Grant McCracken is a celebrated anthropologist who has studied the relationship between culture and commerce for 25 years. In his latest book, Dark Value, he explores how digital innovators like Netflix and Facebook are discovering (and profiting from) new types of value in their media. Today he reveals this hidden value and explains how it is revolutionizing the digital economy. He also discusses how other media players can get keep from being left behind, as well as some unique insights about how digital programming is transforming the American outlook.

Topics Include…

  • How (and why) we’ve become a society that’s obsessed with pop culture
  • Why television is more nuanced than ever before (and what that means for monetization)
  • Lessons on content from Mark Zuckerberg and Adam Smith
  • Why startup culture is taking over old economic models

Grant McCracken has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and worked for many organizations including Timberland, New York Historical Society, Diageo, IKEA, Sesame Street, Nike, the Ford Foundation and the White House. He is a long time student of culture and commerce, and has taught at the University of Cambridge, MIT, and the Harvard Business School. He also started the Institute of Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum, where he did the first museum exhibit on youth cultures.

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itunes-icon Grant McCracken: Finding Hidden Value In The Digital World

Michael Brooks and Philip McKenzie (co-hosts of 2 Dope Boys & A Podcast) explore branding – and the world at large – within a cultural context. In today’s episode, they talk about how to naturally tap into subcultures that can enhance a brand. They also discuss the soft power of content, explore new ways of cultivating talent, and reveal how emerging brands can harness the power of public backlash to foster a perception of authenticity.

Topics Include…

  • The partnership vs. predator model
  • Why we’re living in a post demographics world
  • Lessons on authenticity from the sneaker culture
  • Why we have to be more comfortable with being uncomfortable

Michael Brooks is a contributing host for the four-time award winning independent political talk show, The Majority Report. He appears regularly as a political and cultural analyst on outlets including Huffpost Live, SirusXM, AlJazeera English, CCTV and France 24. His writing has appeared in Al Monitor, Al Jazeera, the Washington Post, among others, and he has blogged for leading trend watch site PSFK. He is also known for his impressions of cultural figures from Donald Trump to Nelson Mandela.

Philip L. McKenzie is the Global Curator for Influencer Conference, a global content platform that brings together tastemakers in the arts, entrepreneurship, philanthropy and technology to discuss the current and future state of influencer culture. Prior to that he was the Managing Partner of FREE DMC, an influencer marketing agency that specialized in integrated marketing strategy, digital content creation, and experiential events. In his roles with FREE DMC, Philip created strategic experiential campaigns for Jaguar, Sprite, Remy Martin and Belvedere Vodka. He is also a writer, rabid music fan and accomplished DJ.

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Learn more about Philip McKenzie:


itunes-icon Michael Brooks and Philip McKenzie: Why Brands Need To Build Cultural Relationships

Caitlin Burns has produced interactive experiences for some of the biggest companies in the world, including Sony, Disney and UNICEF. Now as the COO of Datavized, she designs data-driven storytelling that packs a real punch. Today Caitlin demonstrates why exploring virtual reality – and all media – within a cultural and human context will define the industry landscape over the next few years. She also reveals how traditional media players can use the transmedia approach to stay relevant and inspire audiences.

Topics Include…

  • Why Web VR is the next big thing
  • How to make complex tech cool (and accessible)
  • Building trust with your audiences
  • Why the future of tech isn’t where you think it is

Caitlin Burns has spent a decade working with narrative intellectual property franchises, independent artists, brands and philanthropic initiatives. Her past work includes: Pirates of the Caribbean, Disney Fairies, Tron Legacy and Disney Descendants for The Walt Disney Company, James Cameron’s Avatar for Fox, Halo for Microsoft, The Happiness Factory for The Coca-Cola Company, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Nickelodeon and Transformers for Hasbro. She has also worked with Sony, Showtime, Pepperidge Farm, Scholastic, Tribeca New Media Fund, FEMSA, Diageo, Wieden+Kennedy, Odd Division, Tool of North America, Hush, Campfire, Reebok, and Stratasys.

Learn more about Caitlin Burns:


itunes-icon Caitlin Burns: Virtual Reality And The Human Connection

Today we talk to Jeremy Redleaf (the Emmy Award-winning co-writer, co-director, co-star and consultant on programs like 3rd St Blackout and Billy on the Street) about how he has built a career by learning how to take advantage of rapid change to create opportunities.

Topics Include…

  • Creative revenue generation
  • The tricky relationship between social media and traditional media
  • The pros and cons of doing it all yourself

Jeremy Redleaf creates award-winning digital, transmedia and immersive products and experiences through his production company Brackets Creative. His was the winner of “Best New Web Series” at the Streamy Awards, “Best Writing” at the International Television Festival and a development deal with Fox Television Studios. As a performer, he plays Gonnigan on Sesame Street, narrates numerous shows for MTV and has appeared across television, commercials and films. His first feature film 3rd Street Blackout recently premiered theatrically and is now available On-Demand and Digitally.

For more information, you can find Jeremy at, IMDb, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Learn more about Jeremy Redleaf:


itunes-icon Jeremy Redleaf: A Multi-Platform Approach to a Creative Career

For more than 20 years digital producer, game designer, and tech entrepreneur Blaine Graboyes has built his award-winning career by being first. From betting on DVD technology during the tail of the VHS era to his most recent bid to bring video games into casinos, the secret to Blaine’s success has always been his uncanny ability to leverage the power of untapped markets. During today’s interview, this master of digital innovation gives us his thoughts on what traditional media players can do to stay in in the game.

Topics include:

  • Overlooked problems facing the world of media
  • Why virtual reality isn’t what you think it is
  • Taking down gaming stereotypes
  • The real way to effectively measure trends
  • eSports and video game gambling

Blaine Graboyes’s expertise spans the business, creative, and technical aspects of launching and successfully operating video games, websites, social and mobile apps, entertainment properties, and fan communities. He has produced over 4,000 digital projects for world-renowned entertainment, business and fine art clients, including DreamWorks, Mattel, Spin Master, Sony Pictures, Disney, Nickelodeon, LeapFrog, DIRECTV, Warner Bros., The Guggenheim Museum, Nam June Paik and Yoko Ono. Blaine is currently the CEO of GameCo, Inc.

Learn more about Blaine Graboyes:


itunes-icon Blaine Graboyes: Why TV Executives Should Study the Gaming Industry

Andrew Hoepfner is the creative mastermind behind Houseworld, one of New York’s most critically acclaimed immersive theater experiences. In today’s episode, he describes what it’s like to float between art forms, and reveals how interactive dream worlds rekindle our human need to play. Andrew also discusses the challenges of working with truly new media, and explains why everyone thrives when given the chance to freely do what we do best.

Topics include:

  • How immersive theater will influence traditional media
  • The art of losing control
  • Where immersive entertainment is heading next

Andrew Hoepfner is an immersive media producer, playwright, and musician based in Brooklyn, NY. He has collaborated on previous works with Young Jean Lee, Cesar Alvarez, and David Byrne.

Learn more about Andrew Hoepfner:


itunes-icon Andrew Hoepfner: The Art of Creating a New Art Form