Get Shouty

success givers and the life we lead at work
March 17, 2016, 2:55 pm
Filed under: Experience, Get Friendly, The Rules, Zeitgeist | Tags: ,

  Wonderful interview with the organizational psychologist Adam Grant, who many know from his New York Times columns, describes three human orientations, of which we are all capable: the givers, the takers, and the matchers. These also influence whether organizations are joyful or toxic for human beings. His studies are dispelling a conventional wisdom that selfish takers are the most likely to succeed professionally. And, he is wise about practicing generosity in organizational life — what he calls making “microloans of our knowledge, our skills, our connections to other people” — in a way that is transformative for others, ourselves, and our places of work.

50 minutes well spent


how do you value culture?
January 9, 2014, 6:42 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy, Experience, Get Friendly, Great Stuff, passion, Zeitgeist


It’s Festival time in Sydney. While I’m super excited about taking my inner child by the hand and having a bit of a frolic on Sacrilege, the true sized inflatable bouncy castle Stonehenge in Hyde Park’s Festival Village, I was interested to read this in The Australian

FESTIVAL organizers measure success in terms of ticket sales and economic impact, but a new cultural metric may be tweets and pictures on social media. Last year, an enormous yellow duck was a hit of the Sydney Festival, where 1.7 million people could not have missed seeing it at Darling Harbour. Some 14,000 images were posted on Instagram using festival hashtags.

Mmmm. ‘Cultural Metric’. Good notion. Loads of tension in it:

  • What is culture?
  • How might culture be measured?
  • How do we value it?

The NSW Government is investing more than $5 million to ensure the success of the 2014 Festival,

“Last year the Sydney Festival attracted more than 500,000 people with more than 120,000 tickets sold to paid events, including more than 33,000 people who attended events in Western Sydney. In 2012, it injected almost $57 million into our economy

From that perspective an arts investment looks like a pretty good return to the taxpayers hereabouts. I wonder how they’d value those tweets.

Early last year MoMA curator of Architecture and Design Paola Antonelli led a discussion about Culture and Metrics, (which I’ve entirely re cut below):

  • why bother?
    • the reality is that cultures come and go over time. If we don’t know what’s valuable about a particular culture, we run the risk of losing it forever.
    • not all art is concerned with culture, and not all culture is arts-based
    • it’s the best way to create a future that human beings want to inhabit.
    • MoMA has been one of the most important cathedrals of the imagination in my life since childhood, and envisioning it as a driver of R&D across society at large is extremely exciting.
  • measurement
    • Kate Levin, the Commissioner of The Department of Cultural Affairs for New York City: measuring culture, is mostly about objectives and outcomes. She used The Gates as an example of a valuable, measurable project funded by the Department for Cultural Affairs. Four million visitors to this 16-day installation created $254 million in revenue for NYC.
    • Measuring culture will require us to think of new ways to measure and share the story of a project’s insights and impact.
  • culture and value
    • “For me, The Gates was never about whether the saffron curtains and plastic frames were art. Some people argued that it was a hideous monstrosity while others loved it. Instead, I just felt lucky to be part of the flow of conversation and people as we passed together through The Gates on a beautiful blue and gold day. I felt lucky to be a New Yorker. And that’s the point of culture. It gives us a sense of place while at the same time evoking a deeply personal experience of the universal. “

As Rita observed, and who was at the MoMA talk, it brings to life one of Andy Warhol’s statements:

  • “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art.”

Creating a deeply personal experience of an enterprise, creating a real and vibrant culture, feels like a bit of an art, and has the same kind of challenge:

But, how do you measure that?

Answer: With great difficulty.

Then again…. people are the only metric that really counts.

It’s hard. Really hard. Most companies can’t do it. The ones that can, make a fortune. Life is unfair.

September 3, 2012, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Get Friendly

Penguins speak to me for so many reasons, and as a totem they embody my own aspirations

to have the ability to deal with that which does not truly matter

to launch into the unknown and  ‘tee-hee’ while I’m doing it

to refine my six word story, “breathe. it will all be ok”

to something silly, active, positive and whimsical

and bring that mantra to the point of most powerful reduction


calling all monsters
May 12, 2011, 11:06 am
Filed under: Get Friendly

“I wanted to get into show business because I thought it would give me close proximity to monsters.”
Stephen Tobolowsky

Something I tell the team quite often is: “it’s not show friends, it’s show business“.

And it is true. While it isn’t a fairy tale there are monsters, there are things lurking in the darkness in all kinds of show business. I’m liking the notion that we need to remind ourselves that trolls hide under bridges (and sometimes in daylight, and sometimes inside ourselves).

The only way to disarm a monster is to laugh at it. And silly is a wonderful way to invite the monster to join in on the fun.

Feel the fire … don’t get burned.
April 12, 2011, 6:41 pm
Filed under: Get Friendly

It’s super easy to be a douchebag.

If you work in creative strategy or planning your daily diet may encompasses exposure to  this toxic pyramid:

You are not alone. (thanks to this post Getting Real. For Real which reminded me I probably should say this more often.)

If you’re feeling like this you understand the landscape that you work in very very well.

And as  result you might get called ‘difficult’ or ‘unapproachable’ or ‘aggressive’.

It’s really hard not to give yourself permission to let that toxicity out.

But when people are coming to you  for education and inspiration and insight how appropriate is frustration? How effective is is? How is it working for you?

Punching people in the face for not understanding is momentarily satisfying, sure. Do you really want to be that guy?

But again, you are not alone in struggling with this.

I am fiery. Shouty. The volume goes up to 11 when I get excited.

Which is why I find this to be pretty helpful this week (edited):

Feel the fire … don’t get burned.

Emphasise with words, not volume.

1. Feel the fire, but don’t get burned. If something really excites you or makes you angry, effectiveness lies in creating comfort. Share your exhilaration or ire with words, not volume.

2. Speak how you want to be spoken to. Doing so will set the tone for the entire conversation. If you start out with an attack, you could end up in a war. If you begin with kindness and clarity, you will have a much easier time.

the silent language of time
June 22, 2010, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Experience, Get Friendly

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about time recently: about how it seems to slow and speed; about how to utilise it as a medium; about memory and future memory; and about how people experience moments and experiences in different ways.

In my late teens I lived in Brazil and part of the acclimatization was getting used to a totally different time scale: Social time, one of the silent languages of a culture. What was once familiar and comfortable became unfamiliar and wrong. Notions of ‘tomorrowness’, the looseness of social meeting times and time appropriateness were all challenging to me. It did me the world of good to fundamentally understand that everyone’s internal metronome ticks differently.

It might have helped me greatly to have had access to the wonderful video above. In it Professor Philip Zimbardo conveys how our individual perspectives of time affect our work, health and well-being. Time influences who we are as a person, how we view relationships and how we act in the world.

What we have discovered in 30 years of research is that there are six main time zones that people live in: two focus on the past, two focus on the present, two focus on the future.

He goes on to segment them into:

– Past positive: focus is on the “good old days”, past successes, nostalgia, etc.
– Past negative: focus on regret, failure, all the things that went wrong
– Present hedonistic: living in the moment for pleasure and avoiding pain, seek novelty and sensation
– Present fatalism: life is governed by outside forces, “it doesn’t pay to plan”
– Future: focus is on learning to work rather than play
– Transcendental Future: life begins after the death of the mortal body

He notes that we all divide our experience into time categories; the difference is simply how. When you’re speaking with someone he or she might be thinking about past experiences, and ignoring the present. You might be doing a cost-benefit analysis and thinking about the future. Are you Past-Positive or a “Transcendental” Future-oriented person? Find out by taking his Time Perspective Inventory, then watch last year’s TED talk on the secret power of time.

Drawn by Andrew Park of Cognitive Media.

(I should note the listing of the 6 time zones is Jason Kottke’s.)

Fun fact: Zimbardo conducted the famous Stanford prison experiment in 1971

May 28, 2010, 4:46 pm
Filed under: Get Friendly

Forgot to say: this should be sung to the tune of Mull of Kintyre, late at night, with the addition of toxic amounts of caffeine, sugar, trans fats and too little sleep. Loudly. Or it becomes the tune in your head for days. Or both.

Red Mullet with Thyme
A dish that I’m thinking
Might kill the desire
For chips and hard drinking
Red Mullet with Thyme

Crap have I munched on and bottles I’ve drunk
Late night fast food don’t feed brains that have shrunk
Pitching’s plate’s full of nutritional crime
As I dream of green beans with Red Mullet with Thyme