Clarity First Newsletter, July 6, 2018

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

Worldwide people are learning to realize and to use humanity’s potential. But every time we let the fear mongers – the wannabe autocrats and dictators – spread their hate, we compromise our best hopes. Let’s stand together for truth, love, justice and creativity. Let’s stand for the potential we haven’t yet held.

Danny Meyer at Union Square Cafe. Photograph by Caitlin Ochs

Organizational Culture

How the restaurant mogul behind Union Square Cafe, Shake Shack, and many other dining destinations uses culture to drive scale.

“Enlightened hospitality drives a virtuous business cycle that revolves around respect, relationships, and revenues. The cycle starts with hiring naturally empathetic people, whom workplace psychologist Adam Grant calls “givers,” and continues by investing in their professional and personal growth. Employees share their goodwill with customers, and that positive dynamic drives the repeat business that is so critical to restaurant profitability.”
Article: Danny Meyer’s Recipe for Success


Organizational Culture

As jobs continue to be disrupted, hiring people for a mission is more critical than filling open positions. 

Here are five ways to get you started. “Number 1: Focus on the mission, let people figure out the how.”
Article: Hire People for the Mission, Not Just to Do a Job

Group Productivity

Why brilliant AI technologies are not leading to widespread growth and prosperity, yet.

“Productivity growth in most of the world’s rich countries has been dismal since around 2004. Especially vexing is the sluggish pace of what economists call total factor productivity—the part that accounts for the contributions of innovation and technology. In a time of Facebook, smartphones, self-driving cars, and computers that can beat a person at just about any board game, how can the key economic measure of technological progress be so pathetic? Economists have tagged this the “productivity paradox.”
Here’s a hint: “AI is what economic historians consider a “general-purpose technology.” These are inventions like the steam engine, electricity, and the internal-combustion engine. Eventually they transformed how we lived and worked. But businesses had to be reinvented, and other complementary technologies had to be created to exploit the breakthroughs. That took decades.”
Article: The Productivity Paradox

Design Process

CEOs who are design thinkers now need to add ‘design doing’ to their toolkit.

“To personalize an experience in the context of the moment-to understand what makes a customer human-Reinventors don’t just plumb lots of data, though they do that well. They’re design thinkers. They approach problems with a sense of empathy for their customers, which helps them explore and consider the right questions.” – IBM 2017 Global C-suite Study
Article: What Every CEO Needs to Know About Design

Design Process

Your “proposed solution” might answer the wrong problem.

“Simply stated, the first ‘problem’ to solve is always exposing the ‘true’ problem.”
Article: Brainstorm Questions, Not Solutions


Visual Identity

How an Adobe font became the go-to typeface for modern films. 

In 1989 designer Carol Twombly adapted inscriptions from a Roman antiquity called Trajan’s Column to create a new typeface. Adobe, her employer, named it Trajan. Three years later the makers of At Play in the Field of the Lord employed the new face for that film’s identity. Before that year, 1992, was out two more major Hollywood films had built their graphic look with the new face built from the ancient ruins. In the next year three more major Hollywood films used the newly classic face, and by 1994 it was everywhere. This is fun short film about the role that type plays in movies, and how different it is now that films don’t tend to hire hand-letterers anymore.
Video: How One Typeface Took Over Movie Posters


Advertising

It’s about the idea.

Einstein said that if you can’t explain an idea simply, then you don’t understand it well enough. Print advertising is an elegant challenge. How simply can you make your offer to me? Creative Bloq still believes in good advertising, and they’ve curated a portfolio of some of the smartest and most impactful to run recently.
Article: 66 Brilliant Print Adverts

Music

Playlist

“Before he became the king of pop art, Pittsburgh native Andy Warhol moved to New York to make it…Warhol worked as an illustrator, drawing shoe and purse advertisements for newspapers, or anything that came his way. Eventually he oversaw one of the busiest graphic design offices in New York, and along the way he turned out some album covers. His pen and ink sketches were rendered in a light, floating, linear style that had antecedents in Ben Shahn and David Stone Martin.”

While Warhol never showed an infinity for jazz, he did draw covers for some jazz greats, like this two album series on Blue Note by guitarist Kenny Burrell, Blue Lights Volumes 1 & 2. If you want to cherry pick, go to Autumn in New York, the last cut. That’s Kenny Burrell on guitar, Bobby Timmons on piano, Sam Jones on bass, and Art Blakey on drums.

Art

Images of the Week

“In many ways, Banksy has been a Situationist artist, as he has long used the street for political theory, intervention and at times, anti-authority and anti-capitalistic values. The fact that this particular May 68 anniversary spoke to one of the most famous artists in the world, that within these protests there was graffiti and stencil art proclaiming a reclaiming of the streets for the people, is a great gesture from Banksy, who is highly aware of not only his fame and audience, but the origins of the art forms he practices today.”
Article: 50 Years After the 1968 Protests in France, Banksy Honors the History of Stencil Activism in Paris

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by Mitch Anthony. I help mission-driven companies use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as powerful tools for transformation. Learn more.

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