— DIANE CLEHANE
A little birdie told us we missed Wyclef Jean by a day. Then, on Monday night, we hear the joint was jumping at Miramax’s party for The Tillman Story with Josh Brolin making the scene. We didn’t spot any celebrities in the dining room at Michael’s today (it is August, after all), but we did chat up plenty of the usual suspects who were getting in one of the last power lunches of the summer season before decamping to their cottages on the beach. (We’ll be sequestered in our air conditioned living room watching Mad Men on demand if this awful heat drags on.)
I was lunching today with public relations maven Catherine Saxton and Benjamin Cohen, president and founder of BobCarMedia. I’ve met plenty of self-made moguls here at Michael’s, but I have to say when it comes to having passion for what he does, Ben puts a lot of those guys to shame. From the moment I sat down, I found myself transfixed by Ben’s story of serial entrepreneurship that started when he was 12 years old at his parents’ retail store in Brooklyn. Enterprising Ben was so good at bringing the customers in that a competitor stole him away at age 15, and by 18, he was running his own electronics store in Westchester. At 25, he expanded his empire to include 50 cellular phone stores nationwide. “I always wanted to take the intimidation factor out of purchasing technology,” Ben told me.
In the late nineties, he opened a ‘technology salon’ on Park Avenue that was designed to keep Manhattan execs up to date with the latest gizmos and gadgets. The concept was so successful that it landed him on Bill Gates’ radar who then tapped Ben’s company for the east coast launch of Windows98. “That changed everything,” says Ben.
Ben launched BobCarMedia in 2002 with a focus on getting companies to embrace the concept of mobile marketing tools that allow consumers to test drive products outside the brick-and-mortar environment. Today, his brand ambassadors had two of his sleek, eco-friendly BobCars parked outside Michael’s so the curious could try out T-Mobile’s webConnect Rocket. “We’ve shown marketers you don’t need to wait for the customer to go into the store,” says Ben who has helped CLEAR, Wendy’s and Snickers rev up their businesses all over the country. “We’re new, different and run lean and mean. We can adapt to changing technologies and news market fast, and that means great things for our clients.”
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Uber agent Ed Victor and pals
2. Peter Brown
3. Hearst president David Carey, who arrived with a copy of the latest issue of Marie Claire under his arm, and a distinguished looking gent we didn’t get to meet.
4. Steven Rubenstein and an unidentified casually clad gal.
5. Allen & Co.’s Stanley Shuman
6. Catherine Saxton, Benjamin Cohen and yours truly
7. Peter Maroney and Patricia Duff
8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia (in seersucker) and Michael Thomas, former “Midas Watch” columnist at The New York Observer
9. Author Pamela Keogh, whose new book Are You a Jackie or Marilyn?, is excerpted in Vanity Fair‘s September issue.
11. Fidelis Global’s Gerry Byrne with fellow Marine and producer Mike Scotti.
12. Allure editrix Linda Wells wasted no time getting down to business with her two guests. She was on her way back to the office before the rest of the dining room settled in. What dedication!
14. The perennially best dressed Jonathan Wald (Long time no see!) was nice enough to introduce me to his guest The Wall Street Journal reporter Katherine Rosman who recently published her book If You Knew Suzy. Rosman took a year long sabbatical from her day job to write the touching and funny memoir which examines her mother’s life from a reporter’s perspective. She tackled the complicated terrain of the mother-daughter relationship with equal parts humor and insight. Bravo!
15. CBS spinmeister Gil Schwartz
16. United Stations Radio Networks’ Nick Verbitsky
17. Euan Rellie
18. PR power duo Lisa Linden and Lloyd Kaplan with Teruko Secor, corporate relations director of Fujisankei Communications International.
20. Hearst’s high princess of publicity, Deb Shriver
21. Quest‘s Chris Meigher
22. Marie Claire publisher Nancy Cardone
23. Helene Kaplan and Vartan Gregorian
24. Alliance Capital’s Amy Raskin
25. UBS’ Aryeh Bourkoff
26. Money talks: Abernathy & MacGregor’s COO Adam Miller and Quadrangle Capital’s Josh Steiner.
27. Former MTV front woman Karen Duffy
28. Kyle Hotchkiss Carone and Sabine Heller.
29. Literary agent Paul Fedorko of N.S. Bienstock.
Spotted in the Garden Room: Beauty guru Susan Ciminelli and Cushman & Wakefield’s Joe Harbert.
‘Lunch’ is taking the rest of the summer off. See you in September!
Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.