Clarity First Newsletter, April 20, 2018

Clarity First
A notebook about how we work, and learn, and love and live.

One of the worst parts of the Trump presidency is the fact that his “Clowntown Fuck-the-World Shitshow” (John Oliver’s phrase) virtually guarantees that there is no oxygen left for discussing actual policy in any shape or form. So, fighting that tide, this week’s letter starts with a policy discussion.


Ten policy goals worth fighting for

Can you articulate the policies that your political representatives stand for? I can’t either. Y Combinator president Sam Altman reminds us that democracy is a participatory sport. Last year he launched the United Slate, an initiative to find political solutions that would work in his home state of California, and maybe the nation too. He’s named ten policy goals that are worth fighting for.
Article: Set the Politics Aside. It’s Time to Talk About Policy.

Design Process

Presenting design work is a design problem.

Colleagues hear me say it often: the difference between good and great work is the number of iterations you’re willing to develop. Between each one the work benefits from honest critique. But some design critiques go really well, while others go sideways and frustrate everyone involved. Here’s some simple guidelines to help you facilitate a critique that inspires and energizes you to take the work to the next level.
Article: Getting the Most Out of Design Critiques

Socially Conscious Companies

“Now there is choice. Change can happen.”

In partnership with A Plastic Planet (APP), Netherlands-based grocery chain Ekoplaza has opened the world’s first plastic-free aisle at one of their stores in Amsterdam. APP co-founder Siân Sutherland says “This is the first step. It shows the world, especially retailers, that it’s possible to shop plastic-free now. Of course, it’s not perfect. It’s called Ekoplaza Lab because it’s an evolving retail lab growing daily as new materials and brands come forth, encouraged by the prospect of being part of this change. Our Plastic-Free Aisle is just one of many solutions that we need now to fast-track our way out of the plastic disaster we have all collectively created.”
Article: The World’s First Plastic-Free Aisle


Brilliant advice on presenting

The best way to make 5-minute presentation? Give a 4-minute presentation and take your time.
Blog Post: How to Give a 5-Minute Presentation

Group Process

If you know the right way to lodge an objection, it can actually smooth the way for better communication.

It might be hard to see conflict as anything but a barrier to communication, but it can be an effective tool.
Article: How To Turn Conflict Into A Communication Tool


What’s that font?

Logotypes are, of course, made from typefaces. La Criatura Creativa has done the homework to identify exactly what face was used to create some of the world’s most recognized marks.
Article: Logofonts: These Are the Fonts Used in Some of the Most Famous Logos

Personal Productivity

What makes the to-do list such a effective productivity tool?

Between my poly-interest mind and various commitments competing for attention, I’d be screwed without structured and prioritized to-do lists. Psychologist David Cohen has been rooting around to find out how and why they work so well.
Article: The Psychology of the To-Do List – Why Your Brain Loves Ordered Tasks



In 1999 John Lurie, best known as the leader of the tongue-in-cheek jazz combo the Lounge Lizards, released an album by a fictional African-Jewish musician he named Marvin Pontiac. The Legendary Marvin Pontiac: Greatest Hits included a biographical profile of the troubled genius, and a photograph (above) that was purported to be one of the few ever taken of him. “For a long time, I was threatening to do a vocal record. But the idea of me putting out a record where I sang seemed ostentatious or pretentious. Like the music of Telly Savalas . . . I don’t sing very well, I was shy about it. As a character, it made it easier.”

This week I used one of “Pontiac’s” songs, Small Car, to set the tone for a playlist.
Playlist: Music for Moderns, April 20, 2018


Image of the Week

Russian Orthodox believers attend the Orthodox Easter service in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, Russia, on April 8, 2018. Photo by Mikhail Svetlov / Getty. via The Atlantic

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by Mitch Anthony, and Clarity, the consultancy that helps mission-driven companies use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as powerful tools for transformation. Learn more.

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