They were two entrepreneurs who defined the corporate culture in the Central Coast’s dot-com era.
Michael Klein was the swashbuckling deal maker who knew how to finance things, built tech firms and loved to make deals with big players like Yahoo. His investment in bankrupt auto parts maker Dura Automotive gave him a national profile.
Tom Adamski was the cerebral thinker who saw the promise of the Internet to create brands and redefine corporate culture.
He and Klein together helped grow a small company called Web Associates that, after a move to San Luis Obispo, would evolve into Rosetta, the digital advertising arm of advertising giant Publicis. Their vision helped companies such as Apple develop customer engagement strategies to outflank competitors.
Klein tragically died in a small plane crash after visiting an island he owned off the coast of Panama just before Christmas in 2007. He was only 37.
In early October, Adamski died after a battle with cancer. He was just 43.
At the time of his death, Adamski was CEO of Publicis Groupe’s Razorfish Global network.
He began his career as an advertising account executive at Web Associates, which relocated to SLO after changing its name to Level Studios. Level was acquired by Rosetta in 2010 and French advertising giant Publicis purchased the company in 2011.
Trade publication Adweek said that “Adamski specialized in facilitating the agency world’s shift toward a digital-first marketing model.”
In addition to his roles at Razorfish and Rosetta, Adweek said he also served on the group known as P12 “who manage governance of the larger organization.”
Adamski leaves behind a wife and three children and a legacy as one of the Central Coast’s true technology visionaries.
He preferred to work behind the scenes and even in the early days of Web Associates, it was Klein who got the headlines.
But between the two of them they blazed new paths in technology, digital advertising and new media. Adamski’s death truly marks the end of an era.
Time for fed rate hike
We’ve been watching with interest the debate unfolding in public as various Federal Reserve officials pontificate about the need to raise or not raise the Federal Funds rate.
Looking over the unemployment data for the Tri-Counties and the surge in rental prices, we’d say that there is sufficient evidence that employment is healthy and there’s more than a whiff of inflation in the air.
The unemployment rate in each of our counties is down sharply and approaching full employment. Rents, food prices and many other costs are rising.
We’re inclined to agree with San Francisco Fed President John Williams that a small increase in 2015 would send the right signal to the markets and set the stage for a longish pause before the next rate hike.
• Contact Henry Dubroff at [email protected]