Clarity First Newsletter, April 28, 2017

I’m studying mindfulness with Shalini Bahl. One of the foundational principles of the practice is impermanence. Nothing stays the same. Everything changes. This week, as the world’s political situation continues to spiral from weird to frighteningly surreal, I am finding comfort in recognizing that this, too, will pass. I do wish, though, that we could find the fast-forward button.

Change is the only constant in the universe, which means that there is no such thing as a stable self.

Adding irony to our “us” vs. “them” struggles, it seems that the selves that we are trying so hard to defend are an illusion.
Article: Neuroscience Learns What Buddhism Has Known For Ages: There is No Constant Self

Connectivity, urbanization, and education are bending the future towards tolerance.

In spite of the seemingly endless news drone of fear and mistrust, the long-term movement is still towards openness, connectedness and tolerance. Here are some ways that brands can play a positive role.
Article: The Future is Still Tolerance

Putting realities over production values

Speaking of brands playing a positive role in promoting tolerance, Heineken’s new “Worlds Apart” campaign is worth watching and sharing. Agency Publicis London found six people with strongly held beliefs—that men are oppressed, that the fight for feminism is far from over; that climate change is real or “piffle”; that transgender people need a voice; that “transgender” is nonsense semantics. Those unwitting candidates were then paired with their opposites and sent together into warehouses, where they found themselves with some instructions to build a piece of furniture: a bar. Once the beer comes out, the fun, and the challenge, begins.
Ad Campaign: Hey Pepsi, Here’s How It’s Done. Heineken Takes On Our Differences, and Nails It

Rule #1: Define one key message you want your audience to remember.

Most people are really nervous about presenting. Good design and prep won’t eliminate the flutters, but it will make it more fun for both you and your audience.
Infographic: How to Give a Killer Presentation

Some of the best examples of UI design are showing up on eCommerce apps.

UI stands for User Interface, and UI is how most digital marketers touch and relate to their audience. In a mobile first world, it’s no surprise that the best UI innovations are appearing first on eCommerce apps.
Article: Take a Look at the Latest eCommerce Mobile App Design Trends.

Search for any phrase and see how its popularity in memes has changed over time. teamed up with data scientist and former NASA researcher Evan Freitag to create a “Google Trends”-style tool for memes.
Cool Tool: Meme Trends

Learning to teach the basics of digital marketing

In last week’s letter I quoted Ernest Hemingway: “The first draft of anything is shit.” This week Dan Green and I presented our first draft of the DIY Digital Marketing Camp, the Survey Course. While it wasn’t crap – we got a lot of great feedback – we did gather a hefty list of things we will do differently in subsequent drafts. On the top of that list, we learned that it’s pretty challenging to introduce Google Analytics at the end of the day, to an audience who has varying levels of experience and interest in getting into the weeds. Here’s a few photos of the workshop, all taken before we all fell off of our analytics bikes into one tired heap.
Photo gallery: The First Ever DIY Digital Marketing Camp, the Survey Course.


I am a huge fan of cover songs. A great artist can cover another artist’s work and make it uniquely his or her own. This week Spotify and I made a compilation of covers, The Covers Album. While all great, I’m especially blown away by Wilson Picket’s 1968 cover of Hey Jude, featuring a young Duane Allman on guitar. Eric Clapton refers to it as “best rock guitar playing on a R&B record, ever.” Others call it the birth of southern rock.

Images of the week

The photo in the small header is of Russia’s Bay of Whales. The photo in the larger header is of Rub’ al Khali Desert, on the Arabian Peninsula. Both were taken from NASA spacecraft, and are reproduced from their amazing Earth Observatory website.

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