Clarity First Newsletter, December 8, 2017

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

Damn, these are trying times. As the bumper sticker says, “If you’re not paranoid, you’re not paying attention.” From here Obama’s promise that we could hope again seems naive. I’ve never known a time when so many people, myself included, express so much fear and distress. But, at the risk of appearing Pollyannaish, it’s also impossible to ignore the myriad ways in which people are coming together to co-learn completely new ways of working, loving and living.

Each other is the answer, not the problem. Our democracy is in peril. Get up. Stand up. Turn toward each other.

We’re squandering the world’s greatest resource

When talented kids with low social and economic status can’t access quality education we all lose. There’s research to prove it.
Article: Groundbreaking Empirical Research Shows Where Innovation Really Comes From

The key to happiness

Zen priest and leader of the one of the most in-depth studies of human happiness ever undertaken, Robert Waldinger has discovered that science and Buddhism arrive at the same basic answer. “Moving beyond the small self is a huge source of both meaning and contentment.”
Article: A Zen Priest at Harvard Finds the Key to Happiness

Learning to contribute to a world that provides a high quality of life for everyone

Chemical company BASF has developed a new approach to measuring a business’s contribution to society, one that can be deployed across industries.
Article: What Is Your Company’s True Value to Society? The Answer Might Surprise You

Your vision and values want to swing with your customer’s vision and values.

Your brand is where the loops of infinity cross. One loop is defined by clear definition of vision, mission and values. The other loop represents how that offer meets the needs of the people you serve.
Article: The Only Thing Missing is the Brand Promise.

Work from most important to least important information.

“A handy journalist technique whereby you write in such a way that even a cursory glance at an article gives the key facts, and the further you read down you increase your knowledge with the next most important facts. As opposed to say, a chronological account of an event where the important stuff may be at the end.

“Given how people read on the web generally, it’s pretty good to keep in mind for anything you write on the web too.”
Sketchplanation: Inverted Pyramid Writing

Not your father’s, or even older sister’s, marketing budget

Don’t worry. Nobody else knows the new rules either.
Article: 6 Marketing Trends To Help You Budget For 2018

Co-creating a learning community

The Timber Framers Guild is a national membership association dedicated to educating the rest of us about the craft, beauty and capabilities of timber framing. They’ve got a new program they call the Craft of Business Summit. I am honored that they turned to me to offer a bespoke version of my DIY Brand Camp as their first Summit offering.

Here’s some great shots of the first cohort in Portland, OR. They reveal one of the primary benefits of the work, as summarized by a camper; “the workshop is derived largely from the contributions of the participants, who were open, engaged and working hard.”
Article: Teaching Timber Framers to Frame Their Brand


The day I realized that I had a new favorite band was the day that the song Ultimate Painting by the band Ultimate Painting showed up on a Spotify playlist. My first impression was that Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks had a new album, and that is a very good first impression. But this is a completely new band (circa 2014) centered around two guitar players from London who record in one’s bedroom. And that’s what I love about their deliciously soft, interwound, and pleasingly asymmetrical sound; I recognized it immediately, and I’ve never heard it before. It could have been made in the 60s (Velvets), the 70s (Television), the 80s (REM), 90s (Pavement), or the 00s (play along at home). Here’s a really nice four song set recorded at Findspire Studios in Paris, or another  with interview, live on KEXP, in Seattle.

Images of the week

“The photographs in Americans Seen were made between 1979 and 1986, when Sage Sohier was a young photographer living in Boston. As Sohier writes in her introduction, ‘In that pre-digital and less paranoid era, families — and especially children and teenagers — used to hang out in their neighborhoods. A kind of theater of the streets emerged from the boredom of hot summer days and it was a great time to photograph people outside.’ ”
Article: American Seen: Photographs from a Pre-Digital, Less Paranoid Era

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