Which means that it's that time of year again - coinciding with buds of hope and enthusiasm that push their way into the world during what Elliot called the 'cruelest month' - PSFK NYC is back on April 9th.
This time it's a gathering for our future, featuring some awesome thinkdoers including:
Rob Walker [if you haven't read Buying In, you should, it's great]
Grant McCracken [ditto on Chief Culture Officer]
Nick Felton [early prophet of personal data viz: creator of the FELTRON report, which you should also check out]
Shantell Martin: awesome vj and installation artist, spent years in Japan, from London
And various other people who create, comment upon and commercialise the culture we all feast upon.
If you happen to be walking to work tomorrow [weds 25th March] morning in NYC, then keep your eyes open!
I've just received word [exciting time sensitive brand activity newsflash alert right here on TIGS!] that tomorrow morning Havianas, the much loved Brazilian flip-flop brand
[In Australia, flip-flops are called thongs, which can be confusing. In New Zealand, they are called jandals, which is less confusing, but is still a bit odd]
is hitting up NYC.
To celebrate spring, they are leaving FlipFlopFlowerPots all over the city - they should appear sometime between 7am and 8am - and you can steal 'em.
[Not in the sense of Genius Steals, more in the sense of picking them up and keeping them.]
They're also running a twitpiccomp:
The person with the most retweets of their TwitPic will win a pair of Havaianas. So – If you see a flower pot of flip flops tomorrow AM on your way to work, snap a picture and tag @Havaianas [And of course follow on Twitter as well –http://twitter.com/havaianas]
Below are a few of the places to keep an eye open in and around - good luck!
Wall Street - The Bull 14th Street and 8th Ave Subway Stops Houston/2nd Ave Park/F Train Tompkin's Sq Park Astor Place Washington Sq Park
Madison Sq Park
Bryant Park Conde Nast Building
Times Square (either on tables on the boardwalk or the bleacher steps by TKTS booth)
Anything that makes us look at something we've habituated to - like our walk to work - is groovy.
As I've said before - the world is way more interesting if you can manage to keep paying attention but it's really hard- habituation is our greatest power and weakness.
Because advertising grew up in a world where media was scarce, we got used to compression and density being key communication skills.
A proposition is the densest possible articulation, the work of a planner that has compressed everything necessary down into the smallest possible space. [Convergent]
And a tagline opens that meaning back up again, attempts to express as much as possible, to as many people as possible, in the most memorable textual unit. [Divergent]
Which is why advertising has long thrived on paronomasia - or PUNS - because leveraging phonic ambiguities allows you to say two different things at the same time, and when people decode it, it feels satisfying.
[Apparently in China, because of the way language is constructed, layering meaning is far more complex, so a tag line can have 10 meanings layered into it.]
Of late, I've noticed a specific form emerging: PUNctuation - that is, using punctuation to create multiple meanings.
Sony's new line is: make.believe - they explain why on their site makedotbelieve.
But then I started to see it everywhere:
And this morning I got to meet the CEO of AOL Tim Armstrong at a lovely breakfast thrown by the awesome people at Wolff Ollins [thanks dudes!] and Rosie pointed out to me that they are at it as well:
Anyone spotted anymore?
UPDATE: a submission from Dave:
and one from Sarah:
Keep 'em coming and I'll continue to update the post.
My mate Eva just sent me this lovely deck about spreadable media she has slideshared - saying: I've stolen a bunch of stuff from you so let me know if you are cool for this to stay up and be shared.
Now, obviously it would be a little churlish of me, with a blog called TIGS, to cry foul of someone remixing ideas that I clearly stole and remixed in the first place - but I love the fact that she asked, primarily because it let's me know someone is interested in some of the stuff I've been talking about, and is finding uses for it.
And now I can steal it back, use it, and [hopefully] build on it.
And herein lies the awesomeness for today. The thinking has developed, been co-mingled with others, added to - it's multiplied.
In fact, seeds of thought I harvested from elsewhere and attempted to sow have grown, evolved, and become even more useful [to me].
It's only by throwing out loads of different seeds, establishing several fields of interest, that the stuff I'm going to be interested in can get spliced into other lineages, AND then find its way back to me on the breeze.
[Excuse that tortured metaphor - no analogies were harmed however]
Ideas only seem to multiply [rather then just grow] when they get mixed with others, inside other people's heads.
Buy tickets here - they are just $20 :enough to put a child into school for two months with everything they need.
Here's the Spread'N'Win Bit:
I'm offering to buy two VIP tickets as a prize for whoever helps spread the word most.
To enter, all you have to do is promote TwestivalNYC on your blog, or twitter, or facebook, or all of the above, and post a link to the post in the comments below - all the info you need is in this post.
That's the cost of entry.
The winner will be the best promotional post, tweet, idea - the one that looks like it will spread the most, and so ultimately help raise the most money for children who need it.
My decision is final and that - prizes will be awarded on Thursday afternoon.
[which was held at PWC's office in new York, because they couldn't secure space from an advertising agency, which made me sad - shame on us]
and before it I gave this microinterview, which I've just seen has been posted.
So here it is. It's my first ever vlog post. Exciting!
[Disclaimer - the first bit is no longer true as I no longer do that job. I guess it was true then, but you get what I mean].
In it I say a bunch of things that I hope you will find briefly interesting, including how exciting gestural interfaces are, what awesome things banners could become and how everything should be a bit more like a game.
Then I say that I think technology should be considered a medium, because I think it should - it's what we do with it that makes it awesome, not what it is.
As SouthBySouthWest approaches, promising tantalizing glimpses of what will be cool in technology and music many months from now and the possibility that the next twitter or foursquare will be launched, probably via twitter and foursquare, my thoughts turn to the real reason people fly thousands of miles to Texas: beer with friends, old and new.
As he did last year, Andy has taken the ethos of Beersphere and run with it, leaving me only to say: yes please let's do that!
I met some very good friends at South By BeerSphere last year, I can only hope to see some and meet a few more this year.
Thanks to Heather I came across this video on twitter, and goodness does it make me happy.
I'm putting together some words at the moment, in some longer format about what TIGS is all about - how culture is inherently recombinant and iterative: it builds endlessly on and from what came before, creating novelty in new combinations. How the most awesome stuff comes from the broadest set of sources and inspiration.
Fundamentally, I do not believe creativity can come from nothing. In fact, I don't even think 'originality' can even mean that.
If something truly had no referent elsewhere in culture - how would we even understand it?
Everything is inspired, everything comes from somewhere - it may not directly quote, or reference, but everything is recombinant at some level.
[First few mins of audio are bad but it gets better]
On Monday, thanks to a nice chap called Tim, I'm heading to Minneapolis to speak at series of things called Conversations About The Future of Advertising [or CATFOA].
It's lovely to be asked, especially due to the illustriousness [yep, that's a word] of the other speakers on the course: Edward Boches, Hashem Bajwa, Colleen DeCourcy are all pretty awesome thinkdoers.
I get asked about this sort of thing a lot because, well, I write about it a lot, and as an industry, and a species, we are obsessed with the future.
And we so we should be.
If you'll indulge me [and I know you will] let me quote at you from that thesis I wrote about the future of brands, a few years back:
Prospection: the act of looking forwards in time, is a quintessentially human endeavour.
In fact, some even consider it the quintessential human endeavour:
“The human being is the only animal that thinks about the future.”
Daniel Dennett has noted that “the fundamental purpose of brains is to produce future...brains are, in essence, anticipation machines.”
We spend much of our time projecting ourselves forward, and we do this to motivate ourselves to reach towards our desired future, using the lens of that future as a way to understand what we should be doing now.
As Alan Kay said, the best way to predict the future is to invent it. We can motivate our- selves by imagining less pleasant to- morrows, of eroding relevance and margins, and thus engage in prudent, prophylactic behaviour.
We are usually wrong, as I've pointed out before, due to the biases of presentism that prevent us from predicting anything actually novel, but that doesn't mean we should think about it and try to work out what our role in it is, and how to get there.
And in fact, predicting what I'm going to say is the assignment Tim has given to his class.