Looking for a fresh face with an unusual take on business, media and entrepreneurialism? Want to learn Jay Z’s business secrets, but don’t have a private jet to fly him to your event? Zack’s talks explore those areas through the lens of his unique background, journeying from child star to Forbes editor to book author.
Zack has appeared as a speaker at Harvard Business School, Berklee College of Music, the New School, Yale, Georgetown and others. He’s also served as a source for CBS’s 60 Minutes, NPR’s All Things Considered, BBC, Bloomberg, Good Day New York, Reuters, MTV and other print, radio and video outlets. He has become a go-to speaker and panel moderator at private functions for companies like Forbes and Morgan Stanley and industry conferences ranging from SXSW to SF MusicTech to TEDx to CES.
To inquire about Zack’s availability for a speaking engagement or for moderating a panel discussion, please send your request via email to: email@example.com
Zack can tailor his subject matter to the occasion (keynote speeches, college or high school events, corporate outings, graduations) and can include a multimedia component in his presentation. He generally focuses on one of the themes below:
Three Kings: How Jay Z, Diddy and Dr. Dre turned hip-hop into a multibillion-dollar industry (see video above).
This presentation, which Zack debuted at TEDx in late 2014 and eventually turned into his latest book of the same name (due out for Little, Brown in 2017) takes audiences from the birth of hip-hop in the South Bronx four decades ago through the present day. Along the way, he weaves in the narratives of the genre’s three most successful practitioners–and explains how they transformed the business of hip-hop.
Empire State of Mind: How to turn failure into triumph—just like Jay Z.
One of Zack’s most popular talks centers on Jay Z, the man he’s spent years covering for Forbes and researching for his book, Empire State of Mind, which Bloomberg called “one of the year’s best rock books.” In addition to Jay Z’s rags-to-riches story and industry-altering successes, Zack explores some of the deals that didn’t work out (the Jay Z Jeep and the mogul’s first basketball team, for example). The way Jay Z has dealt with failure, and his ability to turn tragedy into triumph, reveals more about his strength as a businessman than his biggest wins.
From Sneakers to Startups: Michael Jackson and the evolution of the entertainment endorsement.
The King of Pop is known by many as the greatest entertainer of all time, but he was also a revolutionary when it came to business. In addition to famously buying the Beatles’ publishing catalogue, Jackson fundamentally changed the entertainment industry by launching his own clothing line, record label, sneakers, and video games–creating a fundamental shift in the monetization of fame. Zack tells the stories he discovered in reporting his business-focused biography, Michael Jackson, Inc., and explains how the singer’s actions paved the way for entertainer-entrepreneurs like Jay Z, Diddy and 50 Cent.
The Outsider: How Zack went from intern to author in five years–and found his calling along the way.
After starring in the film Lorenzo’s Oil, Zack “retired early” at the age of seven and started dreaming of one day becoming the general manager of the New York Yankees. Instead, he found himself on the path to becoming a professional writer in the wake of a summer internship at Forbes. Five years later, he was a staff writer and published author–and the story of how he carved a niche for himself should be of interest to anyone trying to figure out how to break into the media business.
“I had a great time at SXSW Music showcase. Great questions! Thank you SXSW and Zogblog (Zack).”
- Sean “Diddy” Combs, founder of Bad Boy Records, Blue Flame Marketing, Revolt TV
“Zack has been the most popular speaker I have had in my graduate classes at the New School. His self-effacing humor and authentic charm allows him to connect immediately with today’s Millennials. Zack talks their language, especially about the music industry, which nobody writes about better. He’s the Jay Z of music industry reporters, in large part because of his insightful book on Jay Z’s business acumen, Empire State of Mind, and his soon-to-be-released book on Michael Jackson’s business savvy.”
- Charlie Warner, professor of media ethics at the New School and Goldenson chair emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Journalism
“After Zack’s presentation, I came back to several emails and notes on the wonderful lecture that he gave our young men. Even parents called thanking me and I owe it all to Zack. The boys are still talking about him, and now every speaker from now to the end of the year has some tall shoe to fill.”
- TJ Baker, Dean of Citizenship, City On A Hill Charter Public School II, Dorchester, MA
“Zack was the perfect speaker for my class at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. He combines an engaging exuberance with an impressive command of his subject. The students were already familiar with the hip-hop stars and other musicians he talked about but Zack’s vivid account of the stories he had reported and the information he’d uncovered helped them see how understanding the business behind the music can be almost as much fun. As soon as he finished his talk, I invited him back for next year.”
- Janice C. Simpson, co-director of the Arts and Culture program at the CUNY Graudate School of Journalism