Clarity First Newsletter, June 28, 2019

“When copies are free, you need to sell things that cannot be copied. Well, what can’t be copied? Trust, for instance.” – Kevin Kelly

Clarity First

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

Last week in this space I referred to the solstice as one of two days of the year when day is as long as night. Wow. Those, of course, are the equinoxes. And I, of course, know that. In fact, my very first business was called The Equinox. (Scroll way down, it’s a long article. The Equinox is featured at the bottom.) By now I think I’m done beating myself up, and by now I hope you can forgive me my distracted stumble.

Meanwhile, one week after the longest day of the year summer has finally arrived in the Northeast U.S.. The days are still very long, afternoons are hot and the first day lilies are blooming. Happy Friday.


New Economy

“The central economic imperative of the new economy is to amplify relationships.”

Stowe Boyd calls himself a “work ecologist, iconoclast, and imperfectionist”. He leads the research group Work Futures, which explores “critical themes of the ecology of work, and the anthropology of the future”.

He wrote this manifesto in 2015. If anything his prognostications seem even more relevant today.

“While the coercive controls of early industrialism have gradually transitioned toward a more consensus-based managerial regime, and hierarchies have flattened, businesses remain profoundly undemocratic on the whole. Today’s late industrial form factor of work is a tailored version of its predecessor, but it is the same fabric and style. It is not as slow to change as the industrial behemoths of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s day, but today’s way is too slow and tight for the economy we are now in: the postnormal.”

Article: A Manifesto for a New Way of Work



How to get over the fear of the blank page and keep on creating.

Jenni Avins & Jason Karaian just got back from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. “The ‘festival’ is in fact an advertising conference, where the world’s biggest agencies and consultancies, social media platforms, and brands gather to celebrate, well, themselves.”

“There are a lot of creative people here, and disciplined ones at that. People whose jobs require them to have good ideas, again and again, under great scrutiny.

Jenna Lyons, who is working on a new content-and-commerce project (including TV show), after more than 25 years at J.Crew and a two-year sabbatical.

“As we covered this week’s conference, we asked many of those people how they get over the fear of the blank page and keep on creating. What do they do to break out of a creative rut?”

Their hacks include showing up, doing a whole lot of work, respecting deadlines and “Whatever is going on, trust it. It’s yours, you’ll find something uniquely you through it”.

Article: How the World’s Most Creative People Break Out of a Rut



“Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they’re crazy enough.”

Speaking of Cannes, the “Lions” in the title are the actual awards that the festival bestows for creativity in advertising. This year Nike’s Dream Crazy,” starring Colin Kaepernick, by the Portland, Oregon-based agency Wieden+Kennedy was a Lion winner that got a lot of buzz.

I challenge you to watch this spot without welling up, at least a little bit. Yes, this is one of the biggest brands in the world, supported by one of the best ad agencies in the world, and I’m sure they spent millions making this ad. But check it out, as of this writing the spot had earned more than 29 million views. That’s not paid media, that’s earned media. Because I’d want to watch it again. And because I want to tell you about it.

Video: Nike – Dream Crazy


Creativity. Brand

Time and again it has been shown that more creative brands deliver better business results.

“With the increased attention put on determining the impact of media, creativity has seemed to be in decline but new methods and a renewed focus could reignite the spark.”

Article: Measuring The Magic: Why Brands Need To Refocus On The Effectiveness Of Creativity



Brand trust is now an essential buying consideration for most consumers. But most brands don’t have it.

“The survey of 16,000 people in eight countries reveals that brand trust (81 percent) is a deal breaker or a deciding factor when they’re considering a purchase, trailing only quality (85 percent), convenience (84 percent), value (84 percent) and ingredients (82 percent).”

But, ouch. “Despite its importance, brands are currently failing the trust test.”

Press Release: Only One-Third Of Consumers Trust Most Of The Brands They Buy


Design Process

A toolkit that was created to help bring groups together to accomplish a shared goal.

As a part of Frog Design’s commitment to social impact, the group has gathered a set of activities and methods that enables groups of people anywhere to organize, collaborate, and create solutions for problems affecting their community.

“The Collective Action Toolkit was created to help bring groups together to accomplish a shared goal. It consists of an action map and activities six areas. These activities offer different ways to develop solutions to make change happen in a community or organization.” Then, they give it away.

PDF: Collective Action Toolkit



Brian Eno invented ambient music. Now he has an asteroid named for him.

“Life of Brian by cosciansky is licensed under CC BY 2.0 
“Today in In Space, No One Can Hear Your Gentle, Ambient Airport Music News: Brian Eno has an asteroid now. Per Rolling Stone, the Roxy Music member and David Bowie/David Byrne/other famous musicians not named David collaborator has just joined the ranks of J.R.R. Tolkien, Mark Twain, and mutant supervillain Magneto by getting an asteroid named after himself.”

Article: Brian Eno Has an Asteroid Now



Last week Pink Floyd co-founder David Gilmour sold his guitar collection at auction, promising to give the proceeds away via his charitable foundation.

The song Wish You Were Here “came out of” this guitar.

Prior to the sale he made this charming short video in which he describes the special relationship he’s had with these instruments. He says “You pick up a guitar that you’ve never played before and sometimes it will gift you a tune. So, many of the guitars in this sale have earned their keep, you might say.” Then he goes on to play riffs that you’ve heard dozens of times, on the guitars that “gifted” him those songs.

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Gilmour’s famous “Black Strat” sold for $3,975,000, a new world record for a guitar at auction.

By the time the final gavel dropped he had raised 21.5 million dollars. His famous “Black Strat”, which was an integral part of the sound he achieved on seminal albums like Dark Side of the Moon, and Wish You Were Here, sold for $3,975,000, a new world record for a guitar at auction. In the film he says “Shine on You Crazy Diamond came out of this guitar. In one way or another it’s probably on most tracks from 1970 through the middle ‘80s.” Yeah, I guess that guitar “earned its keep”.

Video: The David Gilmour Guitar Collection


Image of the Week

The image in the header of this letter and the image of the week are still shots from an astonishingly beautiful stop-action film called -N- Uprising.

About the film artist, Thomas Blanchardsays:

“-N- Uprising is an experimental video that evokes the cycles of nature. The video highlights several species of insects and flowers on colored backgrounds.

“For 7 months, I observed insects and mainly the butterfly cycle where we see the caterpillar turn into chrysalis and then the butterfly out of the chrysalis.
“The Insect videos were filmed in 8K with camera RED Helium 8K.

“The flower outbreaks are an assemblage of hundreds of 5K photos that have been made on a regular interval.” Watching orchids open makes it really easy to see why “the birds and the bees” is such a common metaphor for sex.

Video: -N- Uprising HDR


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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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