New Horizons at Clear!Blue

Todd Smith found starting a small marketing-communications outfit tough, but now the CEO finds that every day offers fresh possibilities

I'm the CEO of Clear!Blue, a company headquartered in Birmingham, Mich., (just outside of Detroit) that I founded five years ago, along with three guys I consider to be among the very best in the marketing-communications business. Together, we've created an unconventional communications company specializing in experiential marketing, public relations, branding, and online communications.

Clear!Blue is a dream come true for me personally, so I do much more than a traditional CEO would do. For example, I'm also the account lead for one of our biggest clients, which is a full-time job in itself.

The challenge -- and the joy -- of my job is that every day is different. And even though I tend to plan things well in advance, I can't always anticipate what's going to happen next at Clear!Blue. At any moment I might be immersed in a hot new business opportunity.

That's how I like it. It's stimulating. To be a strong, well-rounded athlete, you have to vary your training routine. Why not do the same thing for your brain? I don't think I've had a "typical" day since 1999. So the day I'm writing about isn't an average day, it's just a recent one. The only thing that's typical about it is that it was yet another incredible, unpredictable adventure.

6 a.m. -- I get up, make coffee, and log on to my e-mail from home.

6:15 a.m. -- I never miss the chance to send out my "Thought of the Day" to the whole company, which includes a few inspiring words, announcements, and a run-down of who in the company is doing what and where in the world they are. I'm a big fan of famous quotations, so I always open with one that seems to make sense for the day. Today's happens to be from T.S. Eliot: "Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."

6:30 a.m. -- I quickly absorb the newspaper.

7 a.m. -- Arrive at the gym. I'm one of those people who must work out daily.

8:30 a.m. -- I arrive at the office. Actually, it's more like 8:45 or 9 a.m. I'm never on time.

8:50 a.m. -- A phone call from the CEO of one of our largest accounts, the one I head up. Wants to see me at my earliest convenience. I grab the keys.

9 a.m. -- Driving to downtown Detroit. Listening to '80s music on Sirius satellite radio in between cell-phone conversations and checking my BlackBerry. (I know, probably not safe, but I do it.)

9:30 a.m. -- Arrive and head to meeting with the client. We're working on a major branding effort for him, and he wants to be sure we include the appropriate research up front. I assure him that we will.

10:45 a.m. -- Grab a coffee and handle some BlackBerry messages before heading back to the office for a team meeting.

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