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People, events and things that have shaped the way we think. Tim O'Brien hosts conversations with thought leaders on topics that touch on every facet of life but all have one thing in common - they influenced the way we think today. It's part history podcast, party PR podcast, part marketing podcast, but it's all you.

People, events and things that have shaped the way we think. Tim O'Brien hosts conversations with thought leaders on topics that touch on every facet of life but all have one thing in common - they influenced the way we think today. It's part history podcast, party PR podcast, part marketing podcast, but it's all you.
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People, events and things that have shaped the way we think. Tim O'Brien hosts conversations with thought leaders on topics that touch on every facet of life but all have one thing in common - they influenced the way we think today. It's part history podcast, party PR podcast, part marketing podcast, but it's all you.




Politics: Ads that Changed History – Episode 34

Historian, author and college dean John Geer joins Tim to discuss the long history of political advertising, from negative attack ads, to a few positive ones that may have changed the course of history. John is the Dean of the College of Arts and Science at Vanderbilt University. He has published several books and articles on presidential politics and elections. One of them is called In Defense of Negativity: Attack Ads in Presidential Campaigns....


The Circus: How it Fed America’s Imagination – Episode 33

Writer, producer and director Sharon Grimberg joins Tim to discuss her latest production for American Experience on PBS called “The Circus.” Sharon talks about how the circus played a unique role in introducing Americans throughout the country to the world beyond, and in the process, helping to define American culture, and feed a growing nation’s imagination. For many decades before mass media, the circus brought to your town sights, sounds, smells, a complete sensory experience you might...


Going Head to Head with the NFL – Episode 32

Former college All-American, NFL linebacker, and one of the NFL’s most prominent player agents Ralph Cindrich joins Tim to give his unique perspective of the NFL. Ralph spent 40 years in locker rooms, on fields and in negotiations with the owners during the league’s meteoric rise. Ralph Cindrich was ranked among the most powerful people in sports. He is the author of the book, “NFL Brawler: a player turned agent’s 40 years in the...


Concussions: It’s a New Game – Episode 31

World-renowned concussion expert Dr. Michael “Micky” Collins joins Tim to discuss his pioneering work in the diagnosis and treatment of concussions, and the role that public education and awareness has played from the very start. Dr. Collins talks about myths, realities, how perceptions have influenced football and sports participation. Then he gives his vision of where it goes from here. According to the UPMC Sports...


The “New Coke” Fiasco – Episode 30

Branding expert Robin Teets joins Tim to discuss the time Coca-Cola decided to change its highly successful 99-year old formula to a new one and the chain of events that took place after that. Robin and Tim talk about why the company decided to make the move, what it did right, and how it could get it so wrong. Marketing lessons that are still taught in MBA classes today. On April 23rd, 1985, Coca-Cola...


BEATS: ‘Dad, Can I Have $400 Headphones?’ – Episode 29

Business writer and author Jeff Haden joins Tim to tell the story of Beats. Those expensive headphones that are about more than sound. They’re fashion statement. Jeff is a contributing editor for, and he’s the author of the book, The Motivation Myth: How high achievers really set themselves up to win. Today, we look at a case study on winning in business in the high-end headphone market and how it changed the way we look at sound....


Freedom Car: The Story of the Ford Mustang – Episode 28

Automotive historian John Heitmann joins Tim to discuss the Freedom Car, the Ford Mustang and its role American lore. John digs into the history of the car, its place in popular culture and recent events surrounding the emergence of the long lost and iconic "Bullitt Mustang." The premise of our podcast is simple. We talk about the people, events and things that have shaped the way we think. In this episode, John tells the story behind the car that some vintage collectors say is an iconic...


Opioids: Protecting the Innocents – Episode 27 (Bonus)

Researcher Dr. Eva Lee joins Tim to discuss her work on the front lines in the battle against the opioid epidemic. Dr. Lee is a professor in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech, and Director of the Center for Operations Research in Medicine and HealthCare, and her not-so-secret weapons are math, data and analytics. In this episode, we talk with Dr. Lee about her...


Flight 93, Shanksville: September 11, 2001 – Episode 26

Former FBI special agent Bill Crowley joins Tim to discuss his role as the FBI's lead spokesperson on the scene in Shanksville, Pennsylvania in the days following the Flight 93 hijacking and crash on September 11, 2001. Bill talks about his own role, the crisis communications challenges and takes us back to that time and that place. It’s been 17 years since America experienced the deadliest terrorist attack in its history. Four...


George Washington: Lessons from Failure – Episode 25

Historian, professor, and podcaster Greg Jackson joins Tim to discuss the myths and facts surrounding American Founding Father, George Washington. Greg, and more to the point the lessons in failure. Greg hosts the American history podcast, History That Doesn’t Suck, is an assistant professor of Integrated Studies at Utah Valley University, and has a Ph.D. in history from the University of Utah.


The Monopoly Story – Episode 24

Veteran board games executive, entrepreneur, game designer and Monopoly game expert Phil Orbanes joins Tim to talk about his life-long affinity for one of the world's most beloved board games, Monopoly. Phil tells the whole story behind the game. And he talks about what the Monopoly game teaches us "off the board" in life and in business. On December 31st, 1935, the game of Monopoly was patented. Since...


Abraham Lincoln’s Final Murder Case – Episode 23

New York Times bestselling author David Fisher joins Tim to talk about his collaboration (Lincoln’s Last Trial: the murder case that propelled him to the presidency) with Dan Abrams on the murder case that put Abraham Lincoln on a path to the presidency. David tells the story of how Abraham Lincoln took on a controversial case less than a year before the Republican Convention and the start of one of the most pivotal periods in American history....


The Man Behind the Emoticon :-) – Episode 22

Artificial Intelligence pioneer and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) researcher Scott Fahlman joins Tim to discuss how a few minutes of humor turned into a worldwide phenomenon when he created the first Internet emoticon. Actually, it all started before the Internet was a thing. The emoticon is a term that’s short for emotive icons. Emoticons have been around for centuries in various forms. What all...


The Roads that Brought Us Together – Episode 21

Advertising veteran and author Richard Ratay joins Tim to talk about how America's new roadways brought the country and families closer together. The conversation ranges from homespun stories of family on the road, to how pop culture was influenced by America's growing super highway infrastructure, as they talk about Richard's new book, "Don't Make Me Pull Over: An informal history of the family road trip."...


The Beatles Break Apart – Episode 20

Award-winning author and music industry veteran Bob Spitz joins Tim to discuss the break-up of The Beatles, a watershed moment in the history of rock and roll, and how it impacted the music and entertainment and American culture for decades to come. The Beatles released "Love Me Do" on October 5, 1962, their first single. Their second single “Please Please Me” reached number one on nearly every chart in U.K....


The Battle of Little Bighorn Changed Everything – Episode 19

Historian Andy Masich joins Tim to discuss the battle of Little Bighorn, one of the most well known and possibly misunderstood battles in the history of the American West. An author, speaker and college educator, Andy also serves as CEO of the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh. In this episode he puts the story of Little Bighorn into perspective for today and how America changed afterward....


Humble Heinz Ketchup: When Last was First – Episode 18

Journalist and author Eleanor Foa Dienstag joins Tim to tell the story behind the humble Heinz Ketchup bottle in our fridge, its journey to our hearts and homes, and the people who made it one of the most iconic food brands in America. We spend this episode with a focus on the history of one of America’s most iconic condiments, Heinz Ketchup, which was a big part of a corporate history Eleanor...


Writing The Declaration of Independence – Episode 17

Historian Liz Covart joins Tim to discuss the events and circumstances that led to the American Revolutionary War, and the stories behind the actual drafting of the most revolutionary document ever written, The Declaration of Independence. Liz, who is also the host of the popular Ben Franklin's World podcast, talks about the Declaration of Independence as a living, breathing document that is as relevant today as ever....


An Advertising Slogan is Forever – Episode 16

Novelist J. Courtney Sullivan joins Tim to discuss the true story behind why every bride must have a diamond engagement ring and the role one woman played in changing America's love and marriage traditions. A diamond advertising tag line, is indeed, forever. Believe it or not, before the late 1930s, most brides did not receive diamond engagement rings. In this episode, we tell the story of how...


Arnold Palmer: Golf’s Sports Marketing Pioneer – Episode 15

Author Chris Rodell joins Tim to discuss his 20-year relationship with Arnold Palmer as covered in his new book “Arnold Palmer: Homespun Stories of the King." Chris talks about what he learned from Arnold Palmer’s example in golf, in business and in life, and what Palmer's legacy means to professional athletes today. Arnold Palmer hit the American consciousness as golf grew in...