Home    About    Blog     Archive     Contact

About the Author

Susan Schwartz McDonald, the CEO of marketing research consultancy, NAXION, is also an amateur linguist and word-lover whose business career has required her to shed words in favor of graphics.  Her essays and poems have appeared in national publications but most of her professional career has been spent helping businesses launch brands and market innovative technologies.  She received a MA and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication.  This blog is an attempt to reconcile her double life as student of language evolution by night and speaker of PowerPoint by day.  She plans to hang out at the corner of culture, commerce, and communication – a busy place where words beginning with “c” seem naturally to congregate.


About SmartMouth

I sometimes describe myself an “accidental tourist” in the land of business consulting, who long ago wandered off-course from a first career as essayist and critic. Having reached a certain age and stage of that “journey”, I’m about to take another side excursion in which I simply mouth off from time to time in the medium that’s most readily available to me. My commentaries will be on cultural topics I enjoy – primarily the way we communicate with one another in society and business, and what the trends in spoken idiom, writing, and "emoticon-ometrics" might tell us about how we think.  

Here’s the kind of thing I plan to be doing:

  • Theorizing about the true cultural significance of grey type and thin fonts – and trying to predict whether PPT documents will be wearing wide or thin lapels in 2018
  • Speculating about whether “democratized” data will become the opiate of the masses or the path to mob rule
  • Refereeing the contest between pictures and words – and speculating about whether a single one is ever really worth 1000 of the other
  • Discussing why fanciful brand names are on the rise and what that trend says about us as a consuming/marketing culture
  •  Analyzing and eulogizing the lives of business clichés -- like personal “journey”

In short, I'll be speaking as a business ethnographer more than a methodologist. 

Here’s the sort of thing I won’t be doing. Offering advice on research techniques. Airing political views or reminiscing too much about a world in which things moved just a little more slowly and decision support was a bit more reflective. Scolding people for infractions of business etiquette or grammar. Asking to be taken too seriously.

My goal is to find and foster a community of souls who are intellectually curious about how we communicate with one another. In an age when we do almost nothing but communicate, that topic should give me and fellow-travelers a lot to work with. Or, if you prefer, a lot with which to work.