Finding The Culture & Code In Cities

How The Authenticated Bridges Cities and Innovators in 36 Hours

(2016, In Stockholm with Usher, Quincy Jones III)

There is something really magical about cities. They speak to me in a special love language. I fall in love with them like a passionate lover. I always have and always will. Rio was my first lover, she captivated me with her energy and sounds and Feijoada. Tel Aviv happened next, i remember it well, riding a bike through the streets and hearing the matkot (paddle ball) on the beach. Then there was Dubai, a magical place not because she is ostentatious and over the top but because her dreams are  out of this world and she believes she can do anything. 

I believe that cities are “characters in a script” for those of us building brands and designing culturally fueled businesses. For marketers it presents an opportunity to meet your customers, get to know them, understand them. How are you building a health and wellness food brand in Marina Del Rey but don’t know what’s happening in Decatur, GA? Why would you launch an artist in Atlanta without any thought of how to break that act in the "No-Go Zones" of Rinkeby, Sweden. 

Because of that The Authenticated is not just a mobile app, WhatsApp or Slack group and we don’t just do panels and parties, we truly believe that true transformation and change happens through shared experiences.

Hip Hop Promo Tours Be Like...

For me cities are an inspirational canvas of culture. I get inspired by the people that I meet on the journey. From the emerging entrepreneur to the barber to the gal pouring me a drink at the bar. My life has afforded me the luxury of getting to know many beautiful humans that I collect and store in my favorite cities. This has created a 25 year people network cultivated since my early days in the music business. "Pre-Social Media" 1995 music business meant you had to “index and graph” cities to make sure you had what you needed. I couldn’t roll into a city and not know where to find things for my artists so thus I became very resourceful with relationships. One of my artists loves marijuana so you better be able to find it. Another artist has a sneaker and shopping habit, so I know the best stores. All my artists loved pretty girls and pretty boys so finding them became another superpower. This of course made much easier the more famous we became!

(2012, Tel Aviv with Arturo Nunez, Ben Nemtin, Jack Mitrani)

From Eden to Zion

In 2012 I helped design an experience that took innovators and disrupters on a journey through Israel through a benevolent billionaire family office called Schusterman. Reality Israel was an opportunity for 40 Jews and non Jews to see Israel through the people, the food, and the entrepreneurs.  We traveled through the entire country as a unit and were inspired, motivated, and in many cases challenged by the complexity and majesty of Israel. Being a part of the foundational Eden to Zion “experience design” team I spent a lot of time recruiting participants and thinking through their journey pre, during and post trip. Not only what would the people on the trip experience but how would they process Israel in community online and offline after. This resulted in taking people who had this transformative experience into post experiences (Shabbat Dinners, etc) in satellite cities but also meant gathering them in Whatsapp as a cohort. This inspired me and how I started The Authenticated through 50 people on a Whatsapp community 3 years ago. 

"Culture And Code" Season 1

In 2016 inspired by all of the work I had done in designing city experiences, I launched “Culture & Code, a tour meant to unpack the intersection of creativity, capital and community. Season 1 took us to AtlantaDetroit, Miami and DC. We learned a ton about cities we thought we knew but really got to know through “Third Door Access.” Using 36 hours we brought together our network in cities as an opportunity to meet entrepreneurs, connect with investors, taste, smell and listen to the heartbeat of the city and walk away speaking their “patois” and unique language.

Basic format for Culture & Code: Season 1

  • Dinner for 40-60 people where learn about the people

  • Gather 25-35 women for breakfast because if you want to know more about a city, get to know her through the feminine energy 

  • An experience somewhere in the city where we meet with junior high and high school students in the hood. This is where I find the future through hidden gems 

  • A final gathering that puts us face to face with entrepreneurs, creatives and hustlers who ask all the right questions and we give away the “code” through a salon like conversation 

What Happened After

  • In Atlanta, a city that will always be home for me we saw the making of a then new conference called A3C. 

  • In Miami we learned a ton about an emerging creative and tech market driven by new spaces and places beyond South Beach

  • In Detroit we discovered a city on the rise and an energy so contagious it had me saying “what up doe” a thousand times still. At dinner in Detroit we also discovered a young entrepreneur named Delane Parnell who at 24 stole the show at a dinner Q&A and through a little bit of cheerleading on our behalf ends up meeting his first investor Peter Pham and Science and today has raised a ton of money 

Introducing 2020 Authenticated 36 (A36)

We are launching Season 2 of our city tour and this one is called Authenticated 36 (or A36 for short). You give me 36 hours in a city and I will unpack the people, ideas, businesses and cultural movement driving the cities. You will leave deeply connected to my community, better connected in cities you think you know and hopefully not just take away “deals” but a better understanding of culture and how it drives and impacts your business and inspires your passions. 

The first A36 will be a preview for our members on March 13-14 in Los Angeles. If you are interested in becoming a member of The Authenticated and want to experience journeys like this with a like-minded community consider becoming a member. Email if you are interested in more information.

The 2020 A36 Roadmap

  • Detroit

  • Philadelphia 

  • Miami

  • Oakland 

  • Miami

  • Dubai / Abu Dhabi