Champion Trailblazers

I watch very little televison. To the extent that I do, I find I'm generally drawn to shows on Bravo, Sundance and PBS. I don't think I've ever spent time watching anything on USA Network, home to shows I'd never even heard of--White CollarPsych and Fairly Legal, for example--before recently learning about the network's annual Character Approved Awards.

(And by the way, this isn't necessarily a commentary about the intellectual caliber of the television that I do watch. Bravo offers plenty of lowbrow viewing options. I've been known to dabble in Millionaire Matchmaker on occasion. And The Real Housewives of New York City was on my DVR for a while. Before I cut myself off.)

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Seeking Balance

I like my news balanced. In this day and age of polarized, agenda-riddled commentary, balance is not always an easy thing to come by. Ferreting out intelligent, even-handed perspectives on matters of importance can turn into a full time endeavor, when soundbites, hidden and not-so-hidden bias rule the day. Which is why, over the last few years, I've turned more and more to sources that feature in-depth, moderated, across-the-aisle conversation--or full on debate--to provide me with exposure to all sides on the issues.

Two of my favorites are the live--and lively--Oxford-style debate series Intelligence Squared and KCRW's radio show and podcast Left, Right & Center.  Intelligence Squared is modeled on a London program of the same name. A good friend is an Advisory Board member, so I had the fortune of attending their very first New York event, held at the Asia Society back in 2006. Since then they've grown, moved to NYU's high-tech Skirball Center, are simulcast on NPR and re-broadcast on Bloomberg Television. They're great.

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Girl Power

First Natalie Massenet, now Arianna Huffington. In less than twelve months' time, two super fabulous female entrepreneurs have inked high-profile, multimillion dollar deals for the companies they founded, using the internet as their launch pad. Natalie started online luxury retailer Net-a-Porter in London in 2000. Arianna, of course, founded eponymous news aggregator Huffington Post in 2005.

Both women are game changers who began from scratch, trusted instinct in the face of adamant naysayers and have personally netted millions as a result. Natalie pocketed $75 million in April 2010 when Richemont bought out the portion of Net-a-Porter it did not yet own for $530 million. Figures have not been made public in the Aol-Huffington Post transaction, but based on the Company's investor base and reported valuations of earlier rounds, Arianna will likely take home somewhere between $15 and $50 million cash and stock in the $315 million deal. She also is said to have a multi-million dollar annual contract to stay on and run Aol's collected news services.

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Tidying Up

This past weekend Monocle magazine's much-anticipated television show for Bloomberg premiered with the airing of the first two of six episodes on Saturday and Sunday.

If you are not yet familiar with Monocle, since its 2007 launch much has been written about it and its globetrotting founder, Tyler Brûlé, including two love letters last year from Business Week and New York Magazine.

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Fashion Democracy

This past Saturday the first of two annual transatlantic fashion marathons kicked off with men’s fashion week in Milan.

Every year those intimately familiar with the fashion calendar (the way others are intimately familiar with professional sports seasons), eagerly anticipate the mid-January to mid-March romps down the runways of Milan, New York, London, and Paris, followed a bit less precisely by the same thing all over again from early June to early July and mid-September to early October (the second installation is broken in two by the obligatory European August shut down). Editors, buyers and now bloggers, too, jet back-forth, north-south to cover it all. And then start all over again from the top.

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Fierce Smarts

Fierce smarts turn me on. They crackle.

In October I caught wind of a marketing campaign fired by fierce smarts: the promotional effort for Jay-Z’s forthcoming book, Decoded. An interactive scavenger hunt, pages from the book appeared imprinted on billboards, Gucci jackets, parked cars, pool bottoms and roof tops in New York and London, Miami, Las Vegas and New Orleans (see photos of a few of them here).

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