Get Shouty


On dark day: stay curious
March 13, 2020, 10:37 am
Filed under: Get Friendly, Great Stuff

This cheered me right up today. Thank you Kris

From The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge:

Is it not a curious fact that in a world steeped in irrational hatreds which threaten civilization itself, men and women—old and young—detach themselves wholly or partly from the angry current of daily life to devote themselves to the cultivation of beauty, to the extension of knowledge, to the cure of disease, to the amelioration of suffering…..?

The world has always been a sorry and confused sort of place—yet poets and artists and scientists have ignored the factors that would, if attended to, paralyze them.

From a practical point of view, intellectual and spiritual life is, on the surface, a useless form of activity, in which(people) indulge because they procure for themselves greater satisfactions than are otherwise obtainable.

I shall concern myself with the question of the extent to which the pursuit of these useless satisfactions proves unexpectedly the source from which undreamed-of utility is derived.



Killer waves
March 6, 2020, 9:05 am
Filed under: 10 Questions for Strategists, Great Stuff, Innovation, The Rules

There’s no more common trope than marketers currently want to be ‘data driven story- tellers’.

Q: How does strategy help contribute to creative product?

While I think that there may as many definitions of strategy as there are strategists, it will aways help you if you can define where your skills and interests lie and how you can best help a team.

One of my favourite frames for understanding is to find where a strategist sits on the spectrum from Numbers to Narrative.

For many years the notion of ‘t-shaped talent’ which has broader skills and knowledge and learns by linking up different perspectives from different specialties, was a profile we all sought. You wanted to have a wide lens of expertise and a deep specialisation.

If you think in a linear fashion, you’d start at one end of the spectrum, where at one end you have data and at the other end the strategic narrative, to find where you might sit and then focus on developing your strength.

True Data Strategists that can identify both patterns in the noise and identify the human insight driving it are quite rare. I think we’re all discovering the growing and evolving value of data in crafting creative solutions. It won’t do you any harm to refine or build your ability to both build and read a spread sheet and design an information to be accessible and powerful.

Creative Strategists, or Comms Planners structure a messaging house to get stuff done. They carve up confusion and create clarity. They stand in the shoes of their audiences and babel- fish translate corporate propaganda so it has heart and meaning. They are word smiths, the architects of distributed sense and driven to find the compelling and the engaging and the cut through. Again- it’s super important to be able to have the skill to construct communication in a way that people want to listen, what to know what’s next and actually want to take action on what’s being said.

In between and aligned to these areas of expertise are the researchers, analysts, consultants, specialists, brand planners and the media planners and all the other job descriptions allocated to our roles.

In a t-shaped universe you only get one specialisation.

What may add depth to the metaphor is if you understand a spectrum as a wave and not a line:

Image result for spectrum wave

Then you can explore the notion of how the disciplines might amplify each other, and how they generate more momentum when you put them together, how you can cover more ground if you have more than one….

My thoughts are that you don’t have to choose, that specialisation is for insects, that the better the base the stronger the building and so on.

But it is a good idea to know what skills you have, and where you have gaps and ensure you’re bringing rigour and research to whatever you do.

Just don’t forget that if you want people to do anything with what you find, you’ll need a good story.

PS:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.



Lion (bar) King (mad)
March 5, 2020, 6:32 pm
Filed under: Get Friendly, seriously silly | Tags:

One of those days when three senior team members start spontaneously singing…

PS: just found this on return from Friday lunch…mischief managed!



Travel agents to possible futures
March 4, 2020, 9:05 am
Filed under: 10 Questions for Strategists

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3 of 10 QUESTIONS FOR STRATEGISTS

I’m still exploring the richness of conversation that happens at Strategists Anonymous.

(Part 1 Nothing Like a Ninja and Part 2  The Difference Between Talent and Tenure)

Once we’ve explored what a definition of strategy is, and how to build your practice, the question turns to our role.

Q. What part does a strategist play in an agency?

I like to think that a big part of what we do is way finding:

  • Designing a journey that fits in with a budget and a time frame
  • Working out what roads will take you to what destinations.
  • Helping to create some clarity on how to choose where to go and what can be experienced once you get there.
  • Helping to pick that path and inspire others to walk along it to carve a consistent journey
  • Interpreting the signs and signals in the new landscape
  • Guiding people back to the path (or being open to alternate routes)
  • Identifying where the reflection points are along the way.
  • Knowing when to stop

It will help everyone if you can create a map of where you currently are, an itinerary of the voyage and a taste of the end point.

Bon Voyage!

PS: The Cheshire Cat is the only character in Wonderland who actually listens to Alice. With his prompts he teaches Alice the ‘rules’ of Wonderland. He gives her insight in how things work down there.

`Cheshire Puss,’ [Alice] began, rather timidly…..`Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’

`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.

`I don’t much care where–‘ said Alice.

`Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.

`–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.

`Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough.’”


The difference between talent and tenure

 

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2 of 10 QUESTIONS FOR STRATEGISTS

One of the key things you learn as you practice strategy is to size up the problem you’re addressing.

As you tackle business problems and marketing challenges and service design opportunities and consulting projects you start to understand the unique components that you need to address to get it done.

You start to build frameworks to organise the chaos. Matrices so that you can map out a messaging house. You build process to describe the journey you’ll take clients on. You work out what sells and how clients buy.

You craft your process into a practice. You make charts. Lots of charts that you can remix and reuse and refresh.

They say the only difference between a junior and a senior strategist is the amount of charts they have access to…

(Vegetarian warning….)

All tenure gives you is the experience to know what kind of beast you’re dealing with…and  what you need to carve it up.

Charts are knives- they should cut through, they should help you break things down, and carve out the cuts in the carcass.

The more knives you have, the more tasks you can get done quickly.

You wouldn’t use the same knife to chop an onion that you would to fillet a fish.

So your charts need to be fit for purpose, many and various.

And above all- sharp.

 

 

 

 



Nothing like a ninja…
February 28, 2020, 3:56 pm
Filed under: 10 Questions for Strategists, Experience, Great Stuff, passion

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1 of 10 QUESTIONS FOR STRATEGISTS

I’ve been lucky enough to have a new audience for my nonsense in the Strategists Anonymous series of workshops put on by You’re Good, Get Better.

Standing up with the largest cup of coffee I can find the first question of the day is fired at me….

Q: So, what’s a strategist?

Being a strategist, I start contrary wise…

This is what I think we aren’t:

  • We’re not ninjas
  • We’re not wizards
  • And we’re definitely not rockstars

So what are we?

  • Curious
  • Driven to hear the signal in the noise
  • Keen to mix the elements we find and the ones that don’t exist yet into a cohesive score

Q: And what’s the process? How do you do that?

I love this story of Ray and Charles Eames:

Sell your expertise and you have a limited repertoire. Sell your ignorance and you have an unlimited repertoire. Sell ignorance and your desire to learn about a subject. The journey of not knowing to knowing is the work.

It’s from the documentary The Artist and the Painter, and it really is “an extraordinary and enjoyable history of how two people influenced so much of our thinking and surroundings today”. I couldn’t recommend it more highly..anyhoo

As strategists we’re incredibly fortunate to sell people our journey of not knowing to knowing. We get to take people on the ride with us. We get to keep what we learn and get better. And get paid for it. It’s a crazy good deal.

But it probably won’t shower you in glory.

I have 10 of these questions mapped out as a result of the crews who participated in the workshops. Thanks for the curiosity y’all- hope sharing these helps.

P.S. You’re unlikely to ever need more cowbell



the other side of our coin
August 23, 2019, 1:17 pm
Filed under: Experience, Get Friendly

sins.png

In the 6th century, a list of the seven deadly sins was officially outlined by Pope Gregory the Great, who reduced the original list of eight written by a respected monk named Evagrius the Solitary. The list was changed only slightly again in the 17th century, with the final list, which we still refer to today, composed of lust, avarice, gluttony, sloth, anger, greed, and pride.–

The Atlantic notes that seven years ago  in a soliloquy transcribed by The Wall Street JournalReid Hoffman suggested a comprehensive theory of social-network success.

“Social networks do best when they tap into one of the seven deadly sins,” the LinkedIn co-founder and venture capitalist said.

I do remember it all starting out quite differently. I was recently kicking through some of my archives and came across this piece from 2006: We are not alone

Mother Teresa spoke often about the effects of being lonely and the crushing poverty of spirit that is caused by feelings of being unwanted- so much much so that she called this ‘the leprosy of the West’. A recent international study claimed that more than a third of adults are lonely.

There’s alot of talk that screens are taking over face to face interaction, and that culture is suffering as a result. David Armano’s fantastic post We Are Not Alone. Life 2.0 puts forward the notion that the growing suite of web tools allows us, through creating and connecting, to find out that others like us exist.

There is a now a place where we can find that ‘we are not alone’ and more. Screen life, online life IS ‘real’ life. For many (and there are many- over 450,000 bloggers in Australia alone) our online time informs and inspires our terrestrial activities.

Examples of this range from the fabulous red paper clip story, to the spontaneous walkouts in high schools of over 40,000 students across California organised through individual myspace pages and to the popularity of acts like The Artic Monkeys and OKGo.

These stories, OUR stories, will only grow as we continue to contribute our time and energy to trying to connect with each other.

Myspace organised walkouts…wowsers…(the more things change the more they stay the same: https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/ organises local walkouts through Facebook, a platform that wasn’t even available in Australia 13 years ago)

While I’m sure that humanity’s darker traits get more oxygen on social platforms that we’d like- there is light to be found. I wonder how useful it is to entirely demonise something that is only reflective of… well,  us.

Twitter gets a very notices, a a wrath filled echo chamber and for very good reasons.

My parry and repost:

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( Rob Campbell shared this with the line: “The most beautiful, loving – yet heart wrenchingly sad – story that you’ll read today. Especially the last 5 words.”)

Please explore this marvellous thread about sharing unsolicited poetry with crying strangers:

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The kindness will just kill you.