Sunday, February 2, 2014

Failure Coach XXI

Local Placement

It had been a couple of weeks since Alan sat with the writer from the St. Louis Business Journal. In all the excitement around the first part of this mini tour he almost forgot about it, which is why the cover story kind of caught him by surprise. There it was on page one of his copy of the St. Louis Business Journal. A big profile photo taken by a SBJ staff photographer of Alan with stacks of It’s not easy being anybody and No one can give 110%. The local book signing at Barnes & Noble at the West County Mall was a modest event, among the first scheduled around the launch of the second book. The photo captured a successful looking author smilin’ and signin’. The headline: CHASING WINDMILLS with the subheading: Two years after the success of his breakthrough business book the self described Failure Coach, Alan Edgewater gears up for what’s next. Story on page 8.

The story covered a spread on pages 8-9 and was continued on page 10. Photos provided by Ambrosia included the photo credit: PHOTO BY DANIEL BLUESTONE of Alan in his glory in front of a big crowd in Orlando in January and  photos of the covers allowing for a sidebar about the commercial success of both books.


Alan Edgewater is comfortable with failure. That is why he, like a hapless Don Quixote, he is on a quest to re-educate all of us to stop focusing blindly on a narrow definition of success. His first book It’s not easy being Anybody was an overnight success and now tops the New York Times list of best selling non-fiction paperbacks. His second book, You can’t give 110% is on sale now and has received favorable reviews.

“My message is pretty simple really, but many people have a tough time getting their arms around it. I am not telling folks to give up. I’m not telling business people avoid failure. Quite the contrary, I’m promoting the idea that expecting setbacks and embracing failure, when it comes, is productive,” says Alan. The interview took place at the West County Mall Barnes & Noble. Alan was there to sign books but when we met he was drinking coffee anonymously reading the play Man of La Mancha. “People are wasting too much time dwelling on preconceived notions of self actualization. I just want people to start with a clean slate, tabula rasa, and forge ahead. Go ahead and chase your Impossible Dream.”

Clearly Alan Edgewater is a man on a quest. He doesn’t want to answer questions about what brought him to this place. He won’t answer questions about his High School or College or his curriculum vitae. That is by design. Edgewater insists that his background, experience and education are important but he doesn’t want his readers to suppose there is a formula or a path they should follow. “In fact, a favorite of mine is that Robert Frost poem about the road not taken. People should be free to choose a course and be applauded if on that road there is a certain amount of disappointment. That’s good, because it means you didn’t just pick the easy way.”

Well, Alan Edgewater has certainly chosen a road less traveled. His quest started just after he dropped out of law school at St. Louis University. He was, according to his friend Bob Caster a pretty marginal student but always great at motivating others. “He finished his undergraduate degree at Quincy College in Illinois and spent a couple of years doing everything from telemarketing to advertising sales before studying law. It might have been his lack of affinity for the law that inspired him to do public speaking and writing. He was a beat writer in Springfield, Missouri for a while and a pretty successful freelance writer too.”

Alan Edgewater is fit, 48 and confident. He doesn’t talk about High School because he doesn’t like the stereotype of St. Louisans using the question “So where did you go to high school?” as a way to pigeon-hole people into groups with pre-determined social status and career prospects inside tightly knit networks. “If you must know, I finished at Saint Louis University High School, but my parents moved here when I was a sophomore and first enrolled at Parkway Central midyear. So I went to three different High Schools.”

Alan doesn’t want to talk about his non-profit and fundraising efforts either. He is well known in St. Louis as a go-to guy for energizing events from charity golf outings to successful banquets and fundraising for causes like Autism Speaks and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. He has been a leader for years for the annual Old Newsboys Day effort that has raised millions of dollars for area children's charities. In all cases, people close to Alan describe him as a selfless leader. But it is his first book that put him on the map as a celebrity.

“Alan’s ability to back up his book with captivating public appearances and bring others into the events make him a triple-threat,” says a spokesman from his publisher who asked to remain anonymous. “The guy is so easy to work with and everyone from publicist to editors agree. When you have a brand like Alan Edgewater you want to leverage those marketable attributes.” And so they have, to the point of saturation some might argue. Time will tell. After this interview, Alan and his team from the newly formed unit of Omnicom advertising/marketing giant got busy scheduling a mini tour that will include Cleveland and Canton (Rock and Roll and Football Halls of Fame), Detroit, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City and other cities.  

His St. Louis stop later this month is highly anticipated, as it will be held at the Missouri Athletic Club and include the presentation of the Alan Edgewater Failure First Scholarship award. Tickets will be available through the St. Louis Business Journal as part of the SJB speaker series or directly via the Alan Edgewater website.

The article, by most accounts, was kind of a puff piece. Except for two sidebars with graphics adjacent to the story Alan was happy about the overall presentation. The sidebar headlines and the accompanying stories caught Alan’s eye and made him wonder. The stories both mentioned the Alan Edgewater connection. Both stories, for Alan at least, triggered more questions than answers.   

Ambrosia to open St. Louis office
It was announced today in a brief press release from Omnicom, the parent company of Ambrosia Digital Marketing that the firm intends to open an office in St. Louis. The agency already handles the Alan Edgewater Failure Coach LLC social media and event management. The office is expected to be 5,000 – 7,500 sf downtown and employ 24 people here.
Abbeshire & Bluestone wins Sazarac Rye Whiskey

Sazarac Rye Whiskey, a proud tradition in New Orleans announced that Abbeshire & Bluestone would handle a sales promotion, digital media and branding assignment out of its St. Louis office. The firm was formed as a merger of Abbeshire Public Relations and Bluestone Creative. The principals are credited with marketing successes for Alan Edgewater books and keynote presentations, healthcare, CPG and brand innovations via digital and social channels.   

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