I"m going to speak about some of the ideas in my book, some of things we've learned as an itinerant consultancy, some of the ways that emerging technology have allowed and encouraged to be entrepreneurs, and some ways in which I think we misunderstand what media are.
Then we'll discuss a Genius Steals generative approach to ideas, and highlight cognitive and web tools for having better ones for yourself and your brands. This special event will only be available to registrants.
If the date or time do not work for your schedule, a recording will be made available for a limited time to registrants only.
When I was a kid, my parents had a rule whereby they would never say no to buying me books or comics because reading is awesome and so are they.
I have kept this rule myself as an adult, because reading is awesome.
This, when coupled with the fractured attention span I have because Internet, Twitter, Amazon Prime, and Kindles, means that I now read in a different way than I used to.
I used to reading linearly, book by book. Now, because I buy a book that looks interesting as soon as I come across it so I don't forget, I have stack of books, physical and digital, that I'm reading, sometimes many at once.
This is probably a terrible way to read but it suits me. I sometimes find interesting synchronicities and connections between things I'm reading - hyperlinks in a way.
It means that sometimes I don't finish books, especially if they don't hold my attention, which was something I used to consider anathema, but I no longer do. So many books, so little time.
My attention is the most precious resource I have.
A couple of times before I have posted an Ex Libris of things I've been reading, and people said they liked them, and someone asked about books recently, so here are some things in my current stack that I think you might enjoy..
All of these books came through reccomendations, mostly on Twitter, some in person.
He has a very tight writing formula, he's a craftsman. This one is about a billionaire who uses ancient sex secrets to create a line of highly addictive sex toys as part of a seemingly sinister plot. I've only got one chapter left and I'm saving it. IT'S FUN.
My mate Billy gave me this, and it's hilarious. Narrated by Misha Vainberg, aka Snack Daddy, a 325-pound disaster of a human being, son of the 1,238th-richest man in Russia. Delightfully self aware and poignant in its analysis of US foreign policy and the causes of war.
It's an entirely predictable cycle. When the economy slows and things become austere, extremism rears its ugly head in seemingly civilised societies. This 1935 novel is a satirical exploration of how a dictator could take over the USA, riding such unfortunate sentiments. Obviously it's impacted by the rise of Facism in Germany, and the USA's sense of isolationism at the time. I've just started this, the introduction was fascinating.
Minor King by Jim Mitchem [not pictured - got it for Kindle.]
I've known Jim [online] for a few years and have always enjoyed his writing - his passion is raw and intense and beautiful. So I've bought his novel, which I've not read yet but have high hopes for. You can read about how he wrote it on his blog.
I'm a few chapters in on this and it's fantastic. Adam writes in a very clear and charming way - because, as he points out, saying smart things simply has been proven to be the most persuasive mode of writing.
Adam is a trained psychologist and this is heavily rooted in behavioural psychology - how to actually change behavior, through intervention and understanding, and how advertising can understand that. It pretty much over turns most of what we intuitively practice in advertising - actions change your behavior, not rational or emotional persuasion.
In EatingTheBigFish Adam literally wrote the book on challenger brand behavior. This book demonstrates how constraints are crucial to creativity, and how businesses and brands can look to make their constraints beautiful, that is to say, a source of innovation and strength. The ABC method of making contraints beautiful is clear and smart, and it's full of examples from across a HUGE range of ideas, from their 15 years working with challenger brands.
I've just started it and there are already loads of bits I want to steal.
Pitching is a fact of life, especially in advertising. Peter has been doing it for a long time and the book is full of useful tips on pitching, that so often get forgotten in the heat of an actual competitive pitch. Peter interviewed me and 13 other advertising people on our thoughts and pitch experiences and tips.
I'm starting a regular column in Admap this month but I've been a reader and fan of WARC for years.
So I've not started either of these books yet - but they both came from good sourced reccomendations. I am very interested in understanding how we understand ourselves, especially when it contravenes "common sense". I'm very interested in meta-cognitive errors - errors in how we think we think - that have a dramatic impact on how we behave, especially in advertising.
He used to be the poet laureate of the USA. I'm interested in what it's like being old. I hope to be old one day. He also has a great beard.
I haven't started it yet. I like the idea of a book of essays. Essays were invented by Michel do Montaigne. The word means try or attempt. I like the idea that writing is only ever an attempt at exploring an idea.
"Prediction is very difficult …" said pioneering nuclear physicist Niels Bohr " … especially if it’s about advertising."
But that’s never stopped us before!
It’s the time of year when we come together to remember what’s truly important: friends; family; free booze and awkward couplings at the holiday party; agency Christmas card ideas; final P&Ls; missing bonuses [unless you work in media]; and, most importantly, endless articles vaguely predicting what will happen, or what we hope will, in this business we still proudly call advertising.
We’ve rubbed our crystal balls, tuned into the trend-hunters, examined the entrails, taken a look at the tea leaves, and made a hash of the hashtag to bring you the list of predictions to end all lists of predictions.
1. Metacontent Tipping Point: The total amount of content about content marketing will overtake all other forms of content.
2. Zombievertising: Previously named dead parts of the industry will continue to roam the land, looking for brains to consume. A Kickstarter project to make a Plants vs Zombievertising game will raise a staggering amount of money, exclusively from agency folk.
is a show, like a television interview show, online.
They call them them netcasts on TWIT.TV but that terminology doesn't really help. Because media assemblages have been decompiled, and we don't have the right words in place yet. Or maybe we do, but they are hampered with legacy channel based associations.
I did a show with them last week, and you can watch it above. We talk about the inaccuracy of the term "sharing" economy, content and that, trust, Uber being naughty or nice, AirBNB, customer journeys and I try to make gags as much as possible.
HSBC 'sorry' for aiding Mexican drugs lords, rogue states and terrorists
Lawmakers hammered the British-based bank over the scandal, demanding to know how and why its affiliates had exposed it to the proceeds of drug trafficking and terrorist financing in a "pervasively polluted" culture that persisted for years. "
LAST month, HSBC admitted in court pleadings that it had allowed big Mexican and Colombian drug cartels to launder at least $881 million.
The bank also admitted to using various schemes to move hundreds of millions of dollars to nations subject to trade sanctions, including Iran, Cuba and Sudan, in violation of the Trading With the Enemy Act.
“On at least one occasion,” according to a statement by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, “HSBC instructed a bank in Iran on how to format payment messages so that the transactions would not be blocked or rejected by the United States.” "
HSBC has admitted its laundering role, and evaded criminal prosecution by paying a fine of almost $2 billion.
The lack of imprisonment of any bankers involved is indicative of the hypocritical nature of the drug war; an individual selling a few grams of drugs can face decades in prison, while a group of people that tacitly allow -- and profit from -- the trade of tons, escape incarceration. "
We were in Dubai with a client - the lovely Dubizzle - and they had put one lots of cool things for us to do. We wanted to take a couple out to in some small way return the favor, so we were looking for something non-obvious to do.
Sometimes, the non-obvious things to residents are quite obvious to toursits. In the sense that Dubai has some, many in fact, world's biggest things. Very famous things.
But the top rated attraction on TripAdvisor was something called Hint Hunt, which none of our clients had heard of.
So we took them there.
Earlier this year, I was giving a talk at Google about the INTERNET of THINGS [IOT]
[or Thingernet as I like to call it. This is because I think Thingernet is funnier. Also because I thing what we call something changes how we think about it.
It's not really an internet of things. It's a system for ubiquitous sensing and connectivity. Inside of which is people. The Internet of Behavior, perhaps.]
The brief was How do We Design For The Internet of Things.
I'm not a designer, but I believe in stealing ideas, mapping them from different domains, remixing them, to find inspiration.
One of the inspiration pieces I used was the experience design of a real life escape the room game from Croatia I had read about.
Designing experiences where you consider every single element in a space, and how human beings behave in them, seems like a relevant reference for designing for the THINGERNET.
So does Monkey Island, the old computer game where you can click on anything to see what it does.
Hint Hunt was AWESOME. A super fun, inherently collaborative experience, challenge, puzzle, game experiece.
You need a few people to do it to make it fun. The first hint they give you is communicate everything.
I really can't tell you anything about it, it would spoil the fun.
There is one in London, Paris and Dubai - and other branded escape the room type experiences cropping up all over the world.
The lovely Dave Birss, editor at large of THE DRUM and all round creative renaissance man, has made an excellent documentary series called The Day Before Tomorrow, about innovations happening as of right now in different categories.
[He concepted, wrote, presented, co-animated and wrote the theme tune. Creative polymath. He's probably good at maths too. ]
It's great - released as a sequential batch in the way of modern things, each episode fitting nicely into a lunch hour.
[Please take a lunch hour. They won't thank you for not doing so. They just begin to expect it.
If you have to eat at your desk, watch this show. But, if you can, go out.]
He very kindly invites Genius Steals to take part, so Rosie and I are in different episodes, saying things.
The one above is the Smart Cities one, which features me saying a few things.