Issue 82: Fear of Missing Tacos, Rocks, and Mike
From Serial Marketer: "The Cutting Edge of Marketing”

Happy New Year!

Yes, I know it’s mid-January, but this is the column I wanted to write as soon as I returned from vacation last week, but I felt obliged to shelve it and add to the commentary on that little Consumer Electronics Show (CES). You'll find more on CES in the news section below.

When visiting Guatemala and Belize for two-and-a-half weeks over the holidays, I worked little, read much, swam within a few hairs’ lengths of nurse sharks, and ate the best tacos I may ever eat (gracias, Fridas). Below are some recollections that stem largely from the Belize leg of the trip, even if I loved Guatemala just as much (did I mention the tacos?).

Perspectives Set in Stone

In the middle of the western Belizean forests, you may wander into Mike’s Place, a well-rated activity-booking center, restaurant, and lodge hosted by Mike. You can’t miss Mike. His face is plastered on signposts miles around beside roads leading to the eponymous Place, with him looking like Tom Selleck cast as Indiana Jones – a comparison that is all the more ironic given that George Lucas wanted to cast Selleck as Mr. Jones, but Mr. Selleck couldn’t get out of his Magnum P.I. contract.

One last digression: my guide had many colorful things to say about Mike that I cannot print here as my budget does not allow for covering libel suits. I can only say that one of very few regrets from this trip is that I did not get to have a Belikin beer with Mike, as I get the sense that one night of drinks with him could give me two years of newsletter copy. The photo below is honest-to-God, honest-to-Mike the same exact image as you will find all over Barton Creek.

We stopped at Mike’s to rent canoes that we’d travel in to explore the Barton Creek Cave. The cave served as a kind of Mayan cathedral, and it’s easy to see why; if I became a nature worshipper, caves would be a key deity or sacred spot. They are both timeless and ever-changing, and they allow you to see what you want in them. Seeing some formation from one side can be entirely different from how it looks on another. It’s like seeing familiar objects in the clouds, but these are etched in stone.

It reminded me of visiting Sedona, Arizona last April and hearing about the different names for rock formations. Classical names, such as those derived from ancient Egypt, gave way to pop culture names such as 'Snoopy' or 'the Lion King rock.' The 'Batman rock' may be a pyramid if you see it from above and then nothing at all when you look at it sideways. Names for the rock evolve based on the angle and based on the era. Differences in perception play a role, but so does creativity. Somewhere, there’s a kid now telling his guide that some rock looks like Olaf from Frozen, and that guide will tell others, and then that rock will be known as'Olaf' – just from one side – for the next fifty years, when visitors will assume someone named Olaf discovered it.

Community-Induced FOMO

My only note for this part was, “Add section on FOMO,” and I was pretty sure I would have no clue what I was getting at when I tried writing this two weeks later, but it came to me.

At the Black Rock Lodge in San Ignacio, Belize, dinners are served individually but hosted communally. At 7pm, as everyone returns from their tours and hikes (or wakes up from their naps), the staff serves a multi-course dinner in the lodge’s one restaurant and meeting space. Most parties share tables with others, all pre-assigned. Typically, guests stay at the lodge a few days and book some assortment of activities, as there are dozens of options. With the communal dinners, a hot topic is comparing notes on outings. Did you explore a cave? Go for a hike? What about horseback riding? Checking out ruins?

Few guests have any complaints or choose to air them. It is a brilliant way to induce that fear of missing out, thanks to too many options and too little time. That invariably must contribute to their strong rebooking rate. Having spotty, minimal internet access further helps, as it forces more face-to-face conversations.

Also, I do have a separate list of travel recommendations spanning what to do, where to stay, and what to eat in Guatemala and Belize. I haven’t published those (though I have reviewed everything that I could on Google Maps); I’m happy to email that list to you if you’re interested.

The Best Tech

iNaturalist is one of those rare experiences that feels like magic. Take a photo of flora or fauna, and it will tell you, often with eerie precision, what is in front of you. I used it to identify whelks, black spiny-tailed iguanas, and magnificent frigatebirds. In case you’re not sure which suggested species name is most relevant, it will show you which species has been spotted closest to where you are. I love this app and need to remember to use it all the time, whether abroad or in the local park. It also happens to sport a community of more than one million members.

The Best Books

Jungle of Stone
by William Carlsen
How are John Stephens and Frederick Catherwood not household names today? This is the story of the one the most remarkable and unlikely pairs of explorers who made the world see the Maya in an entirely new way. As a bonus, practically anywhere you travel where there are Mayan ruins will be referenced here, and it’s likely that they were the first Westerners to appreciate how advanced those societies were. Just the fact that the red, squiggly line under “Catherwood” in Microsoft Word denotes a spelling error indicates there is a biographical injustice that must be rectified.

I, Rigoberta Menchu
by Rigoberta Menchu, with Elisabeth Burgos-Debray (editor) and Ann Wright (translator)
I can be honest here, right? This is the least fun of the books on the list. It’s the most academic. But it is powerful in its sparse, unflinching autobiographical account of Guatemala’s Nobel Peace Prize winner (1992). The book initially describes the “Indian” (her word choice) way of life in Guatemala and the injustices her people faced, and then it goes into her civil rights quest.

The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw
by Bruce Barcott
This is a must-read about Belize featuring American ex-pat Sharon Matola who founded the Belize Zoo as an animal rehab center for local wildlife and then later accidentally become an international conservation activist fighting governmental development that would threaten the beloved macaws’ nesting grounds. It’s also a useful guide to understanding Belize without claiming to be such a guide. For instance, the way the book frames Belize branding itself as a Caribbean country rather than Central American explains so much about why the country feels so different from its neighbors.

The Lost City of the Monkey God
by Douglas Preston
Have you ever unintentionally read two consecutive books by the same author? I downloaded this book because it’s about searching for a fabled, possibly Mayan city in Honduras – close enough to where I was traveling. Meanwhile, I’ve been on this recent paleontology book kick and downloaded his Dinosaurs in the Attic about the American Museum of Natural History. I loved them both, with the former perfect for travel and adventure buffs and the latter best for NYC and science buffs; I have a feeling most curious readers here would thoroughly enjoy either.

The Best Tacos

Fridas in Antigua, Guatemala. 

Yes, I'm still craving them.

If you’ve been and have any tips on how to make them, I will be forever in your debt. Also, grilled scallions should be a standard taco topping here.

The Best Closing

I want to make Fridas-style tacos and grab Belikins with Mike. Please help. What can I help you with, and what are you making of yourself?



Marketing Examples is a terrific site. I was already loving this roundup, and I shouldn't have been too surprised to see my former 360i colleague, the very talented Annie Maguire, featured here. This is one for my 'save' file. 

I will continue to cite the Belfie Stick as an example of how CES has long-since become a parody of itself. You can play a game where you propose any two kinds of devices or appliances that connect with each other and see if it was a real product (my first try: a dishwasher connected to car; this sadly doesn't seem to exist yet). Anyway, before I write a whole column on this tangent, just read Jeremiah Owyang's observations where he sorts out everything. #JeremiahFanboy  

The Verge checks out what you missed at CES. Apparently, Quibi is not the name of a new robot or pleasure-inducing device, but it would be a much better name for either of those than a streaming video service.  

IBM said I'm a ThinkLeader, so they put me on a podcast. Someone should teach them better grammar, but it was a fun time catching up with HYPR's Gil Eyal who shared a couch with me. We did a shot every time he said "influencer marketing," so we are completely incoherent ten minutes into it. (I really wish that were true.)
-IBM on Twitter:
-Apple Podcasts:


Want to include your event below? Just reply with the details.

January 15, 2pm EST
Virtual (
What's up with blockchain? Is it "blockchain" or "the blockchain"? Do marketers even need to care about it? Is it being used in any meaningful way whatsoever? What matters? What doesn't? Ask Jeremy. He knows EVERYTHING. RSVP to this virtual chat and come with your toughest questions.

Gotham has several terrific events coming up that you should check out:

-January 16, 6:30pm: VC Forum 2020
Gotham Media's annual VC Forum brings together leaders in the world of venture capital for a discussion of what's hot and what entrepreneurs and investors can look forward to over the year ahead.

-January 23, 6:30pm: Health & Wellness Pitch Night
Please join us for a great evening of discussion and pitches from the world of HALO (Health, Active Lifestyle, Outdoor). HALO is now a $4.2 TRILLION dollar industry. Our panels of mentors, investors will discuss what they're doing in the market and then hear from a cross-section of vetted companies who will pitch to our audience in a "quick pitch" format.

-January 30, 6:30pm: Startup & Early Stage Shark Tank
Don't miss an evening of quick pitches by some of New York's most exciting startups and early stage companies as well as Gotham's Media's signature food and drinks. Join investors and seasoned entrepreneurs to learn what's hot and what's not in the City's vibrant startup community.

February 5, Royalton Park Avenue (29th St)
Serial Marketers has teamed up with First Wednesdays to bring back this long-standing tradition in NYC. Every month, we meet at the top-floor penthouse bar from 6-9. While Zack Rosenberg and Rachel Herskovitz post the event links on Facebook, if you want the recurring invite on your calendar, just let me know, and I'll add you to it. I'm also now sending updates via Meetup.

(I'll have more updates on SXSW as we get closer.)
March 11, 2020
Austin, TX
Attention Designers! Place by Design is a pitch competition aimed at showcasing innovative and invigorating design in the public sphere. Urbanists, artists, architects, and designers have the opportunity to present their scalable solutions for improving our shared landscape.

Awards ceremony: March 27, 2020, in Venice, Italy
BOLD Awards recognizes top companies, projects and individuals powering breakthroughs around the world.

April 29-30
I loved this event so much in New York that I'm joining them in Chicago as both a speaker and media sponsor. I'll be speaking about how to build and run a successful B2B community, and of course I will be including examples from many others, with a bit of experience covering mistakes I've made that others can learn from.

May 13-14, 2020
"The premier global gathering in visual tech" is run by one of my favorite firms of any sort out there, LDV Capital. They specialize in bringing some of the best people together in all sorts of ways.


Reach out to me if you want introductions or any additional information, and let me know if you have other job postings you'd like to share. There have also been many job updates within the Slack community, so if you're part of that, be sure to check the #jobs channel for more. 

Content & Marketing Lead
This is a terrific role for someone with a job or two under their belt. The firm's terrific, and I can get relevant hires in front of them myself. "At LDV Capital we are searching for a Content & Marketing Lead to own content creation, strategy, planning and implementation. This is a great opportunity for a writer and content creator to join our growing early stage venture capital fund."

Senior Manager of Marketing Operations
I have a warm connection here. "This is an opportunity to help build and launch a new business within an already successful start-up. The Senior Manager of Marketing Operations will play an integral role on the truva marketing team. You will be responsible for establishing and managing the marketing technology stack, overseeing project management and facilitating alignment between Marketing and key internal stakeholders. You will also leverage analytics to help us optimize our approach throughout the customer lifecycle."

Social Media Managers (x4)
Yes, I know some folks there; as mentioned in Slack, they need four for a certain key account. "The Social Manager’s role is to define and execute the social media strategy for 360i brands across platforms. This person will lead all social media and advertising initiatives to increase overall engagement with the brand and brand positioning, driving social media strategies that fuel the business with best in class creative execution."

Director, E-Commerce - B2B Mobile
Ridgefield Park, NJ
My friend is the hiring lead, so I can refer you if this is relevant and interesting, and I also have a full job description that can be shared:
"The Director, eCommerce B2B Mobile (aka Head of eCommerce – B2B Mobile) will serve as a strategic-thinking, goal-driven head of merchandising, product, CRM, analytics/forecasting, social media management, affiliate/partnerships, and customer experience.  The Demand-Gen marketing team will provide customer insights/research, acquisition marketing content and media, and PR support. The Head of eCommerce – B2B Mobile will be responsible for building an ecommerce business within the B2B organization with external Samsung corporate support in the areas of web development and cart-checkout, fulfillment, and customer service."

Social Media Manager
The founder of KIND and other endeavors seeks a social media lead, ideally with around 4-7 years experience. "As the Social Media Manager you will be responsible for building Daniel’s social media platforms and engaging with Daniel’s community across multiple social platforms." See the #jobs channel in Slack for details and a warm intro, or let me know if you want to be connected directly.

Senior Social Media Insights Analyst
Via Chloe in Serial Marketers:

Other job resources:
-Ad Ops Online: Job listings for ad operations, programmatic account management, sales operations, and more
-ExecThread: Senior roles spanning a range of verticals and cities; membership is free but fully vetted
-TechNY Daily: While more technical typically, there are also some sales and marketing jobs at NY startups

Do you run or enjoy other job resources? Let me know, and I'll share them.


David Berkowitz, publisher


100+ TECH RECOMMENDATIONS (updated regularly)

18 TYPES OF STARTUP MARKETERS (now in quiz form, thanks to Riddle)

LinkedIn / Facebook / Twitter / Meetup

Share it. Sponsor it. Or, hey, Patreon.

The most important rights reserved. You can have the other ones.
(c) 2019 Serial Marketer
PS: Thank you so much for reading this.


This email was sent to you only because you subscribed to Serially Sporadic. To remove yourself and get that awkward email from me asking you what happened, unsubscribe below. (I'm probably kidding about the awkward email part.) 
Copyright © 2020 Serial Marketer. The best rights reserved. You can have the other rights.

Want to change how you receive these emails? 
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list .
I do hope you stick around though.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp