The Speakeasy Agency's John Weiss on founding a firm and what people don't know about marcomms

The daily habits of a PR entrepreneur who checks Instagram first thing each morning.

Morning ritual
I wake around 5 am to the local news so that I know what to expect for the day in terms of weather, the commute, and anything else that might make it challenging to get around the city.  Then check email, scan the newspapers - New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and New York Times and flag any relevant articles for clients and colleagues.  Then it is off to the gym or a spin class at Flywheel. On my way to and from, I listen to upbeat music to wake me up and also check Instagram and Snapchat. Once back at my apartment, it’s time to get ready for work and start the day. 

First site or app checked in the morning
Instagram. For me, it is a great way to see what friends, influencers, and brands are up to as well as check out highlights from recent events. I find it inspiring to view the art of storytelling through the creative lens of Instagram. 

The most interesting thing about spirits marcomms most people don’t know
One of the most fascinating things is that while you are working with a spirit brand and it is about the taste, liquid, and quality, it can also be so much more than that. You have the opportunity to bring each spirit brand to life across so many industries such as fashion, art, film and music. As much as my friends and colleagues think I’m always at a bar, enjoying midday drinks or in meetings where cocktails are being served, I’m sorry to debunk the myth, it’s actually not the case. 

If you ruled the world for a day…
I would make everyone work in PR for one day so that they could understand how it really works.

Most distinct aspect of your personal office
A series of black and white photographs that I took years ago in Harbour Island. No matter how crazy the day gets, looking at them always triggers great memories and makes me smile

On a scale of 1-10, how difficult is your commute?
My commute is usually a two but recently has been a seven due to delays on the downtown 6 train. 

Favorite smartphone app
For personal, I would have to say Hype Machine as I love discovering new music. For work, I’m a huge fan of Abacus. Having just launched my own agency, it streamlines managing expenses. 

First marketing or PR job
My first job in PR was actually a summer internship at the Susan Magrino Agency. I remember working on the CFDA Awards and also spending a lot of time organizing the photo slide books.   

Favorite city you’ve worked in
Tough one…Besides New York, I would have to say Miami. I went there on my first business trip and subsequently have been going back regularly ever since. 

What made you want to start your own firm?
James Curich, my cofounder and I are longtime friends and have always wanted to start our own lifestyle-focused agency. We always discussed it, but it was never the right time.  That changed this past spring when we had the opportunity to partake in a competitive pitch for part of the William Grant & Sons spirit portfolio. We won the pitch and now represent Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Reyka Vodka, Drambuie, Montelobos Mezcal, Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur, Hudson Whiskey, and Monkey Shoulder Whiskey. 

Favorite place for a work drink
Just one is difficult but some of my favorite spots for after work drinks include Rye House, The NoMad Bar, and also Flatiron Lounge. 

Guilty TV pleasure
I’m not sure I would call it a guilty pleasure but I really like watching Naked & Afraid. I always ask myself if I could do it. Maybe one day I will apply.

Book you’re reading
I just started reading The Billion Dollar Spy, by David E. Hoffman. I have always been a fan of books on espionage.   

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