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The Media Mindset on Smash Notes

The Media Mindset podcast.

December 28, 2019

Content isn’t everything; it’s the ONLY thing. In a world where brands, influencers, nonprofits, and politicians are reaching consumers on more platforms than ever, story and voice are more important than ever.

With this next age of social media, the average person consumes and produces massive amounts of content everyday. It’s truly a cross-platform ecosystem, with giant audiences being built (and disengaging) almost overnight.

How will your message stand out in a crowded marketplace? What’s the difference between truly getting noticed and barely registering as a blip?

And what do consumers, readers, and thinkers really want in today’s content environment?

The Media Mindset looks to examine these questions and more as we dive into the heart of content development and growth, particularly online. Whether you’re a business owner looking to build buzz or a content creator upping your game, this is the podcast that brings lessons from the best and brightest in media. Build upon their expertise, knowledge, and even mistakes as they recap what’s working in content today.

Learn from the smartest minds in media as they discuss how businesses, brands, influencers, and media outlets are leveraging content to reach fans better than ever before. Presented by JAKK Media.



Episodes with Smash Notes

We've all heard the cliche: Learning is a lifelong pursuit. But that's traditionally only been true for the few with the time, resources, and connections to turn learning into a hobby. For centuries, continued education was a luxury. The digital age has turned that convention on its head, and Chris' work is at the forefront of that shift.

Our conversation with Chris is one you won't want to miss. Learn how learning itself is evolving, and how the internet will continue changing the fundamental ways we use and absorb information.

Updated on May 26

Kenrick Prince moved to the United States with perhaps the ultimate American dream: Make it in showbiz. And while the road to success is often anything but smooth, the talented director/writer is one of a new wave of creators building a following while sticking to their core principles. For Kenrick, that means telling diverse stories on screen, particularly when it comes to showcasing people of color and characters from the LGBTQ+ community. 

Kenrick's most notable project so far is Gema, a short film that retells the classic "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" trope for a modern age. It was a noteworthy launching point for actress Mj Rodriguez, currently a star in the hit TV series Pose.

Kenrick currently splits time working on projects including commercials, shorts, and independent films in both New York and Los Angeles. In this episode, find out what Kenrick thinks are the biggest hurdles for independent creators in today's media landscape, along with advice for overcoming adversity along the way.

Vishaal Reddy is an actor, writer, singer, and producer passionate about diversity in storytelling. He's the creator and star of "Insomnia," a web series that tackles issues of mental health, sex work, ethnic identity, and sexuality. For his work, Vishaal was awarded a covered spot in the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival Creator N.O.W. creators program. 

Born and raised in Tennessee, Vishaal has been a working actor in New York's stage and screen communities for years, but his experiences exposed him to a lack of diversity in those creative communities. And all too often, that homogeneity was intentional. With "Insomnia" and other projects, Vishaal hopes to present more diverse faces and identities on screen, all wrestling with real-world problems.

In this episode of The Media Mindset, we discuss areas where Vishaal thinks creative communities keep coming up short and why people of color are still at a disadvantage when it comes to representation on screen. We also chat about positive steps to remedy that, along with creators he admires for their efforts. 



When's the last time you dreamed of making your hobby a career? Do you ever fantasize about working with your heroes? What about building a community around the things you love? Josh Perault shows you how to make it happen, whether you're a seasoned gamer or just interested in growing your own creative projects.

A multimedia editor by day, Josh grew up with a passion for tabletop gaming, particularly Dungeons & Dragons. He channeled that passion into the Taking Initiative podcast, which chronicles his gaming group's regular sessions. As the community around his podcast grew, Josh saw an opportunity to bring together more like-minded gamers and creatives, and he now organizes international gaming and podcast meetups with legendary gaming companies like Wizards of the Coast (makers of D&D). 

Josh is also active in New York City's thriving fiction podcast scene. In this episode of The Media Mindset, he gives fantastic lessons on networking — without being cheesy — and talks about how he built authentic relationships to grow his projects over time. 



Old brands, new brands, big brands, small brands: It turns out they're all making a lot of the same mistakes when it comes to producing digital content. Invest heavily in video, or double down on written articles with an actual voice? The choice isn't always so clear, but we found one guest who would know better than just about anyone else.

On this episode of The Media Mindset, VICE Global Director of Strategy and Forbes 30 Under 30 listmaker Kim Patel joins to chat on everything in digital content. Where are brands winning online? How are millennials interacting with today's news cycles? And how can media powerhouses keep readers engaged when we have more options than ever when it comes to where we get our content?

Kim has helped build and spearhead some of VICE's biggest and widest-ranging integrations in decades, and she brings both business savvy and a to-the-point attitude to our conversation. Learn what she thinks media companies are doing well, along with what's TOTALLY missing the mark in serving today's readers and viewers (after all, video is now king!). And find out where Kim thinks brands can win online over the next 5, 10, and even 20 years.

What is the future of food? What will we be eating 10, 20, and 50 years from now? How (and where) will it be grown and produced? And how does public perception of food need to change? These are all questions Johnny Bowman, COO of Brooklyn-based Edenworks, wrestles with each and every day.

At Edenworks, Johnny helps lead teams dedicated to building the future of sustainable, urban farming. Edenworks grows greens and fish in their Brooklyn headquarters, constantly optimizing efficiency and reducing waste so that their model can spread worldwide. In Johnny's eyes, the future of farming and the end of urban food deserts will likely go hand-in-hand as communities are equipped to produce fresher, healthier produce and protein right where they live.

It might sound like a dream job with bumps and bruises along the way, but being a stunt performer is somehow even MORE difficult than it sounds. And Mack Kuhr is one of the best. From big-budget pictures to some of the world's most popular superhero shows, Mack has built a reputation as one of entertainment's go-to stunt performers and actors. While his career started with mostly voice work, Mack's livelihood today is built around balancing art, physicality, and performance in a way we can only describe as "actor/athlete."

What does it mean to be an influencer? How many followers do you need? Are "micro-influencers" real? And how, exactly, should brands work with individuals on social media? (Hint: There are definitely some WRONG ways to do it.) 

If anyone can answer these questions, it's Kamiu Lee, CEO of ACTIVATE (previously known as Bloglovin’). ACTIVATE works with more influencers than almost any other company in the world, connecting them with brands to tell authentic and compelling stories via social media. 

In the last year, they've activated over 75,000 influencers and worked with brands like Burberry and Gucci to take these campaigns to the next level. Kamiu spoke with us on how the company grew from humble beginnings into a vertically integrated organization that employees data scientists and proprietary technology to leverage influence unlike ever before. 

Curious how to leverage influencers for your brand, or just want to know how some of the world's biggest companies are doing it at scale? This is one podcast you won't want to miss!

Paul has been performing since his youth, and his professional resume includes over a decade as a cast member in "The Phantom of the Opera," Broadway's longest-running musical. In the show, Paul performs in a variety of roles, including The Phantom and Raoul, as well as a member of the ensemble.

Artificial Intelligence is one of those buzzy phrases that people like to throw around without digging a level deeper. (We're all guilty of that!) So when you talk to someone on the front lines of AI's development and growth, a whole new world starts to emerge. It's at once exciting, intimidating, and a little confusing to start. Spend enough time grappling with the subjects, though, and you'll find the implications extend to just about every aspect of daily life. Thankfully, this episode of The Media Mindset features Jon Chang, a guest who can guide us through these questions and many more.

Jon Chang is a Global Product Marketer working in IBM Watson's Marketing Division. He's also a futurist, keynote speaker, and Forbes 30 Under 30 list-maker for 2019. His path to the cutting edge of AI marketing — and really, digital marketing in a broader scope — was an unpredictable one. Our conversation includes Jon's learned-from-experience tips for forging a career, relevant for anyone looking to start out on a new path or simply excel along their current trajectory. 

Jon's an expert learner, and his ability to synthesize and use new information left us nearly speechless at a few points — though the way Jon breaks down even the most complex concepts is accessible to an incredible degree. That fearless, knowledge-hungry mindset is crucial for people who, like Jon, are tasked with adapting new technologies for use by all manner of organizations, companies, and individuals. 

This is an episode that appeals to the curious futurist in all of us. Stay ahead of the curve and learn about what's next in tech, marketing, and more by tuning into this episode today!

What is cool? What does it mean to be authentic? In the broad space between those too questions, is there room for brands — and not just individual personalities — to exist? These are almost impossible questions, but if there’s a single person who can give great insight here, it’s Curvel Baptiste.

Equal parts innovative artist and guiding light for culture-forward brands, Curvel has been a stalwart of New York City’s creative and artistic scene for two decades. He’s been witness to countless styles and trends, along with their rise, fall, and reconstitution into the cultural and creative spheres. He’s built a profession — one of several he juggles — out of connecting companies with interest groups in ways that remain authentic to those audiences.

Curvel’s is the sort of insight some of the world’s biggest companies look for but too often fail to find. As a Creative Director and Advisor, he guides strategies for everything from native content marketing to influencer acquisition. In recent months, he’s been exploring the men’s grooming industry through groundbreaking work with Squire Technologies, a company dedicated to making style and grooming for men simple.

Hype beasts. Luxury brands. Prison barbers and documentarians. And those are just a few of the many topics we cover here. Don’t miss a moment of our conversation with Curvel.

Sometimes, the most inspiring professional journeys include more twists and turns than a haunted house. Serena Oppenheim's path has even more than most. While she didn't initially set out to create a new model for health and wellbeing content, the company she founded — Good Zing — is doing just that. And for Serena, her personal story is as crucial to the company's growth as any partnership or strategic hire.

Today, Good Zing is a site with over 200 experts and 2,500 health tips covering more than 180 topics for users who have questions about better living. But once upon a time, it was Serena's passion project, forged out of a desire for more accessible, relatable online wellness content. In this episode of The Media Mindset, we discuss the company's starts, stops, and triumphs, along with some hard-hitting questions about how to establish expertise online (and where online content can still come up short). 

Ever wondered how to build expertise for your brand? Or how to recruit experts to get involved? Spoiler: For Serena, that used to include cold calls and a ton of relationship building. Now, Good Zing is a well-oiled machine with a robust community of experts and contributors to match. Serena gives us her why early on. Then she joins our host on a deep-dive into the how.

Real people, real brands? With more and more companies injecting personality into their media presences, consumer loyalty can change with a single tweet. Will that help or hurt brands doubling down on establishing an online voice? And does it have the potential to go too far?

Natalie Sportelli is a veteran of the digital content space. She got her start at Forbes, covering innovative new companies and contributing to the magazine's annual 30 Under 30 list. She's now Content & Brand Manager at Lerer Hippeau, one of the East Coast's most storied (and prolific) venture capital firms. That dual experience set gives her fantastic insight into the full ecosystem of brands, their PR efforts, and the outlets that cover them.

Learn how to spot brands set up for success in content marketing, along with some warning signs of when those efforts could backfire. All that and more in this episode of The Media Mindset, presented by JAKK Media.

Unicorn valuations. Overnight billionaires. Forbes cover stories. When it comes to covering the world's most successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, that's just the beginning. 

Alex Konrad is one of the world's most accomplished and prolific business writers, but even his journalism career had humble beginnings. We sit down the Forbes Associate Editor to talk about his favorite scoops and most interesting lessons from a decade in journalism. How has the business evolved? How have legacy publications like Forbes stayed relevant? And how will journalism evolve over the coming decades as news cycles shorten?

We also dive deep on Alex's involvement with some of Forbes' most famous content brands, including Forbes 30 Under 30, Cloud 100, and Midas List. 

Scandal, intrigue, and the triumph of good storytelling: In today's rapid content cycle, business and politics share more than ever. And navigating a campaign's message isn't so far from the challenge brands face to differentiate themselves in a crowded market. And no one knows how to bridge politics and business quite like content and marketing pro Ash Prashar. 

Prashar cut his teeth in high-level British politics before making waves as a political consultant and campaign manager in the United States. Over the past decade, he's parlayed that into a thriving career in the private sector, where he now serves as the Senior Director of Global Communications at PR behemoth Publicis Sapient. In this episode of The Media Mindset, learn which politicians — and companies — get Ash's stamp of approval, along with how he thinks storytelling is impacting everything from consumer behavior to the upcoming election cycle. We also touch on his work with Exodus, a nonprofit dedicated to helping the formerly incarcerated in New York City and beyond.