About

About Frank Catalano


I don’t have time to read all of this. What do you do?

I’m a strategic-yet-practical executive in the education technology industry with an emphasis on marketing and markets. In my spare time, I’m a professional author and speaker.

For much of two decades, I was a business adviser and industry analyst, consulting to companies in the education technology industry as well as organizations with digital learning initiatives in the consumer market.

I’m now vice president of marketing strategy for SchoolMessenger. But my clients included a wide variety of startups, and more established organizations such as Professional Examination Service, MDR’s EdNET Insight, Apple, Pearson, McGraw-Hill, MetaMetrics, Corbis and the Toy Industry Association.

What was Intrinsic Strategy?

Intrinsic Strategy was Frank Catalano, a one-person consultancy.

GeekWireStartupDay2horizontalI developed a reputation as a consultant who was simultaneously optimistic and skeptical. I know bright shiny objects and have even briefly admired my reflection in them. After all, I wrote Marketing Online for Dummies and Internet Marketing for Dummies (the latter was in print and generating royalty checks for seven years, a lifetime in Internet time) with my colleague Bud Smith.

I am active on Twitter as @FrankCatalano. I had a blog in 2000, a Web site in 1995 and a computer bulletin board system (remember those?) a decade earlier.

But I also know that nothing is more fleeting than a technological advantage. All new techniques and technologies eventually settle down and become part of the overall tool kit. As a result, I also developed a reputation for providing polite, yet direct and candid, input. It is true that what is considered insubordination in a staffer becomes a charming eccentricity in a consultant.

Wait. Haven’t you been a large-company executive?

I started consulting in 1992 (as Catalano Consulting) after several years in marketing management positions at the Apple Programmers and Developers Association and at Egghead Discount Software. Along the way, I held long-term interim executive positions while a consultant to McGraw-Hill (VP Marketing, McGraw-Hill Home Interactive), PC Data (General Manager, Internet Monitoring), Apex Computer (VP Marketing), Boxer Learning (CMO), MetaMetrics (CMO) and Professional Examination Service (CMO). I spent a short time as VP Marketing of iCopyright during the heady and ultimately headless dot.com days. And I consulted a lot of companies, from start-up to global in size and scope, on a project basis. These included Apple, SGI, the Toy Industry Association, Corbis, Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door, Wifinder and Pearson.

In 2004, one of my clients said they could renew my contract. Or hire me. So I joined educational technology and publishing company Pearson for four years with the title of SVP Marketing. I first worked with the U.S. assessment and testing businesses but later with all the K-12 education businesses, providing leadership in branding and marketing strategy as well as acting as an internal consultant on marketing best practices.

I returned to consulting in 2008, with a brief stint as Chief Marketing Officer for the not-for-profit Professional Examination Service in 2013.  In July 2015, I became Vice President of Marketing Strategy for SchoolMessenger, part of West Corporation.

What else have you done that you’re not admitting?

I’ve been on the boards of LessonLab and Boxer Learning, the advisory board of New York Game Factory and even the MVP Gold Advisory Board of Alaska Airlines.

Oh, and I was an award-winning journalist. On radio and television, and in print and online. That kind of experience has been helpful as I still do a lot of public speaking and write essays. Even after leaving journalism full time, I wrote a regular column for Seattle Weekly and the Puget Sound Business Journal, was the in-house, on-camera technology industry analyst for KCPQ-TV Seattle’s news programs, did regular interviews with NPR stations and many mainstream media outlets (including the diametrically opposed New York Times and Fox & Friends) and even emceed a number of charity auctions.

I now write a regular commentary column for the tech news site GeekWire, and have contributed to the NPR education site MindShift and the edtech newsletter and site EdSurge. But I consider it analysis, not reporting.

In the past few years, I’ve keynoted the 2012 BbWorld Transact conference and been a general session speaker at the Education Industry Association’s 2011 EDVentures conference and the Association of Educational Publishers’ Content in Context Conference. Other speaking engagements include SXSWedu, EdNET, MIT Enterprise Forum NW, the Software and Information Industry Association’s Ed Tech Business Forum and Ed Tech Industry Summit, Washington’s Innovation Summit, Ignite Seattle 11 and Gnomedex 10.

So how do I find out what you’re now up to?

If you’d like to get to know me a bit better, read my blog on this site or follow me on Twitter (as @FrankCatalano).

Strategic advice, analysis & insight