Is it better to be first or a fast second? šŸ¤”

It doesn’t really matter whether you’re first or a fast second. It doesn’t even matter if you’re third or fourth or late to the game altogether. What matters is maintenance. If you build something, it is your responsibility to maintain it. Google out invented Yahoo, Alta Vista, and Ask Jeeves. Now it’s on to powering […]


Free the animals šŸ¦šŸ˜šŸ¦“

The design for Animal crackers just got an update. Due to mounting pressure from animal rights group PETA, Nabisco removed the cages from its iconic cracker box. The updated version shows the animals roaming free. The redesign of the boxes, now on U.S. store shelves, retains the familiar red and yellow coloring and prominent “Barnum’s […]

We, the data

Dissolved into data, we produce a feast of trackable interactions. They are the editors as much as much we are the authors. While we create everything, they produce nothing, yet the internet still owns our words.  The attention merchants munch on the aggregate and peel off the niches into targeted prey. Our eyeballs are the oil, […]

Tom Wolfe: ‘Logos are strictly a vanity industry’

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 […]

Becoming Amazon-proof

Amazon buffets the shores of brick and mortar retailers. No business is Amazon-proof. No business is sacred in the internet-era. 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. How do we remain […]

Decisions are either ‘irreversible or reversible’

Sometimes your work is just going to be a 5 out of 10. It’s not worth scrutinizing every performance. The only ill is in hesitating, not starting what you think you should do. Jeff Bezos has an interesting system for making decisions. He sees them as either irreversible or reversible. The simple heuristic pushed him […]

Susan Ressler’s photographs document the absurd corporate life of the 1970s

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: “[easyazon_link identifier=”1942084471″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Executive Order[/easyazon_link]” depicts corporate America in the late […]

‘Don’t read the words. It’s bad enough that people use Powerpoint as a sort of teleprompter.’

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 […]

‘Blockchain represents the second era of the internet.’

52 InsightsĀ 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 blockchain is the second frontier of the Internet: The way that we view it is thatĀ blockchain represents the second era of the […]

The case for playing the long game

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 […]

An irrational reward system

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 Grand Don’t Come for Free

Social media is still a game of numbers. The more followers you have, the more credible you appear. Removing the public follower count as Snapchat, Tumblr, and VSCO does, puts content first. The entrepreneur bros on Instagram with one hundred thousand followers are all acts. The Ferrari, the yacht, and jewelry are props. Dressing for […]

The marketers are the buyers

The dealershipĀ leaves its logo on your license plate when you drive off the parking lot. WordPress stamps its logo into the footer credits after you set up a blog. “Proudly powered by WordPress.” You can remove the branding with a screwdriver orĀ change the code in theĀ footer.php file. Most people find the branding tolerable or at […]

The price is right

If you want to sell more of something, list it second. The sophisticate never orders theĀ firstĀ option in the wine list. People choose the second wine option on the list; the bottle that also happens to be theĀ most popularĀ and most profitable. Back in the day of CDs, the music listener never bought the album because of […]