Clarity First Newsletter, January 11, 2019


Clarity First

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

We are way smarter than this. So turn from the noise. Engage instead with an enterprise or idea that you feel in your bones meets your need for community, for connection, for self-realization. Who do you want to be?  What role do you play in supporting the new communities that we want instead?

“Don’t give up. Never give up the fight.” – Bob Marley


Systems Thinking, Ecological Thinking
This is freaky, right?

Ouch. Our coral reefs are dying. Yet, it seems that they might look and act a lot like commuter traffic.
Article: Coral Cities: 30-Minute Urban Commutes Rendered as Blooming Animations


Systems Thinking, Social Progress
“As we now face a global dearth of alternative political ideas, perhaps it’s no wonder we are turning again to the Mahatma for inspiration.”

Gandhi with Lord and Lady Mountbatten. Via Wikimedia Commons

“Modern politics – and its new formula of Twitter hashtags, populist sloganeering and strongman dictators – may seem an unlikely place for the teachings of Gandhi to offer fresh inspiration. But just such a thing also happened during the Cold War, when politics faced some very similar problems.”
Article: Gandhi Is Still Relevant – And Can Inspire a New Form Of Politics Today


New Economy
Milton Friedman was wrong.

“Corporations do have a responsibility to society beyond maximizing profit, which can best be met through adopting the following four strategies:
1. Innovation: Develop new and improved products and services that maximize societal value and minimize environmental impacts.
2. Business strategy: Develop strategies through holistic assessment of impact, not only on business outcomes but on contribution to the common good in space and time.
3. Choice influencing: Use marketing and awareness campaigns to promote sustainable products, consumer behavior and social justice.
4. Private-public collaboration: Invest in social and human capital (including through multisector solutions) for long-term economic development and social justice.”
Article: Milton Friedman Was Wrong: Corporations Do Have Social Responsibility


Value Proposition. Organizational Health
How organizations can clarify a purpose, who they serve, how they serve their core customer and what they celebrate.

Just do it. Then everything else gets easier.
Article: How To Craft A One-Sentence Description Of Your Organization’s Purpose


Design Process, Learning
The best tool for visual thinking.

“Visual thinking — and its sibling, visual communication — are foundational skills for interaction designers. Diagramming is the most commonly found tool in the designer’s arsenal. It would be difficult to design effective behavior without diagramming. We diagram to inventory and categorize the users we observe, the functionality we have to deliver, and the technical challenges we face. We diagram conceptual models of the way our users conceive of their work and how they understand their tools and tasks. And we diagram the course of work we have to perform as members of a team.”
Article: Know Whiteboards, Know Design.


Organization Design, Collective Leadership, Group Productivity
“Collective intelligence in play is one of those things that you can’t unsee once you’ve seen it.”

“There are a few very interesting findings in the original research on collective intelligence. It all starts with an observation that collective intelligence beats the crap out of individual intelligence. In highly collectively intelligent teams’ solutions provided by a group were systematically significantly better than solutions offered by any individual, including the smartest person in the room. However, even in teams with low collective intelligence the group solutions were on par with the best option provided by an individual.”
Article: Why Collective Intelligence Beats Individual Intelligence


Social Messaging, Advertising
Atlanta is used to traffic logjams, but at least this one was for a good cause.

Ad agency BBDO Atlanta used a caravan of 72 school buses to form a billboard to raise awareness of Georgia’s massive number of children sold into sex slavery each year.
Article: 72 School Buses Became a Mile-Long Moving Billboard About the Scope of Human Trafficking



In San Francisco, during the Summer of Love, the Ace of Cups was Haight-Ashbury’s first and only all women band.

Their Wiki page says that “the band was named the Ace of Cups by their manager, astrologer Ambrose Hollingworth, after the Ace of Cups tarot card, which shows a cup with five streams of water. He told the women that the streams represented the five of them, and that they should “go with the flow” to see where the music would take them.”

They did. And the music brought them to a lot of places. They played a whole lot of “free” festivals. They opened for The Band’s first concert. They added vocals to the Airplane’s Volunteers album.  And they played the Altamont Speedway Free Festival, where band member Denise Kaufman was hit in the head by a full beer can thrown by a Hells Angel. She suffered badly.

They limped along until 1972, then called it quits. Until 2017, when they re-united to make their first ever record. They rocked then. They rock now. And don’t you just love rock and roll as a vehicle for human spirit?
Video: Ace of Cups – Feel Good
Video: The Ace of Cups, the Haight’s (Almost) Forgotten All-Girl Band


Image of the Week

The Image of the Week is a one-off setlist in marker of a show that the Rolling Stones performed just shy of three years ago in Havana. Apparently, if you’ve been lucky enough to be backstage at a Stones concert or rehearsal since 2005, you’ve seen one of these. Since then band member Ronnie Wood has been taking the time to chronicle song, song key and sequence of each performance, and then to display the canvas on a prominent backstage easel.

Uncut Magazine (they are stubbornly print only) reports that he says that the setlists are now firmly a part of the process that ensure that the Stones stay fresh after 5 decades on the road. Ronnie is quoted as saying: “We need the motivation, and the setlist is part of that. It means it’s not just another gig. We couldn’t do that. It has to be an event for every single gig.”
Limited Edition Book: The Rolling Stones Setlists


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 tool of transformation. Learn more.

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