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X-Ray Vision – The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same – Michael Kassan

Michael Kassan

Having dinner with my good friend, Dr. Irwin Grossman, a noted radiologist in Los Angeles, he shared a historical anecdote that got me thinking…

If you want to know how to succeed in 2014, you could learn a lot from 1859.

The year 1859 was a very good year for innovation. In the arts, Charles Dickens published “A Tale of Two Cities.” In the sciences, Charles Darwin published “On the Origin of Species.”

What could the 19th century possibly teach marketers in the 21st?

A critical lesson: for all that appears to have changed in the past few years, the foundations of success remain consistent.

Today in media and marketing, just like Dickens wrote more than 150 years ago, it is the best of times; it is the worst of times. And, just as Darwin taught us in 1859, only the adaptable survive.

We forget – at our peril – that there are truths that endure, no matter how transformed the landscape may be.

Managing constant change does not mean chasing the latest trend. That is not adaptability – it’s the business equivalent of a schoolboy crush (not that there is anything wrong with a schoolboy crush). In fact, the three most dangerous words in any industry today just may be “shiny new thing.”

On the other hand, today’s landscape provides executives the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership in two ways:

  • Balance art and science to drive results
  • Provide flexibility with efficiency

These imperatives are two of the reasons why the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) – a celebration of what is new – has evolved to become a critical gathering for everyone across media, marketing, entertainment, finance, and technology.

As many readers know, MediaLink partnered with Consumer Electronics Association (the organizers of CES) to create Brand Matters, an official programming track focused on how the media and marketing industry engage with hardware and software innovations.

In building this year’s track, we created sessions that featured the opportunities which rapid technological evolution provides:

“Balancing art and science to drive results”

In The Brand Matters Super Session this year, we explore the concept of “technology as muse”. I’ll be doing 1:1 interviews with both Unilever’s Keith Weed and Russell Simmons. As well, Wenda Harris Millard will moderate a panel of industry visionaries discussing how technology empowers the development of ideas into action.

“Smoothly executive flexibility with efficiency”

In the Brand Matters Keynote, I will moderate an intimate conversation with Maurice Levy and Dick Costolo on the two biggest news stories of 2013: the Publicis-Omnicom merger and the Twitter IPO. This will be followed by an all-star panel featuring Facebook’s Carolyn Everson, Ford’s Jim Farley, MillerCoors’ Andy England, and’s Scott Dorsey discussing the themes that surround these stories including the impacts of consolidation, Big Data, and the synthesis of computation and communication.

Even in a whirlwind of an ecosystem, there’s room for deliberation and careful consideration of how the new can work with the old to create a balance between art and science, flexibility and efficiency.

Thank you to Irwin Grossman, my friend and radiologist, for your “X-Ray Vision” which demonstrates that what was true in 1859, is true today, and will likely be true in 2059 as well.

For more information:

To sign up for Brand Matters go to Use code: BML for free registration.
Technology as Muse – Inspiring Innovation

Throughout history, muses have inspired artists to create their greatest works: Dora Maar to Picasso, Zelda to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Yoko to John. Could technology be marketing’s muse? In the Brand Matters Super Session, MediaLink will bring visionaries from the worlds of entertainment, education, publishing and advertising to discuss how technology pushes them to test the boundaries of their creativity.

When: Tuesday, January 7th
Timing: 9:45 AM – 11:00 AM
Where: LVCV (Las Vegas Convention Center)
Open to registered CES participants

All for One; and One for All

Explore the two hottest business stories of 2013 and the themes that surround them: Consolidation, Data, and the Interplay of Computation and Communication.

I’ll host an intimate interview with Maurice Levy (Chairman and Co-CEO of Publicis Omnicom Group) and Dick Costolo (CEO of Twitter) followed by a panel featuring Andy England (CMO, MillerCoors), Jim Farley (CMO, Ford), Scott Dorsey (, and Carolyn Everson (Facebook)

When: Wednesday, January 8th
Timing: 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM
Where: LVH. LVH Theater
Open to registered CES participants

Original Article.