A Whole New Mind – Brilliant Book

A whole new mind

I read a book yesterday in one sitting. Well a couple of sittings if you include changes in mode of transport from bus to train. It’s very rare that I do that. It’s also very rare that I find a ‘business’ book that grips me like this one did.

Amazon.co.uk: A Whole New Mind – By Daniel H. Pink

It’s got a brilliant mix of theory and analysis, mixed with case studies and stuff that you can actually do if you’re interested in improving some of the Right-Brainy kind of skills that he’s talking about. Personally I think it nails the balance of micro vs macro absolutely perfectly.

I won’t do a very good job of summarising the book, so I’ve nicked this from Amazon’s synopsis:

Uses the two sides of the human brain as a metaphor for understanding how the information age came about throughout the course of the past generation, counseling readers on how to survive and find a place in a society that is marked by rising affluence, job outsourcing, and computer technology at the expense of inventiveness, empathy, and meaning.

Which almost does the job of describing it.

I know it’s probably one of those books that neatly reinforces my world view, but we all like to have our world views reinforced now and again don’t we? But more than just doing a nice job of making me feel better about myself it’s also inspired me to do a few new things… (Details to follow)

The author, Dan Pink, also blogs here: http://www.danpink.com/

The Image of Joy Division

joy division

Lots of stories around this weekend about the sad death of Tony Wilson.

It also span off lots of stories about bands that he’d been involved with and that time in Manchester. This story in the Observer caught my interest:

Closer to the birth of a music legend

It’s a piece by Kevin Cummings who photographed Joy Division. If you’ve ever been in or around a music scene that includes Joy Division as part of its makeup you’ll be aware of what an amazing ‘image’ there is around them. An image constructed from a mixture of the music, tragic legend, ground breaking graphic design, and amazing yet bleak photography of the band.

The article reveals how a lot of the things that make up Joy Division’s photographic image may have been part of a very fortunate set of almost accidents:

When I was shooting for the NME in this, my first year out of college, I had very little money. I had to pay for my own film and processing (£10 per roll) and hope that the NME would use more than one shot in order to make a profit. (£6.50 was the repro rate at that time). Consequently I was very parsimonious with film. I rarely wasted a shot.

So it means that there are very few images of any of them looking goofy or mucking around. All of the shots were taken with purpose (from the point of view of a ‘serious’ music photographer).

Often, as Ian stood in front of my camera looking contemplative, the other band members, bassist Peter Hook ‘Hooky’, drummer Stephen Morris and guitarist Bernard Sumner, would stand behind him pulling faces. Occasionally Ian would yawn. These images only exist in my mind. I could never commit them to film. I couldn’t afford to. Would my pictures tell a different story if I’d had the luxury of being able to shoot endless frames digitally?

Then when you imagine what would happen if all of the fans also had digital cameras and had captured everything too. The mystique around the bad would have been massively eroded.

But the quote that made me slap my head most of all was this one:

It was pointless shooting the band in colour. I’d be wasting money. Publications that were prepared to feature the band only published in black and white. Peter Hook told me that even he thinks of Joy Division as a black and white band.

So Joy Division weren’t a monochrome band after all, it was all a matter of photographic economics!

It just got me thinking about how bands now have to appear and behave totally differently and that their performances and images are much more the property of the public. Which I’d sort of thought was a good thing. But reading that article made me question whether it is or not. Maybe it’s not better or worse, just different.

Rainy Saturday In The Loft – A Mix


Well the weather has been vile all weekend so I did something I’ve been meaning to do for ages. I got some tracks I like, I climbed up into the loft and I put a mix together. I don’t really know how to describe the style. It’s definitely electronic, but it doesn’t really sit neatly in any pigeon hole I can think of. It’s a bit too laid back to dance to, but it’s still got a bit of ‘chug’ to it.

Oh well, I was quite pleased with it in the end.

Here’s the tracklist:

  1. i’m like you – dub tractor (city centre offices)
  2. dutch flowerz – skream (tempa)
  3. poor people must work (carl craig mix) – rhythm and sound feat bobbo shanti (burial mix)
  4. shiro – ame (sonar kollektiv)
  5. miles away (sascha funke remix) – paul kalkbrenner (bpitch control)
  6. i don’t know? – chelonis r. jones (get physical)
  7. the difference it makes (superpitcher remix) – the mfa (kompakt pop)
  8. kumquat – zwicker (compost black label)
  9. i try (jamie anderson beatless mix) – francois dubois (urbantorque)
  10. migracion (fujiya miyagi mix) – lopazz (get physical)
  11. tides (ripperton mix) – beanfield feat. Bajka (?)
  12. vuoi vuoi me (henrik schwarz remix) – mari boine (lean/universal)
  13. alsoran (original mix) – e.r.p. (frantic flowers)
  14. run into flowers (jackson remix) – m83 (groom)

You can download this mix from: http://rapidshare.com/files/40491832/Rainy_Saturday_in_The_Loft_-_June_30th_07.mp3

Most of the tracks were bought from the excellent Beatport.com so if there’s anything you particularly like I’d urge you to support the artists and buy some of their stuff.

Dramatic Chipmunk (or Prairie Dog)

Lauded as ‘the best 5 second clip on the Internet’ – and you know what, they might be right:

Then come the literally hundreds of ‘remixes’…

Silent Movie:

Kill Bill:

Star Wars:

It’s a gift that just keeps on giving…

If you want to see the original show where the clip was taken from, it’s here:

Thanks to Richard for the tip.

Kate Moss for TopShop

A new Poke project (nothing to do with me really): Kate Moss for TopShop. I like the fact it mixes up old style web stuff with flash video and things. It’s all a bit ‘fashion’ for me, but I still quite like it.

Plus you know it’s going to get visited about a trillion times just because Ms Moss is involved.


10 Reasons Why Digital is Better Than Advertising – Number 4

Success in network media isn’t about ego. No one cares who you are, or what you’ve done before – unless you’re Jonathan Harris or Joshua Davis ;-)

Audiences care about whether they like your thing or not. More honest and ernest cultures tend to make better work in a networked place. Empathy is paramount in a user-centred business, and empathy and ego don’t mix so well.

That’s not to say there aren’t any godzilla-sized egos in the digital world, that would just be a monster lie.

Venice Project Becomes Joost

The project formerly known as The Venice Project has now turned into Joost. It’s the latest venture from the guys behind Skype and in a nutshell it hopes to do to television what Skype did to telephones. As they put it: ‘taking the best of TV and mixing it with the best of the Internet’. It’s all based on peer-to-peer technologies (don’t forget these are also the same guys who developed Kazaa – one of the best early p2p applications). I don’t have any idea how they’re hoping to deal with copyright issues, but I’m sure they do…

It’s in ‘invite only’ beta phase. I’m in the beta testing program, but it’s PC only at the moment. So I’ve not really had a chance to play with it.

Wikipedia describes it thusly.

Here’s a couple of useful videos:

This is how it looks when it’s working (pretty slick):

Here’s an (audio only) interview with Janus Friis one of the founders:

I really don’t like the design of their website though. It looks like they’ve tried to progress the 2.0 aesthetic but I don’t think it quite hits the mark…

BBH Wins Lynx Digital Account

An interesting ‘moment’ in online advertising. BBH win Lynx digital account. To my mind Dare have done some really amazing online advertising for Lynx (Feather and Blow to name but two), and I’m really surprised that the account has gone elsewhere (if the story is to be believed).

In principle I agree with this quote from the article:

John O’Keeffe, executive creative director of BBH London, said: “A couple of years ago, we might have been at a disadvantage in a pitch like this, simply for lack of having the digital craft skills in-house. We now have that capability: whereupon this, and any other digital pitch for that matter, comes down to the same question that decides any such process: who has the best idea?”

But at the same time I wonder if this is really true.

Is it always down to the best idea winning out? Not really. Do BBH have great ideas? Undoubtedly. Do they have outstanding ‘salespeople’? Almost certainly better then most digital agencies.

I’m not trying to put forward the case for ‘digital agencies’ (interesting how I’m now feeling more and more compelled to use inverted commas around various parts of the term digital agency) particularly. However, something I’ve noticed recently is that the nature of our clients is changing. Whereas previously we used to sell our ideas into digital people, we’re now increasingly up in front of a mixture of digital and advertising people.

The way in which you pitch your ideas to these two groups are massively different. Online people typically want to see more of the ‘how we’re going to do it’, where as advertising people take that stuff for granted. You see an idea, it gets made. They’ve never been through the pain of cross-browser testing a complicated website. And they don’t care how it gets done. And maybe that’s the way it should be (for advertising).

My prediction is that we’re going to see a fragmentation of how brands operate online, there’ll be a bunch of people competing to do online advertising. And a bunch of people doing ‘other stuff’.

I think I know where I’d rather be…

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Campaign Against Real Life

Funny and nicely produced spoof of the Dove Evolution thing. Can be found at Campaignagainstreallife.com.

(Note: I was being a fool last night and accidentally posted this as ‘campaign for real life’ – thanks to Richard for the correction. See, I’m not properly back into blogging yet, but I’ll get the hang of it soon…)
via: 25 Letters In The Alphabet.

F**K you and your Second Life ‘firsts’ you bunch of Adf**ks

I’m glad that someone with some heritage and history in Second Life has come out and said this: Second Life Herald: Gallery of Lies. And said it very loud. I’d have loved to have written this piece, but as my Second Life consists of about 2 hours of time over 6 months (and I work on the fringes of advertising) I’d have felt like a total charlatan saying it.

One of my favourite bits:

I would say it is a case of a bunch of desperate clueless fucktards trying to show how bleeding-edgy they are, and, given that SL is the bleeding-edgy flavor of the month, they are wraping themselves in the Linden cape of bleeding-edginess.

Read it and see what anger looks like.

Interestingly the crux of the issue is not about advertising or the corporatisation of Second Life as such, but seems to be about big ad agencies claiming the space as theirs, or at least making out that they are the innovators. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like shops and businesses and offices are actually OK, as long as they’re done right. But the message is, loud and clear, don’t claim that you invented this stuff.

advertiser helmet second lifeI’ve got a thought. Why aren’t advertisers, or people who are trying to ‘import’ brands from their First Life forced to wear some kind of huge advertising helmet? It’d protect them from rocks thrown by irate Second Lifers as well as marking them out as advertisers.

If only my 3d modeling skills were as hot as my illustrating skills ;-)

[EDIT] – I just spotted this follow up post: http://www.secondlifeherald.com/slh/2006/10/uri_does_strump.html it’s much more reasoned and well argued, and the author has calmed down a lot. He makes some great points about the de-fantasisation of Second Life which I think is key.

Why would you want your Second Life to be just like your first? With the same brands using the same retail techniques, or spend time in the ‘bored rooms’ of big corporations. Why not meet on the deck of a pirate ship? Or in a treehouse full of penguins? Or watching underwater firework displays orchestrated by a gerbil that’s 3 stories high?

Uri concludes his piece:

In the end, I wonder if I should even care. Even as I write, Second Life residents are avoiding the new corporate builds like the plague (and who can blame them given the inferior content; do I want to drive a flying saucer or a Scion? Hmmm, that’s a tough one), and if large corporations want to pay Crayon good money for nothing, that’s fine by me. If the meat-space corporations successfully borg Second Life and suck the life out of it, we will just move on to another place, and the corporations and the PR firms will just have to breathlessly keep running after us, claiming their hollow “firsts,” while their arrogance fuels their ignorance, and they fall further and further behind.