Conversations With Sven Gustafson

This is Detroit’s dinner party conversation, with multiple segments with local tastemakers, artists and entrepreneurs. They don’t call it the Paris of the Midwest for nothing! Host Sven Gustafson is a former journalist and bartender, and a fan of tasty food and drink — and Swedish pancakes. He hosts a smart and engaging conversation about Detroit’s fast-changing restaurant, arts and entertainment scene each week with a variety of fascinating guests and quick-hit segments. Join us as we explore the city through a fun and insightful lens.
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Conversations With Sven Gustafson




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Now displaying: July, 2017
Jul 31, 2017

Drew Schantz is the founder of Venture School, a nonprofit charter looking to get their doors open in the fall of next year. It's concept is a "micro charter" so-called because there will be 35 students or so in each grade level.

In the meantime, Schantz is running a series of pop-up educational experiences and fundraising to make this a reality. It's an interesting look at the early stages of one of the most talked about parts of education in Detroit - charter schools and serving neighborhoods.

Thanks to Bamboo Detroit for their support of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour - also to Podcast Detroit -

Show notes:

4:00 - Opening the High School that I always wanted to go to

5:00 - Why open the Venture School school in Detroit and how current schools aren’t preparing Detroiters for the future

8:40 - The curriculum of fundamentals, hyper-personalization, and entrepreneurship

11:10 - What’s a micro-charter school, really?

16:10 - How does a student get in?

18:50 - Venture School pop-up classrooms at S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center

20:00 - Fundraising as a nonprofit charter school

26:00 - Private vs. being a charter school and landing in the Denby/Whittier neighborhood

28:07 - Venture labs and testing a pop-up school like a pop-up restaurant to get it right

30:00 - What is the state of entrepreneurship in Detroit?

Learn more about Venture School at

Jul 25, 2017

Downtown Detroit continues its remarkable transformation, with more and more foot traffic, construction sites sprouting like weeds and new businesses opening up on the reg.

On this episode of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour, we caught up with Eric Larson, CEO of the Downtown Detroit Partnership, for an update on what's happening in downtown Detroit, how it's evolved over time and what the future could look like for the rapidly growing central business district.

"We really have tried to use the downtown quite frankly as that case study," Larson said. "If it works downtown, we really try and make sure it's replicable in other areas. Not only in other areas of the city, but quite frankly a lot of the public space activation and placemaking activities that we've been doing now for over 20 years are being done all over the country and have become sort of the buzz approaches for continuing to turn around urban centers."

Among the topics Larson touches on:

  • The DDP's involvement in the Super Bowl XL in 2006 (around 5:30)
  • How the DDP works with agencies outside the downtown core (just after 8 minutes)
  • The 2016 Downtown Detroit Perceptions Report (around 12 minutes)
  • How downtown is whiter and more affluent than the city overall (around 17:30)
  • Transportation options, including MoGo, the low marks given to the bus systems and last year's failed RTA transit millage (19:45)
  • The present and possible future of the QLINE (26 minutes)
  • How the new Spirit of Detroit Plaza represents a "civic space where people can congregate" (31:30)
  • How bike lanes will transform downtown (37 minutes)
  • Early results — and future plans — for the "mighty MoGo" (41:45)
  • The future of downtown, vis a vis real estate and autonomous vehicles (46:00)

Friends, this is our longest podcast episode BY FAR, but frankly there was a lot to chew over. Give it a listen and you won't be disappointed. As always, we welcome your feedback.

Thanks to Podcast Detroit:

And don't forget if you like the show to subscribe for free in Apple Podcasts: us/podcast/the-d

Jul 17, 2017

Henry the Hatter is one of the most beloved establishments in all of Metro Detroit. The clientele of the oldest hat shop in the United States, owned by Paul Wasserman, is a who's who of musicians, politicians, and even a president.

For this special episode of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour, Sven Gustafson stopped into the iconic store to talk to Paul Wasserman. He shared the story on how his lease got unexpectedly ended, the history of the place (including how his father came to buy it), and we even touch on the future plans for this piece of living Detroit history.

If you enjoyed this episode, we have much more where that came from. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts here:

You can also find our podcasts on all major podcatchers.

Thanks to everyone who makes this podcast possible.

Podcast Detroit, our network that helps make this crazy idea possible:

And of course, our amazing members. They're hundreds of people who support our investment in projects that ensure that a locally produced, locally owned voice of original content of Detroit doesn't go silent:


Jul 9, 2017

Ned Staebler is the kind of guy who will tell it to you how it sees it, and in this episode of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour Podcast, Sven met up with him at Techtown where he is CEO to get a beat on what's actually happening in Detroit's entrepreneurial scene.

If you want a discussion on business and Detroit that's not a bunch of jargon filled fluff and staged appearances, then this episode is the place for you.

We cover a variety of subjects over the half hour, including the success of MoGo (it has double its ridership projections), how entrepreneurship is really doing and some of the challenges it faces, and being an outspoken advocate for what you truly believe in.

Staebler has driven some pretty impressive results at Techtown, leveraging the space that's on Wayne State University's campus to get businesses and ideas off the ground not just through providing physical space, but encouraging collaboration through different kinds of events and partnerships. 

As always, thanks to Podcast Detroit for their support. Find them here:

More on Techtown here:

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Jul 6, 2017

Social media is becoming the center of modern communications, especially when it comes to brands and media outlets.

Sven & the some of the Daily Detroit team attended Social Media Day Detroit in Greektown this year, where there were educational tracks on a variety of topics as well as a lot of experts who spoke. Social Media Day was put together by the Social Media Association of Michigan (SMAMI).

For this special episode of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour, we caught up with three interesting people in the digital media space locally.

First, Nikki Little. She works over at Identity, a PR agency, as their Social Media Director and also runs a bi-weekly e-newsletter for the local industry, the MichComms report.

Second, Robert Courtney Collins, a brand strategist. His agency provides a variety of brand services as well as events and a reward program. You can find him here.

Third, someone who may be the Dean of digital marketing in Detroit, Mike McClure. His long career has landed him at the Yaffe Group as a Senior Vice President and Executive Creative Director, and he shares how in some ways although the tools have changed, it's still all about connecting with people. 

The next two guests we have in coming weeks are pretty interesting. We've booked Paul Wasserman, the proprietor of Henry the Hatter as well as Ned Stabler, the CEO of Techtown.

Of course, thanks to everyone who makes the show happen.

Podcast Detroit you can find here. Special thanks to Dave Phillips for the technical help today.

You can subscribe in iTunes here.

Of course, more podcasts are on Daily Detroit here.