Clarity First Newsletter,
February 14, 2020

“Societies in decline have no use for visionaries.” – Anais Nin

Clarity First

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

What if Donald J. Trump represented a descending not ascending wave of humanity? What if we recognized him not as a harbinger of the future, but as a representation of a last gasp of a failing system built on genocide, slavery and patriarchy?

What if we recognized the myriad sprouts of humanity’s best potential that are occurring all over the planet?

What if we began to articulate how much prettier, safer, and natural a human civilization built on cooperation, inclusion and education for all will be?

Societies move in waves. A giant wave of polarization and fear is crashing. An even bigger wave of learning, science, trust and belief in the future is emerging.  Let’s learn to surf this wild, wild surf.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Happy Friday.

Learning, Collaboration, Politics

An awful lot-if not most-of what people do can be summed up in one phrase: the need to belong.

Image: Robby McCullough/Unsplash

Nature and science hold the key to learning to cooperate rather than fight. This is a great article about an emerging social psychology that is based on primate’s need to belong. “Human beings have a pervasive drive to form and maintain at least a minimum quantity of lasting, positive, and significant relationships.”

Article: The Desire for Friendship Runs Deeper in Primates Than We Thought

Sharing, Community

A charity that uses busking and street performing to help the homeless

The mission of this organization is simple: if you are homeless or need help, take as much as you need from the case. Musicians report that people give more, and that no one has ever taken all of the money in the case.

Article: NYC Street Performers Offer Tip Money From Their Guitar Cases To Those In Need

Learning, Communications

“When a ‘fact’ tastes good and is repeated enough, we tend to believe it, no matter how false it may be.”

As we enter an election season unlike any we’ve ever seen, an understanding of the measurable phenomenon called the illusory truth effect, can help keep us from being bamboozled.

Article: The Illusory Truth Effect: Why We Believe Fake News, Conspiracy Theories and Propaganda


First, get out of your own way.

“It’s a myth that startups are the world’s drivers of innovation — in fact, company employees are the primary sources of new ideas. But before you can propose them, you need to identify beliefs that are getting in your way. Here’s how, from innovation expert Kaihan Krippendorff.”

Article: To Make Change Happen at Your organization, Here’s the First Step to Take


It’s not how much you spend, it’s how well you spend it.

“The Royal Museums in Greenwich wanted to extend the reach and reputation of the Royal Observatory and improve public understanding of astronomy with an innovative, engaging and effective marketing campaign. The only problem? It had a “miniscule budget” of just £550.

“That did not deter the in-house team, which set about working on a new project – Space LIVE. It aimed to broadcast major astronomical events such as the 2018 lunar eclipse and Ramadan new crescent moon sighting to audiences worldwide using Facebook live.

“Combining live-streams, astronomers’ commentary, user-generated content and SEO, as well as press channels to drive awareness, it delivered its goal. The campaign reached more than 310,000 people on Facebook and generated 193,000 views and 100,000 engagements, as well as driving 360,000 visits to the observatory’s website. It also achieved a number one search ranking on Google.”

Article: How the Royal Observatory Reached a Global Audience with a ‘Miniscule’ Budget

Packaging, Visual Identity

The thought of forgoing cheap throwaway plastic bottles is forcing companies to rethink how consumers interact with their brands in store and at home.

Häagen-Dazs is testing a reusable insulated steel package. Image: Loop

“For centuries, we have relied on a linear model — take, make, use, dispose — at the expense of the environment. A circular model, on the other hand, will require us to design waste and pollution out of products, by keeping materials within a closed loop. This will dramatically change the way products are designed.”

“Delivery / collection systems will increase the importance of durability and product interchangeability over unique, eye-catching designs. While in store, brands will have little control over the vessel consumers decide to use with refill solutions. In these scenarios how can brands respond to maintain a place in our hearts, minds, cupboards and shelves? Here are five predictions.”

Article: What Will a Circular Economy Mean for Branding?


“Remember that being the only one in the room can be an advantage when doing creative work. Your authenticity is the source of your unique power – don’t let anything stifle it!” – Dorian Dargan, @doriandargan

Kristy Tillman, @KristyT.                Fisher Adelakin, @tmidao.                Temi A, @idwithheld

To celebrate Black History Month, webflow asked accomplished black designers: “What advice do you have for black/underrepresented designers?”

Article: Black History Month Spotlight: Advice From 10 Accomplished Black Designers


Last week in his newsletter Austin Kleon shared this:

“RIP Andy Gill, guitarist and co-founder of Gang of Four. I’ve been blasting Entertainment! in the studio and watching old shows of theirs on YouTube. (Check out these performances of “To Hell With Poverty,” “Damaged Goods,” and “He’d Send in the Army,” all from 1980.)”

Andy Gill performs onstage in London, 1978. (Photo by Gus Stewart/Redferns)

Pitchfork had this to say about the influential artist: “If a single word could describe Gang of Four’s Andy Gill—who led a version of the group from their formation in the late 1970s right up until his death on February 1—it might be ‘steely.’  It captures everything from his innovative and massively influential guitar style, which sounded like metal splintering, to his stern stage persona, to his brisk, no-nonsense demeanor in interviews. A guitar-hero for a ‘no more heroes’ era, Gill saw rock as an agent of change: a hammer to reshape reality, not just reflect it.”

Article: Remembering Gang of Four’s Andy Gill

Image of the week

“It was in the dark night of Namibia, in the Namib Desert, that Isabella Tabacchi captured the images that make up her series “Under the sky of Namibia”. Having always felt drawn to the night and its dark landscapes, the Italian photographer dreamed of going to the southern hemisphere to immortalize the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds, a group of two galaxies observable only from the south of the equator. In this nocturnal series, we find the dead trees of Dead Vlei, a bowl of dry clay prized by photographers in the Namib Desert, simply lit by an impressive sky, charged with a multitude of stars.”

Article: Milky Way in Namib Desert

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by me, Mitch Anthony. I help people use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as a pedagogy and toolbox for transformation. Learn more.
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