Clarity First Newsletter, August 10, 2018

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

This is the 104th weekly edition of this letter, meaning that it is two years old today. Happy birthday, dear reader.

Creative Process

Everything can be redone, and four other things that we can learn from artists.

Jonathan Greene wrote this article for writers. It is relevant for anyone who creates anything.
Article: 5 Things I Learned From Artists That Help My Writing

Gender Dynamics/New Economy

When women go for funding they get less, but produce more revenue per dollar funded.

“The results of the data are illuminating, so I think the next logical question comes –  how can we as a society solve this disparity? I believe that diversity is key, and in fact, diversity is supported by science, it is what gives to our planet life and function. We are interdependent on each other, and the more of each other that we bring in, the better. In fact, diverse companies produce 19% more revenue. Additionally, apart from the societal benefits of having more women involved in all areas of our economy, having more women participate in areas that drive economic growth, will only help our country and lead to prosperity.”
Article: Women Founded Start-Ups Receive Less Funding But Produce Double The Revenue, a Study Finds

New Economy

The game of Monopoly was created to promote common ownership of land.

When the game Monopoly was first patented in 1904 it was quite different than the game we know today. “Called ‘The Landlord’s Game,’ it was like the version you grew up playing, in that it could be won by accruing as many land lots, properties, and cash as possible. But her (developer Elizabeth Magie) version came with a twist. At any time, the players could choose a more egalitarian future by voting in the Single Tax rules.

“Magie admired the radical philosopher Henry George, and hoped the Single Tax rules would educate players of all ages about his proposal for common land ownership. These calls for bold reforms emerged from anxieties of the first Gilded Age. Magie and George had lived through an era marked by rapid economic growth, deep inequality, political corruption, and sprawling industry trusts controlled by a few men. The status quo seemed unsustainable.” Mmm. That sounds familiar.
Article: The Rules of Monopoly

Group Process

Are our committees for important initiatives holding us back?  

It seems that large, representative committees might be the opposite of what new initiatives actually need. Marc Hedlund observes that “The efficiency of the team is approximately the inverse of the square of the number of members in the team. I’m beginning to think three people is the optimal for a 1.0 product release.” And I’m guessing that the same principal applies again when dealing with any big new idea, not just products. How many people does it take to create a great idea?
Article: Why Small Teams Win And Bigger Ones Fail


A designer handbag? Or eight weeks of food. Let me think.

Dutch human services agency Cordaid makes the parallels obvious in an ad campaign of stark contrasts.
Article: I Guess These Models Don’t Sell Products Quite As Well.

Audience Segmentation

Advertising demos ‘are not a good indicator of what people like to watch’.

“As Netflix continues to take over the TV industry—it now has 130 million subscribers in 190 countries, and will spend as much as $8 billion on original programing—the company says it has thrived by programming not to demographics but what it calls ‘taste communities’.

“We found that demographics are not a good indicator of what people like to watch,” said Cindy Holland, vp of original series…

“Instead, Netflix’s scientists have found that there are several connections among content types and what people like to watch, which goes “several layers deeper” than genres. They refer to these as ‘taste communities,’ and have identified 2,000 of them.”
Article: Netflix Thrives By Programming to ‘Taste Communities,’ Not Demographics


Short form video is popular because it works.

“A lot of us avoid doing self breast exams because they’re confusing and scary, but they’re one of the best ways to find cancer early. And the earlier you spot cancer, the better your chances. So, for the sake of your tits (they’ve been loyal friends haven’t they?) watch this two minute “how to” video created by Mae Ryan and Mona Chalabi.” And many of us avoid the challenge of simplifying our story into a compelling 2 minute video.
Video: Touch Your Tits



Rapsody is a 35 year old rapper from Snow Hill, North Carolina. She started rhyming while a student at North Carolina State University, where she met up with producer, 9th Wonder, in 2004. Since then she’s been credited on notable collaborations, and last year they released her second solo album, Laila’s Wisdom, which got a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album of the year. They’ve just released a new album, Beauty and the Beast, and dropped by the Tiny Desk offices to share a few songs. The tight, fluid performance shows off her personable and jazzy style, and her cuttingly direct lyrics.

“Being a female in hip-hop – I know there are a lot of women in here, and you know how hard it is just being on earth – so being a female, a black female in hip-hop, it will be crazy. I do this for everybody, anybody who can relate…I don’t care what class, color, or race you are, ethnicity or religion you are,  it’s all love. But, especially for me, having younger nieces, and nephews and cousins, I want to be a positive role model for women.”

“So, I started rhymin’ and black women are who I am particularly talking to, and it would be crazy. I try to do something different, because in hip-hop nowadays you see one particular image of us. And you know, everything is really sex-ed up, so I want to do something different.”

“I grew up on Lauryn Hill, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, Jean Grae, and all of them all had different styles, and it all shows you the different styles of what sexy and beautiful is.”
Video: Tiny Desk: Rapsody.


Image of the Week

“Whilst the real Villa Savoye stands under UNESCO protection as a world heritage site, in the Vejle fjord, Danish artist Asmund Havesteen-Mikkelsen has sunk a 1:1 replica of Le Corbusier’s masterpiece in his work ‘Flooded Modernity’.

“ ‘For me, the Villa Savoye is a symbol of modernity and enlightenment’, explains the artist. ‘It represents the faith in the critical powers of the human mind in relation to progress and in our use of criticality in the public sphere.’

Villa Savoye, Poissy, France, by Le Corbusier, c 1929

“His disillusionment follows a period defined by political mistrust and privacy breaches: ‘After these scandals, I think our sense of democracy and the public sphere has been distorted…Our sense of modernity has been ‘flooded… I sense the need to ‘re-state’ our political institutions, because our old ones have ‘sunk’.”
Article: Le Corbusier’s Modernist Masterpiece Sunk In A Danish Fjord

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