Spotted CEO Janet Comenos got great business tips from a book by a hostage negotiator

By Melissa Locker

As the digital age boomed, Janet Comenos saw a growing gap in the marketplace between celebrities and companies. In 2016, she launched Spotted, a Boston-based marketing startup that connects celebrities, influencers, photographers, companies, and fans through social media marketing campaigns. Spotted was a hit.

Here the executive shares her tips and tools for getting the most out of every day.

What’s your Off Switch? 

I open up the Houzz app and look through inspirational photos of bathroom and kitchen renovations.

What’s your On Switch? 

I take one fast lap through the public gardens while blasting Rihanna in my AirPods and think about stepping off a yacht with Sir Richard Branson to accept an award on stage at Cannes. It’s the same dream, in the same place, every day.

What books are on your nightstand? 

    The Myth of the Nice Girl, written by one of my advisors, Fran Hauser. It’s a highly actionable book about how to balance kindness with strength as a female executive.

    Ender’s Game, a sci-fi book that has many twists and turns and tells the story of a young boy in a battle training program, yet I find myself constantly asking, what would I do in this situation?

    Never Split the Difference, written by hostage negotiator Chris Voss, addresses the nuances of a negotiation and has helped me in high-intensity customer negotiations.

    Bad Blood, the story of Elizabeth Holmes and the Theranos scandal, is riveting and terrifying. It’s a great lesson of “what not to do when running a company.”

    Manslaughter on Madison Avenue, a book about the impossible situation advertising agencies have put themselves in by doing more work to get paid less.

Where do you go to relax and recharge?

The San Ysidro Ranch in Ojai, California, boasts a beautiful vineyard and cottages that seem to block out all outside noise. Plus, they have Veuve Clicquot at check-in.

Spotted CEO Janet Comenos got great business tips from a book by a hostage negotiator |

[Photo: courtesy of Senreve]

What are your go-to travel tips?

    I pack a small Diptyque candle and light it next to my computer when I’m working late at night in my hotel room. It makes the hotel room feel more like home.

    A White and Warren cashmere travel wrap. It’s exceptionally long and heavy and keeps me warm during chilly flights.

    A Senreve leather bag that doubles as a backpack and doctor bag style, and is perfect for an overnight trip.

    Putting the “Sleep Machine” app on low volume on my AirPods, so I can concentrate on work during cross-country flights. The “brown noise” setting blocks out noise that Bose noise-canceling headphones and earplugs can’t.

    I pre-plan every outfit for the trip. I learned this the hard way after packing too light for too many work trips that involved daytime meetings and night-time activities.

Spotted CEO Janet Comenos got great business tips from a book by a hostage negotiator |

[Photo: courtesy of Nanoleaf]

What’s a product that you are currently in love with? 

Nanoleaf Aurora smart lights. You can turn them into any geometric shape and they stick to the wall after you set up your custom color scheme. I spent three hours in the office setting up a Nanoleaf pattern in the main room, from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m., in our logo’s shape. It was a magical feeling when everyone walked in that morning and they were set up.

What service or tool can you not live without? 


Hotel Tonight. I can book four- and five-star hotels the same day I am traveling, for 30% to 40% less.

What classic product do you believe nobody’s ever improved on? 

Bic pens. They take forever to run out of ink, and they’re fun to chew on in meetings.

What’s a product you recently splurged on?

A Rolex Datejust watch.

What song do you listen to . . . 

When you’re waking up?Real Love Baby” by Father John Misty
When you’re driving?Thinking of You” by Lord Echo
When you’re working out?Change Your Mind” by Britney Spears
When you’re hard at work on a big project?Claire de Lune” by Debussy
To get psyched for a big presentation?Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder
To mellow out at the end of the day?Bam Bam” by Sister Nancy

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