Read Why I hate funnels
Read Why I hate funnels
In 1972, Tom Wolfe criticized companies for creating logos for no other reason but to look modern:
The abstract total-design logo is the most marvelous fraud that the American graphic arts have ever perpetrated upon American business. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, these abstract logos, which a company (Chase Manhattan, Pan Am, Winston Sprocket, Kor Ban Chemical) is supposed to put on everything from memo pads to the side of its fifty-story building, make absolutely no impact–conscious or unconscious–upon its customers or the general public, except insofar as they create a feeling of vagueness and confusion….Yet millions continue to be poured into the design of them. Why? Because the conversion to a total-design abstract logo format somehow makes it possible for the head of the corporation to tell himself: “I’m modern, up-to-date, a man of the future. I’ve streamlined this old baby.” Why else would they have their companies pour $30,000, $50,000, $100,000 into the concoction of symbols that any student at Pratt could, and would gladly, give him for $125 plus a couple of lunches at the Trattoria, or even the Zum-Zum? The answer: if the fee doesn’t run into five figures, he doesn’t feel streamlined. Logos are strictly a vanity industry, and all who enter the industry should be merciless cynics if they wish to guarantee satisfaction.
To which Mark Wilson at FastCoDesign adds his two cents:
I can’t top Tom Wolfe–but I’d add just two more observations to his own:
1. Paying a Pratt student $35 to make a logo is. . .pretty much what Nike did to create the swoosh in 1971, the year before this criticism was printed. Wolfe surely would not have heard of the tiny Oregon shoe company yet, meaning his criticism was, at least partially, prophetic.
2. You could replace “logo” with almost any overrated trend and “business” with “the American people,” and this whole excerpt still sings. Try “fancy hamburger” or “wide leg pant.” Wolfe makes an almost algebraic argument in this passage that any product that one must rub their chin whilst critiquing is almost surely a fraud.
Of course, logos are ubiquitous. Branding is critical. We think in logos. We associate items with certain brands.
We have to assume that everything we do today will at some point be replaced by something quicker, cheaper, and more personalized.
Dumping the problems on tomorrow will get us rekt.
The first thing Darwin’s finches did was grow adaptive beaks. They survived by optimizing their behavior for the micro-market. Some formed specialized beaks just for eating seeds, other grubs, buds and fruit, and insects.
Specialization prolonged their survival.
Sure, the big companies have all the data. But their experience at harvesting attention often fails to attract the customer in search of a unique experience.
People want to consume things they talk about. And they don’t always want Starbucks.
Jeff Bezos has an interesting system for making decisions. He sees them as either irreversible or reversible. The simple heuristic pushed him to start Amazon, knowing that he could just go back to his old job if things didn’t work out. Writes the Farnam Street blog:
“Bezos considers 70% certainty to be the cut-off point where it is appropriate to make a decision. That means acting once we have 70% of the required information, instead of waiting longer. Making a decision at 70% certainty and then course-correcting is a lot more effective than waiting for 90% certainty.”
If the door swings both ways, why not give whatever we’re passionate about our best shot. The worst that can happen is that someone slams the door in our face or locks the other side. And that may be just the message that it’s time to pivot. They’re meant to astonish us, to jolt us out of our everyday thoughts:
We don’t need to collect all the information before we endeavor. We can reduce indecision by replacing it with the astonishment of doing. There is little reason to think in absolutes. Wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson: “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” —Ralph Waldo EmersonClick To Tweet
Photographer Susan Ressler released a collection of black and white images capturing the corporate culture of Los Angeles in the 1970s. From the clunky computers to the banal office plant and male-dominated executives, she captures the industrial economy perfectly.
Ressler writes on her website:
“Executive Order” depicts corporate America in the late 1970s, mostly in Los Angeles and the Mountain West. The sunbelt was exploding and so was corporate excess. Daylight Books is publishing this work in Spring 2018. Why 40 years later? Because now, in the era of Trump, we face the same dangers that ensue when corporations are deregulated and when profits “trump” people.
Her images are stark reminders of a culture that was and still is prevalent today.
“Another flaw in human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance,” said Kurt Vonnegut.
Everybody’s wants to start something, but they rarely want to maintain it.
The problem in growing at no costs is that it blinds integrity. Instead of leading by example, the race to the bottom unearths the highest greed.
“The selfish reason to be ethical is that it attracts the other ethical people in the network.” Naval Ravikant
That’s the lesson of Facebook, the so-called ‘behavior modification empire.‘ The social network cut corners on data collection to make another buck. No Facebook, we will not answer any more questions “to help people get to know us.” Replace the word “people” with the attention merchants.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal was the nudge Facebook needed to become more accountable. Seizing the data of others and building on top of it contorts the machinery of morality. Sometimes the genie of innovation has to contain the miraculous.
If you use Powerpoint, a few principles and tips to keep in mind when using type on a slide:
Don’t read the words. It’s bad enough that people use Powerpoint as a sort of teleprompter. Much worse that you don’t trust the audience enough to read what you wrote. If you want them to read the precise words, stand quietly until they do. If you want to paraphrase the words, that can work.
Big font, few words. And use pictures. Your narrative is the message.
Words on slides by Seth Godin
52 Insights interviewed legendary business strategist and author Don Tapscott about the blockchain. Bitcoin is the archetype, kind of like how email was for the web.
His predictions are always worth listening to:
The way that we view it is that blockchain represents the second era of the internet. The first era for decades was the internet of information. Now we’re getting an internet of value. Where anything of value which including money, our identities, cultural assets like music, even a vote can be stored, managed, transacted and moved around in a secure private way.
And where trust is not achieved by an intermediary it’s achieved by collaborative cryptography through some clever code which is why Alex and I call it the trust protocol. Trust is native to the medium.
We do have a prosperity paradox today, that for the first time in history our economies are growing, but our prosperity is declining, we have growing wealth but a stagnant middle class, the only solution to this problem is the so-called redistribution of wealth taxing the rich and distributing the wealth. We believe what blockchain enables is a redistribution of wealth that is through blockchain we can create a more of a democratic economy where we a priori distribute the wealth through peoples direct interaction with the economy.
We can ensure that creatives of value are more fairly compensated, so songwriters who have had their revenue destroyed by the internet can now post music on the blockchain and because of a smart contract your music is now protected by intellectual property rights. So those are just a handful of ways where we can create a more democratic economy in the first place.
The blockchain is future of the economic order where everyone owns their own virtual identity, all backed by ‘cryptographic proof.’ But will blockchain empower more equality or unfold into data exploitation as the FANG (Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon) have done to round one of the internet?
Cross your fingers. 🤞
Consistency is a series of small efforts that over time add up to create a big impact. Seth Godin calls this ‘the drip‘, or what Simon Sinek calls doing ‘the little things.’
Little things are the deeds one fulfills over a period of time. Whether it’s for love or business, good habits strengthen relationships and build trust.
It turns out that honesty and unselfishness are good for companies and good for life.
Sinek’s latest book Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team came out last September.
Good things take time. If we all settled for immediate results, there would be no Apple, Amazon, or Tesla.
The world’s best leaders are visionaries. They work years ahead, having planted the seeds for what’s happening now to springboard them into the future.
When asked what he thinks when analysts congratulate him on a good quarter, Jeff Bezos said:
“Those quarterly results were fully baked three years ago. Today I’m working on a quarter that will happen in 2020, not next quarter. Next quarter is done already and it’s probably been done for a couple years…If we have a good quarter it’s because of work we did 3, 4, 5 years ago. It’s not because we did a good job this quarter.”
What Jeff Bezos thinks when an Analyst congratulates him on a "good quarter". pic.twitter.com/PruKO21GDR
— Hardcore Value (@HardcoreValue) January 20, 2018
Get ready to go years being misunderstood.
The machine is a perfection of man, one that aggregates all simulations and chooses the best possibility at the right time. AI also gets smarter with each mistake it makes in a type of machine learning called reinforcement learning.
Humans can’t learn and execute actions as fast as their robot counterparts can. Our neuronal chips are already at brain capacity, no matter how many amphetamines we take to speed them up.
So what do we do when we’re rendered jobless?
For starters, we’ll have a bunch of time on our hands to do other stuff, constructing innovative things that robots can’t predict. After all, we’re the ones biologically wired to random thoughts, chaotic imaginations, and combinatorial creativity.
Continually learning, constantly changing. The human mind is as fickle as the seasons. It is not mathematical models that predict the future but the law of nature.
Writes Richard Bookstaber in his book The End of Theory. “The world could be changing right now in ways that will blindside you down the road.”
Nothing is linear and predictable; rather, everything emerges from its highest, heuristic probability — the upshot of the freedom of trial and error.
“Humans are not ergodic, however. We move through the world along a single path, and we get only that one path. Where we are on that path, our experiences, our interactions, the view we have of the world at that moment all determine the context for our actions. That path is not repeatable; we are not taking draws from a distribution.”
Even the rare anomaly becomes the impetus for our actions. People try stuff on a whim to check their pulse.
It is futile to aggregate behavior so we can algorithmicize systems. The world is unpredictable, especially the economic one.
“Chaos is the law of nature; order is the dream of man.”
— Henry Adams
This is my daily collection of interesting reads and new music. I spend a lot of time digging the web for cool stuff and remixing them here. If you dig the blog, please consider making a donation or buying a book. A cup of coffee to helping out with hosting goes a long way.
Greed taints everything. It is a bug in laissez-faire economics.
The insatiable desire to have more compels humans to cheat.
Civilization intends to be wild on its fairest terms. But too many people up top are biologically prone to control natural selection. Those hit hardest become the angriest of mobs.
Economics is human, purely biological; a Darwinian struggle to come out on top in a state of unfettered capitalism.
Once the dopamine surge subsides, it triggers the cycle to gamble all over again. In the hunt for feel-good chemicals, we lose all sense of rationality.
Similar to the Zeigarnik Effect in resuming motivation, the Lindy Effect in economics explains the likeliness of durability. Lindy’s deli/restaurant, which the effect is named after, is celebrating nearly a century of existence since its Manhattan debut in 1921.
As the author Nassim Taleb describes it:
“If a book has been in print for forty years, I can expect it to be in print for another forty years. But, and that is the main difference, if it survives another decade, then it will be expected to be in print another fifty years . . . Every year that passes without extinction doubles the additional life expectancy.”
Writer Walter Isaacson recently alluded to the longevity of books in his chat on Leonardo Da Vinci, arguing that anything in print will always outlast a Tweet.
Hat tip to Ryan Holiday who’s new book Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts examines the reasons why some art endures while others disappear. PS. No one will be listening to Taylor Swift nor caring about the Kardashians in fifty years.
When was the last time the ATM machine gave you incorrect change?
When was the last time a student schooled the teacher?
When was the last time you saw someone using a dumb phone?
For the most part, outliers are rare. The world’s largest samples fall into a center bell curve.
We believe in the consistencies that we see. But it all takes is one weird thing or strange occurrence to change our mind.
It appears that everyone uses Facebook and drinks Coke, until the normal distribution encounters a hiccup.