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Patricia Martin
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Patricia Martin writes about doing business in a digital culture. She is the author of RenGen: Renaissance Generation--The Rise of the Cultural Consumer and What it Means to Your Business and Tipping the Culture: How Engaging Millennials Will Change Things. She pioneered the point of view that the convergence of art, technology and information is remaking the American consumer. Her work has been featured in Advertising Age, Brandweek, Chicago Tribune, the Harvard Business Review, and the New York Times, as well as ABC News and NPR.

Entries by Patricia Martin

Cowbird: Making the Web Better for Humans

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2014 | 8:48 AM

Three years ago, on the eve of unveiling his storytelling and photo-sharing platform, Cowbird, Jonathan Harris called his investors and gave back their $500K investment. Rather than caving into pressure to maximize profitability at the expense of the user experience, Harris stuck to his vision. He launched Cowbird his way:...

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Six Cultural Trends Being Driven By Technology

(2) Comments | Posted February 7, 2013 | 3:12 PM

Trends come and go. But every now and then a major wave arises that ripples across the culture, and seeps into everything.

This is one such time, and the mega trend is this: the Internet is adapting us, not the other way around. It's our culture's Flux Capacitor,...

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The Future of Libraries in a Digital Culture

(12) Comments | Posted October 11, 2012 | 1:32 PM

During my morning run, I cut through the public library's parking lot. My books are overdue, I remind myself. Like many Americans in the downturn, I've increased my use of the local public library. In 2011, OCLC -- a library consortium -- reported that library usage increased for...

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Civic Marketing Trend: Mayors ARE the Brand

(2) Comments | Posted August 29, 2012 | 10:41 AM

It was the last Saturday evening of the summer. A breeze off the lake cooled the crowd gathered in Millennium Park's Pritzker Pavilion to bid farewell to the summer. A former dancer turned politician, Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced the Chicago Dancing Festival. He radiated pride as he welcomed...

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Cowbird: A New Cultural Force on the Internet

(0) Comments | Posted February 16, 2012 | 3:54 PM

Since 2008, I've been keeping an eye on Jonathan Harris. He's a renaissance man for a new century: artist, computer scientist, visionary. He caught my attention with his mind-blowing show at MOMA -- I Want You To Want Me, done in collaboration with Sep...

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Why Millennials Won't Grow Out of It

(6) Comments | Posted December 27, 2011 | 2:28 PM

On my holiday lunch circuit with clients, I kept hearing a similar refrain from people. They are struggling to manage Millennials right out of college. They appreciate that they're tech-savvy, creative and enthusiastic. But harnessing those qualities in the work place is elusive. As people, they seem so different, I...

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Are Americans Still Eager to Learn?

(4) Comments | Posted December 13, 2011 | 2:31 PM

At a recent leadership conference, academic leaders voiced concerns about the future of education in America. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, their remarks were punctuated by angry protesters who openly confronted the panel of college presidents about the high cost of a college education.

What struck...

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Changing the Culture of Student Debt

(32) Comments | Posted November 18, 2011 | 8:55 AM

Occupy Wall Street may be an amorphous, platform-free movement. But as the protests that began in New York in September have spread across the United States, and the world, one clear issue of concern has emerged: student loan debt.

For over a year, I've been working on a foundation-funded project...

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Is President Obama Using Social Media for the Right Reasons?

(1) Comments | Posted August 4, 2011 | 12:26 PM

President Obama doesn't tweet non-stop. He shouldn't. After all, the leader of free world has the business of the keeping the United States safe and solvent to contend with. But because he was the first presidential candidate to "socialize" an election, pundits wonder what happened to the pre-presidency levels of...

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Portrait of an Arts Entrepreneur: Artisan Businesses Now an Economic Indicator

(2) Comments | Posted May 6, 2011 | 4:42 PM

If you need evidence that the pallid economy is regaining its color, just ask mural artist Doug Coggeshall. Last week, I caught up with Coggeshall for coffee between estimate meetings with clients. After 25 years, he considers his custom mural business serving metro-Chicago's most prominent residents "a canary in a...

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SXSW Update: Al Franken on the Future of Creative Work, Net Neutrality

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2011 | 3:24 PM

It's 9:30AM on a Monday in a hotel ballroom that is filled to the brim with people eager to hear what Al Franken has to say. Last night, Austin was overflowing with parties, so I figure most people dragged themselves here with hangovers. Al Franken is sober. With...

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Cybersexism Meets Its Match: High School Girls Demand Respect

(43) Comments | Posted February 3, 2011 | 2:01 PM

The girls at my local high school are fighting back in outrage over a Social Network-style website that rates girls using sexually explicit and racist remarks. Their counter movement, RESPECT, is making headlines. Because many boys joined in solidarity with the girls, the ruckus says a lot about the future...

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Bill Shakespeare Tops Bill O'Reilly in Popularity

(0) Comments | Posted November 16, 2010 | 3:41 PM

Using statistical tools at its sibling blog, AllFacebook, Galleycat compiled a list of the most popular authors on Facebook.

Authors are arranged according the number of Facebook fans they counted as of this Nov. 11, 2010. Shakespeare's still hot, rocking the #4 slot in most Facebook...

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Education Needs a Communications Overhaul

(0) Comments | Posted June 23, 2010 | 10:24 AM

Some conservatives are saying it's time to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). It's a sign that the public may not understand the Department's role. That's a shame, but understandable. For the last three decades, people in education have been focused on talking to each other. In...

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The Politics of Astrology and the Secret Lives of CEOs

(3) Comments | Posted March 22, 2010 | 11:16 AM


Remember when the Reagans were scalded by the media for consulting an astrologer? It makes me wonder if times have changed. Will the Obamas be consulting their astrological charts any time soon? I put the question to Susan Miller,...

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Why We Love Dogs -- Customer Journey Research

(9) Comments | Posted March 17, 2010 | 1:37 PM


Meet Killi. She's a German Shorthaired Pointer who is gracing our lives while her human family takes a holiday. Her owner brought her by this weekend for a meet and greet. It was love at first sight.

Sadly, my own dog passed away...

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Profiting in the Idea Economy

(3) Comments | Posted March 10, 2010 | 9:59 AM

Last Friday, the deadline closed for entries into the National Endowment for the Arts logo contest. The controversial call-for-entries raised important issues for the creative economy, the biggest question being the value of creative work.

We live in a time of unprecedented creative output. Much of...

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Marketing in Today's Digital Culture

(2) Comments | Posted January 28, 2010 | 10:40 AM

Does someone marketing in today's digital culture need a pricey MBA? Once considered the zenith of accomplishment in business, the relevance of the MBA degree has come under question. Clues as to why the criticism might stick could be found at the recent Kellogg Business School Marketing

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Death Becomes Us: How Culture Is Redefining the Way We Die

(0) Comments | Posted December 8, 2009 | 1:13 PM

The holidays are no time to think about death. But then again, many of us will be re-connecting with extended family during the holidays, and we can't help but notice that our folks are "getting up there" in age. A new report from Northwestern University points out that obituaries...

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Volunteering to Change the World: Top 15 Reasons People Join

(1) Comments | Posted October 28, 2009 | 5:18 PM

In cities across America, it's the season of the "cause." From charity 10K runs to sumptuous galas, volunteers of all sizes and stripes step forward in the fall to do their part. Chicago's no different. In fact, 1.7 million people volunteer in Chicago, contributing an equivalent of $3.6 million...

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