Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

4th November 2017

@smithsonianmag. Where Do Ideas Come From? ‘A small mollusc known as the sea squirt does something strange. It swims around early in its life, eventually finds a place to attach like a barnacle, and then absorbs its own brain for nutrition. Why? Because it no longer needs its brain. It’s found its permanent home….Whether manufacturing cars, or launching modern art, creators remodel what they inherit. They absorb the world into their nervous systems and manipulate it to create possible futures.

Jimmy Wales appeared at this weeks Wired Live 2017 to discuss the launch of WikiTribune, his news venture, that claims to deliver evidence based journalism. As objectivity is (nearly) always subjective, this could be a tricky one. Some sources are, of course, suggesting that it is already biased.

How Snapchat has kept itself free from fake news….It’s proving to be a much more competent media company than either Facebook or Google. Facebook deliberately blurs the line between personal status updates, news articles, and ads—sticking all three in its constantly updating, algorithm-driven News Feed—Snapchat has taken a more old-fashioned approach. The app’s news section, Discover, is limited to professionally edited content, including dozens of channels maintained by old-media outlets.

From ItsNiceThat – ‘AMV BBDO’s #BloodNormal campaign for Bodyform and Libresse fought to break a longstanding taboo in advertising – showing period blood. The creative partners behind the ad, Nadja Lossgott and Nicholas Hulley, write about making the film, and their shock when it was banned worldwide.

Really interesting piece from Alex Danco (@socialcapital) – Taylor Swift, iOS, and the Access Economy: Why the Normal Distribution is Vanishing . ‘The world’s shift from Normal, Gaussian distributions of demand towards bifurcated, two-tiered distributions is a natural consequence of our shift from a world governed by scarcity to one governed by abundance.’

How Adidas Football, re-wrote its marketing script. The change in direction included a somewhat controversial, tongue-in-cheek approach. ‘The first example of Adidas’ new style came with the 2015 ‘There Will Be Haters’ campaign, created by the brand’s lead agency Iris Worldwide… the spot addressed – in a fresh and funny way – the abuse that comes with success in the beautiful game’.

By @eatbigfish – ‘Why drama is a strategic imperative for brands that want to get noticed.’ ‘The brilliant thing Pilpel has done is to understand the power of a little drama: to take a banal and clichéd loyalty mechanism and turn it into something I not only find appealing, but am actually sitting here and writing about for several thousand complete strangers.

From @jwtintelligence – ‘The youngest members of generation X are just over 40, but don’t call them middle-aged—midlife crisis is the last thing on their minds. Older millennials are more than 30, and adults in every sense—so why are marketers still lumping them in with 18-year-olds just out of high school? Meet the Xennials: the in-between generation redefining growing up.

Here are some of the social media ads Russia wanted Americans to see. For example: ‘Satan : I win if Clinton wins. Jesus : Not if I can help it! Press ‘Like’ to help Jesus win!’

David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop in July 2012, with Charlie’s mother, to order a cake for their upcoming wedding reception. This is their story (short video), which ended up at the Supreme Court. Treated Like We Did Something Wrong.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

28th October 2017

@martinweigel on client bravery. ‘Exhorting clients to be ‘brave’ enough to buy ‘brave’ work is not just poor psychology. It misrepresents and undermines creativity, passing it off as some roll of the dice, or reckless shot in the dark in which the possibility of total failure is deeply embedded.’ ‘Bravery’ : The folly and the vanity.

Nice summary of the WARC event I attended last week – New Technology – Digital Assistants, Voice Strategy, VR and Insights – ‘A recent article in the Wall Street Journal noted that tech companies now have their eyes on the ‘next billion’ internet users, mostly from the developing world. But the new users are very different from the first billion…. they are likely to favour voice and video rather than typing and text.

From The Atlantic.’It’s been said that software is “eating the world”. More and more, critical systems that were once controlled mechanically, or by people, are coming to depend on code. A small group of programmers wants to change how we code—before catastrophe strikes.

How Airbnb could be increasing home prices and rental rates.

Big Data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens. The plan is to launch its Social Credit System in 2020. The aim? To judge the trustworthiness – or otherwise – of its 1.3 billion residents.

Is Efficiency Killing Brands? From @adage – “Digital metrics are very short-term focused, and that has led marketers into a short-term mindset ….A lot of people in management do not have marketing backgrounds, and find the short-term argument seductive. They are judged quarter by quarter, and they want results, by quarter. I wish we had more CEOs and CFOs that understand if we restrain marketing to the quarterly cycle, we stuff it.’

Giving an effective presentation includes three things – making a point, making people care about your point, and asking for something.

‘Who you hang out with has a huge impact on your happiness. A lot of us accumulate friends along the way because we went to school together, or we work with them. And I never say to dump them, but proactively find happy friends who like to laugh. Humour has a measurable impact on daily happiness. So find funny friends. Or at least friends who think you’re funny, that’s big.’ This is a Lazy Person’s Guide to Happiness.

Sumptuous or OTT? Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!, Romeo and Juliet, The Great Gatsby) brings his cinematic touch to H&M’s “The secret life of flowers”, a short film set in a mysterious country mansion where it is always spring.

From Open Culture – ‘A list of chronological Oscar winners often tells you more about the state of the culture than the state of the art.’ Here is a short clip of every Academy Award Winner for Best Cinematography in one supercut: From 1927’s Sunrise to 2016’s La La Land.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

20th October 2017

This week I attended a great WARC mini-conference on Machine Learning. The highlight was a joint session hosted by Mindshare and JWT, highlighting their Speak Easy research around Voice Tech. The full report can be downloaded here. Perhaps one of the most alarming aspects is the rise of the virtual assistant, similar to the one played by Scarlet Johannsson in Her. We were introduced to ‘Hikari’, who is a female hologram and personal assistant  – targeted at single young men in Japan.

Artificial Intelligence may one day rule the world, but to get there it will need human help to develop a coherent decision making process. Take this automotive example : ‘In each grisly permutation, the Moral Machineinvited visitors to cast a vote about who the vehicle should kill.’ In order to teach computers (like autonomous cars) how to react, we need to figure out what the average human would do.

Interesting development for display targeting as advertisers start placing paid media behind influencer content for lower CPMs.

This is rather wonderful – James Vlahos’ story of how he recorded hours and hours—nearly a hundred thousand words’ worth—of his father speaking. When his father died, he tried to rebuild him as a chatbot. ‘It’s a story about where life ends and technology begins, and it is beautiful.’

Interbrand’s Global Brand Rankings for 2017. Featuring the usual suspects but the report (free to download) features some developing trends and challenges; including ‘a focus on clarity of brand purpose’, ‘social responsibility’, and ‘design as a catalyst for integration and better performance.’

A couple of my pieces on the Econsultancy blog this week – Why digital out-of-home advertising is not really digital (yet) and The changing face of consumer trust and the implications for marketers.

From an interesting new book : Signs of Life: Why Brands Matter – an intriguing and controversial perspective on branding. ‘So a brand is rather a complicated entity involving many of the absurdities and appetites that define existence itself. A brand is a collaboration between consumer and producer in a piece of theatre: playwright and actor working on an agreed script… By making tobacco companies follow strict packaging restrictions, we’re paving the way to a future where brands no longer reflect our lifestyles.’

“A lot of work left to do”: A handful of publishers argued a few years ago for selling ads based on readers’ time rather than impressions. But time-based ad sales still haven’t gained traction.

One of the positive claims for Uber is that it enables people to ditch their cars and thus reduces pressure on transit systems. Contrary to this suggestion, this piece of research implies that Uber and the like, could actually make traffic worse. ‘Many…trips additionally require drivers to cruise around waiting for rides, and to “deadhead” occasionally after the rides are over (to return to, say, the airport with an empty back seat).’

If your Amazon package is damaged, this could be why. Love this idea from Adobe, providing a nice perspective on how (some) Ad Agency creative departments work – Keep Up With Hovering Art Directors. And finally, I challenge you to remained unmoved, as this baby hears for the first time and doesn’t know what emotion to feel.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

14th October 2017

Keeping America Compatible with Facebook. ‘What is less speculative and more likely though, is that CZI and Zuckerberg himself are deployed by existing political actors as the last best example of …what today’s Democratic Party wants to be seen as: stewards of a rational, meritocratic society capable of administrating grand projects for large populations….If that happens he would be someone that, as Jane Jacobs wrote in Fortune Magazine, “loves the public but hates the people.”

From Adweek….’It’s not difficult to see where these trends lead. When content can be created instantly, targeted and distributed instantly, and then tweaked and optimised instantly, marketing becomes a whole new ballgame. Inference, inspiration and intuition are—for better or worse—on their way out, replaced by an accelerating loop of test-and-optimise.

‘Alongside this need for a new framework, there are new requirements for marketing competencies and capabilities around domains of expertise like data and analytics, customer experience, content, multichannel, and personalisation, which are neither properly understood nor being met. This is acknowledged in the marketing industry but not reflected in any definitive model.’ From Ashley Friedlein and Econsultancy – This is M3 : The Modern Marketing Model.

From emarketer, nearly half of US teens now say they prefer Snapchat over other social media sites, including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

My piece on the Econsultancy blog this week. The myth of storytelling in marketing and why brands should encourage ‘story sharing’. 

A compelling ‘info-gif’ from the FT – the changing shape of childhood obesity 1975-2016. As economies have developed, childhood obesity has increased tenfold in 40 years.

Amazon is looking to corner a significant chunk of the video advertising market. eMarketer estimates that US digital ad revenues for the company are expected to reach $1.65 billion by the end of this year. At that level, it would make up 2.0% of total US digital ad spending.However, Amazon will have to tread carefully to avoid upsetting its users, who are accustomed to an ad-free video experience.

‘According to Google and Bing, one in four searches is conducted by talking, not typing, a figure comScore predicts will reach 50 percent by 2020. That same year Echo alone will account for $7 billion in voice transactions—or vcommerce.’ This is how Amazon, Google and Apple Are Giving Brands a Way Into the Conversation.

Smashing communication idea from the world of travel and tourism. Somewhat along the lines of the Swedish Number concept, this Faroe Islands campaign translates phrases into Faroese, rather charmingly articulated by some of the island’s residents.

A great idea and a rather wonderful ad. The Tile app, helps users find items attached to a Tile dongle within a range of about 200 feet. From the ad creators – ‘When we lose something and then find it, it’s an indescribably good feeling. But how could we tell that story so that the lost thing is compelling to everyone? That was the challenge. So, we realised that by transforming something into someone, we could end up with a beautiful love story.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

6th October 2017

From Warped (by @krishoet) : ‘It’s probably inevitable at this point that we’ll end up living in an always-watching surveillance state, and this video of a CCTV facial recognition prototype in action is a troubling preview of what that might look like. The recognition suite, built by Chinese company SenseTime, includes SenseVideo — which allows tracking and classification of objects — and SenseFace — which scans and matches faces to a database.

Nice piece from @faris on ‘decisive moments’ . This is the point at which marketers want to connect with customers, but often struggle to do so. Of course, it is not that easy and digital is not always helping. ‘Marketing works in various ways. Some activity fulfils demand; brand activity works over the long term by building memory structures that impact decisions down the line. The confusion of the two is one of the great disappointments of digital.The maxim of right message, person, moment, and cost holds true if we understand this. The decisive moment is not always going to be when someone is about to buy something. It usually won’t be.

With Blade Runner once more amongst us and (despite being long and slow) getting some pretty good reviews. Interesting to see the impact it has had, since most Brits think A.I. should be regulated by the ‘Blade Runner rule’. This rule says it should be illegal for AI applications such as social media bots, chatbots and virtual assistants to conceal their identityand pose as humans.

The very excellent Dots Conference in Brighton took place recently. Unfortunately I was unable to make it this year, but it provided a surprising and inspiring line-up as always. Speakers included – Bruce Daisley, Neil Perkin, Sussex wine maker Sam Linter and Syima Aslam from the Bradford Literature Festival. A short summary of events here.

To show teens how they can be creators, Made with Code is joining forces with Snap Inc. to host a first-of-its-kind competition called #MyFutureMe. Oh Snap! Teens are coding the future.

Canon just announced that it’s developing a new “Free Viewpoint” virtual camera system that will let you virtually move around inside a recorded event. This is some view of a football match. 

And, this is some algorithm, Time Capsule by Spotify. TC is a personalised playlist with songs to take you back in time – to the stuff you were listening to in your youth. My first 5 artists were Blondie, Lloyd Cole, Heaven 17, Earth Wind and Fire and Terry Jacks. Very accurate and somewhat unnerving. Especially the last one.

Hoodmaps tells you where different tribes exist in a number of cites. Who is your neighbourhood full of? – Suits, the Rich, Tourists or Hipsters?

So, this pod of dolphins appear infatuated with a couple of squirrels, outside their tank.

Charming theory in this lovely illustrated book. ‘It takes all kinds of people to make a world, the expression goes. But maybe it really takes only two kinds. People who put ketchup on their fries, and people who put the ketchup on the side. People who squeeze gently from the bottom, and people who manhandle the toothpaste tube.’

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

30th September 2017

I attended a really interesting session at Nesta this week. ‘Trust Playing by The Rules’ ,featuring the compelling Rachel Botsman and her new book Who Can You Trust?We might have lost faith in institutions and leaders, but millions rent their home to total strangers, exchange digital currencies, and trust web bots. The implications and the potential that lie within this new era of “distributed trust” are both exciting and unnerving in equal measure – and they’re coming sooner than you think.’ My related piece on Trust from the Brand Learning blog is here – The Future (and eternal truth) of Marketing : ‘Trust’. 

From @adweek – ‘Watson Advertising promises to kick start the era of cognitive advertising, a field that has both legacy tech companies and startups seeking to transform every aspect of marketing from image and voice recognition to big data analysis and custom content.’ Could Watson Crack the Code of Digital Marketing?

From @nesta. The Gender Imbalance in Film Casts. ‘We might expect that the gender mix of film casts has steadily improved over the last half century, matching the rise of women in the wider UK workforce. But the reality is quite different. Since the end of the Second World War there have been no sustained gains in the percentage of cast members who are women in UK films.

From Creative Review. ‘Meme culture is a vast and ever expanding tool in our visual cultural lexicon. That’s because even one image can make us think of specific people or situations, while resonating with many of us at once.’ How do you tell a story in a single image?

What are the themes that make memes so popular? Here are some of the strands – ‘co-dependancy’, ‘schemas’, ‘clapbacks’, ‘bad luck brian’, ‘evil kermit’, and ‘me versus you’.

A new BBC series looks at the cultural history of attention metrics from Victorian music halls to Facebook. From Clapping to Likes, and Back Again. 

From @campaign. How AirBnb built a brand by telling the world not to travel.

This is a rather wonderful approach to storytelling – traditional, digital and interactive. Alexander Perrin’s Short Trip is the first instalment in a collection of interactive illustrations created for the web. It was created as a study into capturing the essence of graphite on paper within a digital context, and to learn more about web-based graphics technologies.

Interesting piece from Stratechery on ‘Aggregation Theory’ – describes how platforms (i.e. aggregators) came to dominate the industries in which they compete in a systematic and predictable way. ‘Aggregation Theory should serve as a guidebook for aspiring platform companies, a warning for industries predicated on controlling distribution, and a primer for regulators addressing the inevitable antitrust concerns that are its endgame.’

The very wonderful, timeless 90 year old David Attenborough, narrates the trailer for the  ‘Blue Planet 2’. Music for the series is provided by Hans Zimmer and Radiohead.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

22nd September 2017

‘People give off lots of signals of what they’re thinking about and whether they want to buy more. They tell us by logging in to the brand’s website or searching for the brand by name. They also talk about the brand on social media, and they’ve installed the brand’s app on their smartphones.’ From @adweek, this why ‘Signal Planning’ is the most compelling media planning innovation in decades.

From Simon Sinek and the Royal Society of Arts. ‘Sick of endless ‘re-orgs’, lay-offs and away days? Why do workplaces always go for quick wins and flashy paint jobs over steady, consistent change? ‘Great culture, in any organisation, is about Consistency, not Intensity.’ (short video).

More pressure on digital advertising income as Apple’s New iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra will stop ads following Safari users. This has prompted an open letter claiming Apple is destroying the internet’s economic model.

Multiple small companies report they’re seeing one-star reviews of unverified purchases on their pages that are written with bad grammar, coupled with remarks like, “Great product satisfaction guaranteed.” Amazon reviews have a bot problem.

WARC announces the award winners for 2017 across its three categories – Brand Purpose, Social Strategy and Content Strategy. Grand Prix winners in each category are Whirlpool, Kentucky Fried Chicken (UK) and KFC Malaysia.

For all the steps Facebook has taken to support publishers, two new reports offer a reminder of who’s really in charge. Parse.ly data shows that across its 2,500-site network, Facebook declined as a source of referral traffic to publishers, with Google passing the social network to become the biggest referrer. Social analytics firm BuzzSumo, meanwhile, reported that Facebook engagement across 880 million posts from publishers and brands has fallen 20 percent since January.

Enlightening and beautifully presented. ‘When we experience art we feel connected to something larger’.. ‘the logic of art is a neural turn-on.’ From The Washington Post, This is Your Brain On Art. 

Latest emarketer UK figures, on ad spend and time spent with selected media show the accelerating domination of digital channels. The projection for 2019 is that digital will account for 68% of ad spend, of which 51% will be on mobile. All other channels are declining of course with 2019 projections as follows – TV: 21%, Radio: 1.8% and Print: 9.5%.

A new method to evaluate quality of life in cities is emerging – using music as an indicator. From @nesta – ‘Music is infrastructure, similar to schools, roads and hospitals. It requires building, maintaining, evaluating and assessing. This includes our built environment’s capability to host and support music, but also how it feeds into the fabric of our urban lives. This includes every child playing an instrument, every festival and every music license in shops, cafes and hairdressers.

Vimeo staff picks are always a great place to see some top video content. Top of the ‘all time’ table, in terms of views, is The Mountain, and with 76.3 million views it is 47.6 million more than the number two.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

16th September 2017

From The Conversation. Could the internet of things be sending us back to the middle ages? The underlying issue is ownership. ‘(But) the expansion of the internet of things seems to be bringing us back to something like an old feudal model, where people didn’t own the items they used every day. In this 21st-century version, companies are using intellectual property law – intended to protect ideas – to control physical objects consumers think they own.

@mondaynote on the ‘The Level 5 Fallacy of Autonomous Cars.’ (Level 5 means going from point A to point B with a fraction, say 1/10th, of today’s accident rate. No ifs, no buts, no steering wheel). It’s a great vision, but one that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

From @adliterate. ‘The ad industry hates the word “and”. Instead, if we are really honest, we much prefer the word “or”. We tend to be “or” sorts of people. Ours is a binary world. You can grow the market or grow the brand, not both. You can seek more penetration or greater weight of purchase, not both. You can build the brand or sell the product, not both. You can buy route one or route two, not both. You can have it good or fast, not both. ‘And’ – this one word could deliver real brand transformation.

Loads of stuff about the new iPhone this week. Since it was introduced 10 years ago, the iPhone has added a great deal to our lives. Here, however is a look at some of the things it has destroyed.

During Apple’s big event on Tuesday, the presenter tried unlock an iPhone X using Apple’s new face recognition system, Face ID, but it didn’t work. Perhaps they should have asked Arya from Game of Thrones, to help out.

13 keys to success in Digital Marketing in a single map.

Worried about the upcoming change in data laws? This piece from @econsultancy suggests that you should be welcoming G.D.P.R. ‘ Why anyone whose business relies on personal data would be ungrateful for the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a mystery to me: it is a huge step in the right direction, designed to benefit data holders and consumers alike. There are costs to becoming ready, and the potential risk of being fined for non-compliance – but these are short-term problems, which will soon be forgotten in the wake of a more transparent, efficient data economy.

The BBC has made a drama for Amazon Echo and Google Home. “Hello, my name is Dave,” says a female voice as the story begins. “I hope life has been comfortable in the containment room?”

Concerned about what you share on social media? Relax. The offspring of various dictators are having a high old time, telling us all about it and getting away with it. From The Economist : ‘The Mugabe brothers are having a night out again. Here they are showing off their outfits: distressed white denim, high-top sneakers, statement sunglasses. Now they’re in a VIP booth at a club, swaying and swigging from bottles of Moët & Chandon while the music pumps. At some point they will post a flame emoji, indicating that the evening is “lit”.

A sex robot appeared on This Morning, and yes, it’s as uncomfortable as you would imagine. On a more harmonious note, here is a video of a panda eating (decimating?) a bamboo shoot. 

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

8th September 2017

From How We Get To Next. ‘It is important to think about what, exactly, the relationship is between our brains and our smartphones, and the impact that that relationship has on our mental health, our social lives, and how young people perceive the world around them. But to focus our worry on how smartphones might be “rewiring kids’ brains” is missing a bigger point. We should think less about changing brains and more about whether we can trust the devices that are doing the changing. After all, they’re designed and built by people trying to make money from us.’ Your Brain is Your Phone.

A fabulous animated and interactive infographic. This visual essay, from Google News Lab, seeks to understand which questions people want answers to; filtered by age, geography and time. Starting with how to fix a toilet. 

From The Economist. ‘What machines can tell from your face. Life in the age of facial recognition.’ ‘In America facial recognition is used by churches to track worshippers’ attendance; in Britain, by retailers to spot past shoplifters. This year Welsh police used it to arrest a suspect outside a football game. Apple’s new iPhone is expected to use it to unlock the home screen. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. For me, the abiding image of facial recognition is this clip from Minority Reportpersonal advertising in the future. 

From @adweek. Once a running joke, LinkedIn is suddenly a hot Social Network. Over the last two years, LinkedIn has pumped up its publishing platform, reduced the spam, streamlined its mobile and desktop apps, and introduced new lead-generation and targeting tools.

The gang from Street Wisdom (friends of the Filter) launch their ‘Worldwide Wander’ this weekend. I ran an event in Borough Market this morning, but there are many more events across this weekend. More information here.

From The New Yorker, ‘How to Call ‘B.S.’ on Big Data –  A Practical Guide.’ For example – Upon encountering a piece of information, in any form, ask, “Who is telling me this? How does he or she know it? What is he or she trying to sell me?”

Love this – ‘At this point, I’ve given up. I’m back to Google, back to searching for a database of contacts, because even though I came to the… page knowing exactly what I wanted, I have no idea what they offer.’ For the love of God, please tell me what your company does.

The thick plot continues to thicken. A Russian firm tied to pro-Kremlin propaganda advertised on Facebook during election. ‘Facebook officials reported that they traced the ad sales, totalling $100,000, to a Russian “troll farm” with a history of pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda.’ (HT @andygreenehouse). And here are the fake Americans that Russia created to influence the election.

From Adweek. Digital Advertising’s moment of truth? P&G’s Marc Pritchard and CMOs from Bank of America, Unilever and more have been demanding transparencyGoing into the fourth quarter—mere months from when Pritchard has threatened to pull the rug out from under major players including Facebook, Google, Twitter, agencies and more—the mandate is only 50 to 60 percent complete.

These stories are not often told but can be full of valuable learnings. Here are some of the biggest failed start-ups of 2017, including Juicero, Jawbone, Yik Yak and Lily. 

And finally…A bit of navel gazing this, but I cannot resist mentioning that this year, is the 30 year anniversary of the wonderful Withnail and I. The film was celebrated with a screening this week at the B.F.I. including appearances from Bruce Robinson and Richard E. Grant. Worth another look at the soliloquy from the end? –  ‘I have of late—but wherefore I know not—lost all my mirth….

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

3rd September 2017

From Digiday – The growth of Amazon as an advertising platform.’The prospect of Amazon emerging as the main rival to Google and Facebook’s duopoly over digital media seems increasingly plausible, now that some of the world’s biggest brands are starting to consider it for their budgets. This is how Amazon is seeking to grow it’s programmatic income – ‘Amazon is growing its ad business, most recently making two big moves that will bring it more revenue‘.

From @wired. ‘While I’m looking forward to the upcoming announcement of the iPhone 8 (or iPhone X… or just iPhone), as a potential customer I’ve become more and more dissatisfied with the iPhone’s lack of real character or differentiation, despite its engineering excellence and technological prowess. Though there’s promise of technological advancements… I fear we’re on an inevitable race to what I call the ‘zero product’.

Grayson Perry on creativity in the Creative Review. Contrary to popular myth, Grayson Perry says, most successful artists are pragmatic and work-obsessed. ‘All the talent in the world can go to waste if it is not allied to punctuality, the ability to build relationships and hard work. He explores his own working methods and how he is influenced by ‘the two artists living in my head: the obsessive, meticulous Hobbit and the bold, mischievous, provocative Punk’.

The phenomenon of ‘Finsta’s’ (fake instagram accounts) exist against a backdrop of social media’s conflict with the world of work. ‘Young people have long created multiple social media accounts or used online pseudonyms. A constant refrain about social media is that a boozy photo or an offhand comment can cost you career opportunities. So college students have internalised this fear by staging an employable social media front.

What a wonderful idea, the RSA plans to create a ’21st Century Enlightenment Coffee House’. ‘Imagine a coffeehouse like no other: one that is a catalyst for progressive change; the engine room for a global network; a place where great ideas are born.

And here is a great TED talk on the lost world of the London coffeehouse. ‘Would you go up to a stranger in a coffee shop and ask them for the latest news? Dr Matthew Green takes us back to the 17th and 18th centuries when London’s original fleet of coffeehouses were very different from the current crop of branded cafes.’

Nice article from friends of the Filter, Tony Franco and Adam Morgan of @eatbigfish – ‘The Creativity of Constraints’ . ‘Restrictions are a common challenge for business today and come in all shapes and sizes – smaller budgets, fewer people and shorter time frames. Adam and Tony argue that working with constraints shouldn’t be seen as a problem, but a new capability for a new era of marketing that we all need to master.

Patagonia is a great example of a brand with a clear proposition and a compelling, engaging message. Interesting that in 45 years they had not created a TV commercial. Well now they have – it is uncompromisingly political and has a message that could not be much clearer. 

Spotify’s new ‘Upstream’ podcast taps top brand execs for culture forecasting. Contributors include the New York Times, Refinery 29, IBM and activist and songwriter Madame Ghandi.

First public footage of Hyperloop One’s Pod test. Everything starts moving at around two minutes and twenty five seconds in.