Clarity First Newsletter, January 12, 2018

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

This week two U.S. leaders portrayed two starkly different views of human potential. First, Oprah Winfrey drew us all together with the simple observation that “speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” Then, the man who currently holds the title of our president drove a wedge between us by wondering aloud why we need pay attention to any “shithole” country. I’m with Oprah. My vote goes to learning to love.

Stories are like nutrition for our souls.

“Neural coupling enables us to connect to the story and personalize it. We connect to the storyteller via mirror neurons, we get deeply engaged and feel/hear/see and even smell/taste what’s happening in the story too. And dopamine, a feel good neurotransmitter gets released when a story is emotionally engaging. And that’s just a start.”
Article: Why Leaders Need To Be Great Storytellers

“Aside from being the right thing to do, surprising people with kindness and individual attention can help a business achieve success.”

Aarron Walter is former Director of User Experience for MailChimp and is now the VP of Design Education at InVision. He’s gathered some of what he’s learned in a book, Designing for Emotion. The folks at Tubik Studio gathered 35 tips from the book and posted them on their blog.
Article: Design for Emotion: Expert Tips by Aarron Walter

The customer value chain explained

I’ve told you about Jono Hey, the designer who explains something with a sketch every week. His work is brain candy. Let him grace your inbox with a free subscription.

“I’ve found this model useful in my thinking so many times. Also known as the Buying Hierarchy, it’s a model that illustrates a common evolution — though not perfect nor universal — in products and markets where an original innovation provides a performance or functionality benefit over what others can provide. As a result they can charge more as no one else does it.

“When others come to deliver that too, then the focus for the customer can move to which delivers the most reliable quality. When the reliability is the same from different providers then we’ll choose the one that is more convenient.

“Only once all else is equal does the lowest price option become the winning one. At this stage you’re selling a commodity where people could choose to get the same thing, just as easily, for the same quality in several places.

“There’s a business to be made at each stage, but it’s sensible to know where you’re competing.”
Sketchplanation: The Customer Value Chain

Scenario: the economy cures politics

Martin Wolf of the Financial Times suggests that “the bad politics of today are, in significant part, the result of the bad economics of the past, especially the post-crisis malaise in high-income countries and the impact of the subsequent commodity price collapse on many emerging and developing countries.”

But he’s hopeful. “One may hope that as the world economy recovers and optimism about the future becomes entrenched, the distemper of politics in so many countries will start to heal. This might also begin to restore confidence in political and economic elites. That might make politics less bellicose and more consensual. It might also pull debate away from the wilder shores of populism.”
Blog Post: Something Worth Struggling For

Go through the motions, your motivation will follow.

Einstein said, “Nothing happens until something moves.” It turns out that the guy was a motivational coach, too. Often just getting started sparks momentum, which, in turn, changes your mood. Then your motivation catches up.
Article: 5 Ways to Get Motivated When You’re in a Funk

Different types of work require different types of schedules.

“Managers don’t necessarily need the capacity for deep focus — they primarily need the ability to make fast, smart decisions. In a three-minute meeting, they have the potential to generate (or destroy) enormous value through their decisions and expertise.

“A maker’s schedule is different. It is made up of long blocks of time reserved for focusing on particular tasks, or the entire day might be devoted to one activity. Breaking their day up into slots of a few minutes each would be the equivalent of doing nothing.

“The important point to note is that people who successfully combine both schedules do so by making a clear distinction, setting boundaries for those around them, and adjusting their environment in accordance.”
Article: Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You

This ad gives interactivity new meaning.

IKEA is famous for turning assumptions upside down, assumptions like “good design is expensive”. And they’re famous for being able to keep the new ideas coming, like this ad for the Sundvik crib. If you are pregnant they’ll give you the crib for half price. How do you know if you’re pregnant? Just drop some of mom’s urine on the pregnancy test at the bottom of the magazine ad.

The best advertising provides true value. It is entertaining. It assumes the audience’s intelligence, and it is generous of spirit. This ad is a great example.
Video: IKEA Pee Ad


Sylvan Esso is an electronic pop duo from Durham, North Carolina. According to their website,they were not meant to be a band. “Rather, Amelia Meath had written a song called ‘Play It Right’ and sung it with her trio Mountain Man. She’d met Nick Sanborn, an electronic producer working under the name Made of Oak, in passing on a shared bill in a small club somewhere. She asked him to scramble it, to render her work his way. He did the obligatory remix, but he sensed that there was something more important here than a one-time handoff: Of all the songs Sanborn had ever recast, this was the first time he felt he’d added to the raw material without subtracting from it, as though, across the unseen wires of online file exchange, he’d found his new collaborator without even looking.” We’re really lucky he had. Here’s a thirty minute set they performed at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Paris last November.

Images of the week

While working as a waiter Yuki Tatsumi noticed that customers would often fold the paper in which their chopsticks were wrapped into intricate miniature artworks, and leave them behind at the table after their meals. He started to collect them, and to reach out to other restaurants for their tiny sculptures. He has now amassed a collection of 13,000 chopstick paper origami.
Article: Yuki Tatsumi Collects Chopstick Sleeve Origami Left Behind at Restaurants.

What’s Clarity First?

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