An optimistic, social 3-year-old in 1960s Grand Rapids
Hardships are the best teachers
I grew up well below the poverty line in 1960s/70s Michigan, my siblings and I raised by a single Japanese immigrant mom who worked her butt off six days a week in a beauty salon. Somehow, through long hours on her feet and constant self-sacrifice, she put food on the table and miraculously also put us through college, music lessons and extra-curricular activities. Stunningly, she did all that charging $5 a haircut. From my mom, I learned self-reliance: to work hard and play fairly. To seek out the facts, the science, and the truth for myself. To ignore the haters. And above all — to be grateful for what I have.
I grew up listening to my dad’s parents telling me stories of our ancestors: the heritage of Scottish clan chieftains, the hard work of Swiss farmers, and the bravery of the Mayflower Pilgrims. I sat fascinated by stories about my ancestors, their ideals and their challenges. From my grandparents, I learned the importance of the social compact. That we always helped the less privileged. That action always beats talk. That racism and sexism were absolutely unwelcome. And that the best education was to see the world as much of the world as possible.
I’m not always successful, and I still have a lot to learn — nevertheless I believe in these ideals and try to live up to them every single day.
Privilege means an obligation to give back
My career has been one of exploration. I started writing code for a produce trucking company, and I ended up designing software for General Motors, Ford, and GTE. In 1990, bored with straight-up code, I leveraged my creative side and jumped into digital marketing — before anyone called it that. Throughout the 90s and 2000s, my teams and I launched the first websites, webcasts, content management systems, and social media efforts for the Fortune 500. And I had the chance to present to Mattel’s Jill Barad, Ford’s Jac Nasser, and GE’s Jack Welch.
Those innocent days of the 80s and 90s are gone and the stakes for us as a society have never been higher. Misinformation, social inequities, and terrible behaviors are rampant, and I can no longer stand back and do nothing without doing something to help.
These days my focus is on the food industry. My goal: to use my knowledge of IoT technologies, blockchain and predictive AI to reduce the criminal amount of food waste that occurs worldwide, and to help reduce the ethical and commercial inequities between mammoth mega-corporations like the ones I used to work for, and the small farmers, packers and producers just trying to survive the 2020s.
If you have shared values, I’d love to connect with you on LinkedIn. Find me here.
As a client who worked closely with Eric for more than a year, I would entrust him with any large Marketing project – not just Social. Eric is one of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with – an absolute leader in the digital space, a true expert in Social and an all-around great guy. From the beginning of our engagement, he was a partner in the truest sense – engrossing himself in our business and ultimately becoming more knowledgeable about the inner workings of our organization than many of us were. He is more than capable of developing complex strategies but doesn’t shy away from then determining the necessary tactical pieces to execute it. The work that he did pushed us further into the forefront in Social and I can’t begin to express the disappointment we all felt when he left for a new opportunity. I look forward to the day that we get to work together again and will remain envious of all his other clients until then.