in a 5 hour period!

The next chapter is going to be filled with topics that I cannot even predict today and am looking towards being inspired from each and every one of you.

Do not ever hesitate to reach out.

To the future,

Some Brief Updates – Jobs, Events, Thoughts, and My Son

AdClub / ContextWeb Event

I’m heading to the AdClub/ContextWeb event tomorrow at the NY Times building.  Should be a great event but not sure why they are only highlighting IPG, WPP, Omnicom, and Publicis.  MDC Partners (our holding company) and Havas are also doing some really interesting things in the Agency Demand Platforms space and are not participating.  We will be in the audience though and I’ll probably be taking some notes and tweeting (@dherman76).


With many people talking about Posterous, I thought I’d give it a try.  Check out  I haven’t figured out where this fits in my thought stream, but I do like how easy it is to use.  I still have my Tumblr page which I used frequently for about six months, but have not updated it in a while.

Varick Media Management

We’re currently hiring at Varick Media Management.  For those who are interested in learning more about what we do, reference the NY Times article that came out about a month ago.

  • New Business Director – looking for someone mid-level to senior-level who wants to take the reigns on new business and own the revenue targets.  Looking for someone with experience with ad networks and exchanges, but not sell against an ad network model.  We’ve learned that this is a consultative sale with some ad operations knowledge a major plus.
  • Platform Manager – we are currently in the process of specing out our platform and are looking for someone who wants to strategically and tactically contribute.  Involves working with over a dozen data partners, multiple optimization organizations and design/development shops to build out our vision.

My Man – David Matthew Herman (8 Months)

David and Darren

Secondary Markets (e.g. purchase shares of private companies)

I’m personally fascinated with secondary markets but do not know much about them.  I’ve been playing around with SharesPost for the past few hours but would love to dive deep into it and other platforms like it.   If you know this space well or are building out interesting platforms, feel free to reach out.

Want National Promotion?

I’m being shot for an upcoming newspaper article (probably will be digitized as well) and am offering ANY designer the ability to send me a blazer (preferably navy blue, but will consider many options) and I’ll wear it in the photos.   Designers blazer will get national exposure in the top newspaper by appearing in the photograph.

Please contact me ASAP as I need it in my hands by 1:30pm today.  Will need two sizes to try:  40/42.  I’m located in Soho, NY – so that makes it easy to messenger down.

April Speaking Engagements

I have just returned from speaking at the OMMA Global conference with friends & industry luminaries John Battelle, Jason Calacanis, and Paul Kedrosky which was all about the intersection of advertising with technology.  If you missed the talk, Max Kalehoff, our panel moderator (and VP of Marketing @ Clickable) penned a nice piece in MediaPost.

I haven’t been out speaking much (nor updating this blog as often) as things have been extremely hectic back in the NYC office and with the birth of my son (now almost 5 months old!).  I was supposed to be speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo in SF this coming week but had a client conflict come up and had to back out at the last possible second which I absolutely hate doing because it hinders the flow of the conference.  Apologies again to both the conference organizers and all who I was supposed to meet with.

Currently, the following speaking engagements are on my schedule for April 2009:

  • Bootstrapper Summit, billed as “the most intimate venture capital conference.”  I’ll be talking on Wednesday, April 1 at 9:30AM on a panel with some friends about investing and executing in digital media.   If you would like to attend, I have 1 FREE pass to give away.  Please contact me thru this form and the first who reaches out will get the pass.
  • NYC Entrepreneurship Week.  I’ll be speaking on April 21 at 5:00PM on an evening panel about media.   Some of the topics include emerging trends in media and the current and future media landscape.

Looking forward to speaking at these events.

Digital Ramblings: LONG Post Warning

As I write this, I’m sitting in a Starbucks on 24th and 6th Ave and have been trying to collect my digital media thoughts over the past few weeks.  Apologies up front as they are eclectic.

•    Techmeme needs to launch an iPhone app as this would be my news source, displacing NY Times and WSJ.  I’d gladly pay for this.

•    I downloaded and played Zynga Poker on my iPhone 3G this weekend and loved it.  BTW, I am more of a fan of blackjack than Poker but the thought of social gaming was fantastic.  Nicely executed, Zynga.

•    The more screens there are in our society, the more they need to be cleaned.  I’ve spoken at length about starting an iPhone wipes company, but haven’t been able to get a supply source with enough margin to make it worthwhile.  My iPhone is filthy and I’m sure yours is too.  How do you clean yours?

•    I used to run the darrenSalon’s – they have been dead for the past year or so.  I’m thinking of doing a day up at a remote location about an hour north of the city.  We would focus on a specific topic – would this be of interest?

•    The way we learn and play instruments are changing.  Nintendo Wii is going to revolutionize the music space.  Yes, Rockband exists on Xbox 360 and PS3, but kids start with Wii prior to graduating to the more “intense” systems.  I’m curious to see how this is going to play out.

•    My friend Noelle took a job over at Indaba Music.  Congrats Noelle!

•    Boxee is really interesting for many reasons, but the first of which is getting digital content onto my living room TV.  I can watch everything from Fast Lane Daily to TED Talks, Hulu to Netflix.  Genius.  I want to see Boxee expand to the desktop as well in terms of a content distribution system inside of widgets.  Think PointCast model.  I’d be very interested in talking further about this.

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Thanks on Thanksgiving: Social Graph Style

I decided to be part of the status quo and write a “thanks” post as it’s Thanksgiving.  Other than being extremely thankful for my amazing wife and our newborn son, I’m extremely thankful for my health and all of the opportunities that have crossed my path.

Technology has allowed me to keep in touch with dozens of people I’d not normally speak to on a daily basis.  Because of the connections (both direct and indirect) created, many opportunities have come my way for investment, friendship, consulting, networking, mentorship, and otherwise that I wouldn’t normally have.

The image on the left is a screenshot of my facebook social graph, as produced by the TouchGraph application.  The top 50 relationships I have by Touchgraph’s algorithm’s are listed.  While you can’t really see much in this very small image, I’ve linked to the larger one here.

I’d like to personally thank the following people for pushing my intellectual curiosity further this year (2008) and for providing some sort of opportunity (that’s probably too confidential to post).  If you haven’t met these folks before, you probably want to get on their radar screen:

Charlie O’Donnell, Andrew Sispoidis, Joe Zawadzki, Brian O’Kelley, Nat Turner, Zach Weinberg, Barry Lowenthal, Brandon Berger, Nat Westheimer, Michael Galpert, Howard Lindzon, Roger Ehrenberg, Morty White, Thatcher Bell, Fred Wilson, Chris Fralic, Bijan Sabet, Steve Thibodeau, Jon Bond, Aaron Reitkopf, Erich Wasserman, John Battelle, Omar Tawakol, Satya Patel, Noelle Weaver, Andrew Parker, Brad Burnham, Josh Stylman, Greg Verdino, Joseph Jaffe, and Grant Lyons.

Besides my family and health, the most important thing to me is being intellectually stimulated and my friends above are doing amazing things and I’m thankful for knowing them.  Please note that I did not mean to leave anyone off the list, I may have overlooked a few people!

Inspirational: A New Look and Feel

Every year and a half or so, I’ve released a new look and feel for this blog.  I’m not a web designer (those were my early days) ]so it’s not like I want to show off some new skills that I have just learned.  I release a new theme purely for inspiration and to keep the blog fresh.  For those who want to see what this blog looked like over the past few years, check out’s history.

I hope you enjoy the theme as it was designed by my friend Cristian Neagu of CandesProjects.  For those of you who have talked to or met Cristian, you know he’s one talented designer/developer who can handle many tasks.  I’ve known Cristian for a few years now and even opened my home to him when he came to America to work on an in-depth project with me.  He’s one heck of a guy and his skills are fantastic as well.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the new redesign – and happy early Turkey Day.