Executive keys to TV stardom

Larry Gulko.
Larry Gulko.Chris Morris for The Boston Globe/Globe Freelance

If Legal Sea Foods CEO Roger Berkowitz ends up with a side career in TV, he has Larry Gulko to thank.

Berkowitz and Gulko teamed up to launch a new monthly show on NECN, called “Inside the Brand,” with a focus on how executives foster an image and identity for their company.

The idea can be traced back to the CEO Roundtable event that Gulko hosted last year at Harvard Business School. Gulko, a Boston-area marketing expert who is now CEO of luxury fitness equipment brand TechnoHome, struck up a rapport with Berkowitz, a panelist.

They soon started discussing how it would be fun to do a TV or radio program together. “Inside the Brand” was the result.


Their first guests included Polar Beverages CEO Ralph Crowley, Talbots CEO Lizanne Kindler, Keurig Green Mountain chief marketing officer Mark Baynes and Dave & Buste r’s president Dolf Berle. Bert Jacobs, CEO at Life is Good, and Mike McGrath, CEO of Newman’s Own, will join them for the April 17 show.

Gulko says he hopes the program could be syndicated beyond NECN.

As for Berkowitz, he says he enjoys the challenge of putting together the show. But he’s not about to quit his day job running the seafood empire anytime soon. And if he does? Well, Gulko jokes that he’d be the first in line to take it.


Latest in hotel luxury: Scooters!

The Lenox Hotel is getting into the electric scooter business.

The luxury property in the Back Bay has long been an environmentally friendly business, helping to pioneer the concept of housekeepers washing only the towels that guests leave on the floor. Now the hotel is about to become the first retailer in New England to sell the URB-E — as in “urban electric” — a foldable scooter that can go 20 miles per charge. It also has a seat. And a cupholder.


The hotel bought four of the devices for employees to use to run errands and travel back and forth to the Lenox’s sister property, Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro on Charles Street. Down the road, guests may be able to rent them, too.

The URB-E, which sells for $1,499 to $1,699 and maxes out at 15 miles per hour, can be used on the street or in bike lanes, said Evan Saunders, head of sales and marketing for the Pasadena, Calif., company. Saunders also happens to be the son of Gary Saunders, chairman of Saunders Hotel Group, which owns the Lenox. So that’s how that happened.

The hotel will start selling the scooters on Friday and is letting the public take them out for test drives Friday morning at the hotel and Sunday at noon in Copley Square.

Daniel Donahue, managing director at the Lenox, is a big fan of the scooter, particularly the fact that it folds up and only weighs 35 pounds:

An added bonus: The scooter comes with a USB cable, and you can charge your cellphone while you ride.


Web inventor at MIT

The inventor of the World Wide Web will begin teaching his first online course on Tuesday.

British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the Web in 1989, and has been working to ensure that it remains free and open ever since.

Now the leader of the World Wide Web Consortium and the founding chair of MIT’s Computer Science and AI Lab, Berners-Lee will join his colleagues at MIT in teaching the six-week online class, “Internet of Things: Roadmap to a Connected World.” The course will focus on how in the future, the Web can help create a network of “smart” devices that communicate with one another.


“The Internet of Things has the potential to awaken 99 percent of devices and objects around us,” director Daniela Rus said in a promo video.

Rus and Berners-Lee will be joined by an all-star cast of experts from the university. Also on hand will be Sanjay Sarma, dean of Digital Learning and one of the original architects of Internet of Things at MIT in the 1990s, Carlo Ratti, the director of MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, and Joseph Paradiso, the codirector of the Things That Think Consortium, at the MIT Media Lab.

The course is being offered by MITProfessionalX, the university’s online education portal for science, engineering, and technology workers looking to enhance their skills.

“One of the reasons it’s important to think about the Internet of Things, even though it seems to be thinking about something that is mounting and coming,” and may not be here for years, Berners-Lee said in the preview video, “is that when it comes, we’re going to have to link everything together.”


From ‘Top Chef’ to John Hancock

Chef Tom Colicchio may be best known for advising contestants on the reality show “Top Chef” that their meat is overdone or their dish could use a dash of acid. Now he’ll be telling John Hancock Financial’s customers how to put healthy foods into their grocery bags.


Colicchio, a regular judge on the Bravo show, has signed up to be a spokesperson for the life insurer’s Vitality HealthyFood program.

Boston-based John Hancock, which is owned by Manulife Financial Corp., recently launched a rewards program for some of its life insurance customers. Participants can earn 15 percent off their insurance premiums as well as cash back on groceries by picking up veggies instead of chips when shopping.

The healthy foods incentive is an expansion of the Vitality program that John Hancock introduced last year, rewarding policyholders with lower premiums for exercising and getting health screenings and flu shots.

In a video produced for the John Hancock program, Colicchio reveals that he does his own shopping and fills his cart primarily with vegetables and whole grains. And yes, he also puts in a plug for life insurance.


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