Clarity First Newsletter, December 1, 2017

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

Since launching this letter in the summer of 2016, I’ve followed the lead of some of my favorite newsletters and used a text-only layout, save one image of the week. But this week I’m experimenting with a new format. For those stories that are made markedly clearer with the addition of an image, I’m using an image. What do you think? As always, I value your feedback and comments.

In groups or one-on-one conversations, in social or professional contexts, women are disproportionately interrupted by both men and by women. 

This is true even at the level of the Supreme Court. “Overall, female justices were three times more likely to be interrupted than their male colleagues.”
Article: How Men Continue to Interrupt Even the Most Powerful Women 

Trust rises when we recognize our basic human capacity to collaborate with each other.

“Trust between people is an outcome of allowing people to freely self-organize. Complex networks of trust emerge and change as people continuously negotiate their relationships.”
Article: How Self-Organization Happens

Fast layers innovate, slow layers stabilize

Last week I wrote about Jono Hey, the designer who explains something with a sketch every week. He’s so clear and concise that I’m going to start to feature his drawings regularly. This week’s drawing explains a concept from one of my favorite thinkers, Stewart Brand.

“I love this concept from Stewart Brand, that different aspects of the world change at different speeds. So, fashion and art changes and cycles faster than commerce which is faster than infrastructure, and in turn governance, culture and finally Nature. The outer layers tend to innovate faster and so pull along, or be stabilized by, the lower, slower layers. At the boundaries you get constructive turbulence, say between Uber and governance, or how the growth in video streaming requires Internet infrastructure to come along with it. I’m sure you can find counter examples, but as a framework for thinking about big complex things I find it quite handy.”
Sketchplanation: Pace Layers

Good work

Union Cowork builds shared office spaces throughout California. They knew they wanted to grow, so they hired Caava Design to help them think through their brand promise, their brand identity, their online presence and the look and feel of the spaces themselves. This is a model case study.
Behance post: Union Cowork Brand & Website

On social media, when others zig, you zag.

If you haven’t noticed, everyone is now clamoring for attention on social media. In just a few years it has morphed into a clogged freeway at rush hour. But there are still some old-school ways that worked before the world digitized, ways that may work even better now.
Article: 11 Ways to Improve Branding Without Using Social Media

What font is that?

WhatTheFont is a mobile typeface recognition tool that will identify any font you spot in the wild and photograph with your smartphone.
Article: The Shazam for Typefaces Will Tell You If That’s Helvetica or Futura

Keep it simple, stupid.

Even if you don’t think your website’s design is too cluttered, there’s always room for improvement.
Article: Why Websites with Simple Designs Have Higher Conversion Rates


One of the benefits of having adult kids is that those kids grew up listening to you listen to music, so they know your taste really well. And then they turn you on to stuff you’re bound to like, but that you may not know. Like Big Thief. My son Devan just played them for me. He’s right, this Brooklyn four piece went right to the top of my playlists. Here they are playing live on KEXP this summer. Or click the photo (All New!) to watch them play a Tiny Desk Concert, during the same summer tour.

Image of the week

“It is a portrait, a present-day contemporary view of the small towns and rural areas of the Black Belt region of Alabama. What I have sought to convey is the reality as I see it and the emotions that accompany it.” – photographer Jerry Siegel. Siegel was born and raised in Selma, AL, and graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta. Ain’t Bad has great article about his recent collection, titled Black Belt Color.

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by 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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