Doug Garnett’s Blog



Doug Garnett’s family returned from a sojourn to New Jersey in time for him to be born in Colorado and grow up at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Boulder, Colorado. Entering the University of Colorado in music, he received his liberal arts degree in mathematics — studying english history and soviet science fiction along the way. After graduation, he adventured into the 1980s aerospace industry of Southern California and earned a second math degree (in finite element analysis).

Working on rockets, missiles, and the Space Shuttle weren’t enough — so Doug moved to marketing and sales for innovative, new products. In his career, he has sold supercomputers, marketed and advertised all types of consumer products, owned his own ad agency and even directed national television commercials. His agency, Atomic Direct, introduced new products for 20 years including handling Lowe’s Kobalt Tools introductions from 2010 to 2018. (Along the way, Doug has explored the visual and creative side of life, studying drawing and painting.)

Doug founded Protonik, LLC in 2018 (after closing his ad agency, Atomic Direct, LTD) to build a practice around the full range of marketing needed for innovative new products. He advises a select set of innovative companies (startups or established brands) while teaching, writing, consulting, and creating a few ad campaigns.

Doug now teaches marketing, advertising, and consumer behavior as an adjunct at Portland State University’s School of Busines Administration where he taught advertising from 2001 through 2013.

Protonik also helps build markets for artists — a challenge similar to marketing innovative, new products. Doug is a co-conspirator with Timothy Ely, on Tim’s blog and has been filming a documentary about Tim’s work. Doug also helps his wife — artist Judith Quinn Garnett — market her work — paintings embellished with stitch and post consumer/post industrial waste.

Doug’s musings about innovation, marketing, and technology can be found on his marketing blog and discussion of issues with new product introductions can be found on his secondary blog, .

Doug lives in Portland, Oregon with Judith and their two sons. When not working, he likes to explore art, music, woodworking, history, books, fly fishing, and the outdoors.


BA – Mathematics, University of Colorado – Boulder
MS – Applied Math, University of California – San Diego
MBA (partial) – Marylhurst University, Lake Oswego, OR


Protonik, LLC – President
Atomic Direct, LTD – CEO
The Tyee Group, VP-Strategy/Acct Dir.
Floating Point, International Sales & Mktg
General Dynamics, Sr. Software Engineer​


RetailWire BrainTrust
PSU – School of Business, Adjunct Instructor.
Oregon Entrepreneur Association, Marketing Committee; Startup Education Series
PiePDX Mentor (Oregon)
OTRADI Mentor (Oregon)
Blog at and
“Building Brand with DRTV” (pub. 2011)

TV/Video Awards

Telly Awards (2001-2018)
Davey Awards (2005-2016)
Insurance Marcom “Best TV of 2006”
DMA Echo for TV (1999)

To book Doug for an industry or company lecture, visit the “Request Lecture” page.

©2020 – Doug Garnett – All Rights Reserved


  • Posted: April 1, 2017 08:27

    Robert Clark

    I was surprised by this statement in your blog post from Nov. 2016 on Amazon's Q3 profits: "It also means (as we see with most digital adventures) that Amazon will likely “pivot” at some point (maybe in 3-5 years) and their retail equivalent market will go away – In the meantime, what kind of damage will they do?" Amazon's retail represents the biggest part of their revenue and it's the signature part of their identity. It would be really surprising if they simply decided to forgo that. Have any other analysts suggested they would eliminate that segment of their business? Bob Clark
    • Posted: April 3, 2017 18:46

      Doug Garnett

      Bob - Excellent question and glad I could surprise you. The Wall Street Journal has begun to question how Amazon can continue to lose vast sums of money on the majority of it's revenue. My thought offered in the blog post just takes this the next step. Essentially, in response to the WSJ, Amazon doesn't have too many options. They could seek to reduce that big piece of revenue - but that's not likely a successful strategy. So what they really need to do is find a way to make it profitable. Based on a series of analyses, it does not seem viable for them to make a profit on that chunk of revenue UNLESS they become a primarily brick and mortar company. And, in the months that have passed since I wrote the post, I believe we are seeing them take those steps. Bookstores, convenience stores, local retail outlets... My sense is you think I'm a out on a limb. And you're right - Amazon's phenomenal PR machine has spun quite a story and few are challenging it. But I'm willing to go out on the limb knowing that I'm at least part right. Where they actually end up will be different from what I suggest but ALSO quite different from where Amazon's self-spun mythology tells us. I'm trying to get people to start seriously thinking about Amazon - what's the REAL scoop behind the mythology? Thanks for the question! ...Doug
  • Posted: April 16, 2024 07:31

    Nicholas Gruen

    Thanks for this Doug — and good on you for surprising us. Sounds like an interesting thesis. My only reaction to Amazon's "Everything store" idea was that surely they can't make money there because it's all so competitive. But then I thought they were doing something a bit like Uber which is to really just try to grab hold of the front end and then work away at minimising costs and maximising rents to them by commoditising everything beneath them in the value chain. In addition to various economies of scale and scope (including monopsony rent extraction which is not strictly speaking an efficiency) you can think of all products as having a digital front end in marketing and Amazon is going for that — however small a share of total value added it is. And that also gives them the market intelligence to get into some bricks and mortar as Apple did in a smaller way with its stores.