He has them buzzing in an apiary at his house in Sherman, Conn., after buying four hives as a gift for his wife, Barbara, thinking that would be a fun project.
The Linder human "hive" is about to get bigger, with the imminent arrival of a daughter, joining his 18-month-oldson, Cortland.
And Mr. Linder considers his new job as national marketing director at KPMG Peat Marwick, New York, a Big 6 accounting firm, as a kind of hive-minding, too.
"Your job as a beekeeper is to make it a lot easier to do what they do anyway," Mr. Linder says. "You manipulate the hive so bees can work more efficiently. In the same way, marketing's role is to sensitize [others'] ability to see and anticipate needs."
But he doesn't mean to suggest that all accountants are drones.
Mr. Linder, 40, last month filled the new KPMG post after more than 16 years at Young & Rubicam and Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, where he toiled on accounts ranging from Xerox Corp. to KPMG archrival Andersen Consulting. Most recently, he was executive account director for Nynex Corp. at O&M.
The green eye-shade line of work isn't as alien from the fast-paced agency business as you'd think, Mr. Linder says. Both provide services and cultivate relationships with clients.
"The specifics of the business are different, but culturally, it's far more compatible here than you would imagine when you're just [comparing] advertising to accounting," he said. "They're both driven by organizing resources around client needs."
Both industries have also struggled through consolidations, reorganizations and retrenchments, mirroring those at client companies. And both find themselves offering a different range of services than they had previously.
KPMG recently threw out an organizational structure based on taxation, auditing and other typical accounting functions, and moved instead toward one fo cused on geography and client industry segments, like banking regulations.
It's those changes that led to creation of Mr. Linder's job, which in cludes managing a $10 million ad campaign from Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising that positions the accounting company as a "global leader."
"We had to go out and become a marketing-focused organization before we could say we were one," he says. But advertising, while valuable, is far less important as an image builder for accounting than for consumer brands.
One of his key roles is to "aggregate the little signals we hear from individual clients" to refine KPMG's services and management approach.
Besides bees, Mr. Linder and his brother are fans of Outward Bound, an outdoor adventure group, and his time on Nynex made him a technophile. He says he's "endlessly fascinated" with the Internet computer network, through which he keeps in touch with acquaintances.
His wife, Barbara, whom he met at Y&R, creates commercial jingles and owns Sick as a Dog Productions, where her current reel includes a rap jingle for Procter & Gamble Co.'s Pringles potato chips. Both also live in a Manhattan apartment when not spending time buzzing around Connecticut.