Entries by Mark Smith

Graduation and Innovation

Last week, my daughter graduated from Cincinnati Country Day High Schooland began a new chapter.  Which means I’m beginning a new chapter as well, becoming the father of a college student. As the Chief Creative Officer (and Chief Storyteller) at Upstream 360, I feel like I’m prepared, because embracing change and being nimble and agile enough to […]


Most digital venues are walking around with their heads down these days.  And for good reason. Make that plural. Reasons. Offensive videos, inaccurate measures of audience, less-than-transparent standards around the use of influencers, bots, and social-media accounts, to name a few. P&G’s Chief Brand Officer made headlines recently for urging advertisers to demand better quality of content and […]


When it comes to things people fear most, surveys continue to show “fear of public speaking” at the top of the list.  Incredibly, our fear of standing up in front of a group and talking is so great, that (in surveys at least), we fear it even more than death! Does that mean if you go […]


Confession time. This past week-end, I watched Glengarry Glen Ross (the 1992 film adaptation of David Mamet’s devastatingly scorching Pulitzer prize winning play), for the 20th time. Known mostly today for Alec Baldwin’s classic “coffee is for closers” speech, there is so much more to it. I’ve long admired the astonishing logic and cadence to […]

Promises. Promises.

Welcome to February, and the cooling ashes of New Years Resolutions that often go along with it. I recently overheard someone say “Why set a goal for yourself when you can make a promise, instead?” This is kind of a kissin’-cousin to the old bromide: “Goals are particulars, but promises are proclamations.” When you consider […]

The Resolution Will Not Be Televised.

I begin the year with an apology. Gil Scott-Heron famously wrote in a 1970 poem that the revolution will not be televised, and here I am shamelessly paraphrasing him to make a point about resolutions. Did anyone really think I could go 365 days without making a pun? But Scott-Heron also wrote about looking for […]

Hearing Is Believing

Turn back now before it’s too late. Don’t read another word. If you prefer uninterrupted thought, the ability to maintain coherent conversations while preserving your sanity, trust me, go no further. Otherwise, suffer the fate of the dreaded earworm . . . meticulously wending its way, inexorably deeper and deeper into your brain. Wait. Halloween’s […]

Playwright. Work Righter.

If you’re like me, you spend late nights browsing through quotes from German Playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Show of hands? Perhaps this will persuade you to at least give it a try. Von Goethe once famously said: “There is nothing so terrible as activity without insight.” Some things true in the early 19th Century […]

This Blog Entry Will Make You Cry

I was sitting down to write this blog and you won’t believe what happened next.  Put simply, this is why you shouldn’t try to outrun a bear. Okay, I’ll spare you the years of anticipation and hope, and tell you what really happens after you die. But first, the real point of this post . […]

The Joy of Six

One of the biggest priorities for advertisers and ad-makers alike, is figuring out the best way for a brand to reach a consumer, while capturing the right kind of attention. It probably took you about six seconds to read that first sentence, and therein lies the tale. Cue the 20th Century Fox pre-movie fanfare music!  […]