Explaining Southern California's economy

DeBord Report Live with Sasha Strauss of Innovation Protocol



The DeBord Report Live's first guest: Sasha Strauss of Innovation Protocol. He's taller and I have the much older suit.

On Wednesday, KPCC's Crawford Family Forum team and I kicked off the first installment of "DeBord Report Live." We had a great crowd and a great guest — Sasha Strauss, Managing Director of Innovation Protocol, a strategic branding firm based here in L.A.

You may have heard Sasha on "The Patt Morrison Show." You may have watched Sasha in YouTube videos. But you haven't lived — or I hadn't anyway — untill you've seen Sasha do his thing live. We covered A LOT of territory in our 90-minute conversation, punctuated by Q&A sessions with the audience — and a few table-turners, where Sasha interviewed me (my beat-up 1998 Saab and my 15-year-old Brooks Brothers suit evidently say quite a lot about the Brand That Is Me).

You can listen to whole thing here. Advance warning: Be prepared to turn down the volume at times! By the end, I think you'll know a lot more about social media, how brands rise and fall — and about where Sasha is coming from as a person who believes that brands are deeply emotional and ultimately about more than mere commerce.


Who wins in Saab bankruptcy? General Motors

Mercer 2095

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

It looks like it's finally game over for Saab, the struggling Swedish company that owner General Motors sold to an obscure Dutch carmaker in 2009. What now looms is a liquidation bankruptcy, with Saab effectively sold for parts.

I've written many, many, many times about Saab and its seemingly unending quest to revive itself, make good on the legacy of its "quirky" brand, and possibly even get bought by the Chinese or a Russian money man.

Fail on all those fronts. And now it looks as if they only company that will really get anything out of Saab is it former corporate parent, GM, which blocked an 11th-hour sale to a pair of Chinese companies but will be able to salvage some Saab tech for use in future GM cars, according to some reporting by the LA Times' Jerry Hirsch.

Saab was a somewhat popular brand in Southern California, along with Volvo, its Swedish cousin. This was a bit strange, as Saab was optimized for good performance in bad weather. However, as a result of all the love that Angelenos gave Saab — not to mention the very un-Swedish climate — there are plenty of well-preserved versions still tooling around.