— THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE

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BIG IDEAS

This is one of the smartest things I’ve seen recently, and, by proxy, one of the most inspiring. Ana Andjelic, a planner (and visual thinker – her words) based in NYC, recently scored a pretty plum gig at everyone’s super-cool-boutique-agency-not-named-Anomaly®, Droga5.

Now, Droga5 aren’t mugs, they probably get resume’s from dozens and dozens of people every day, touting there wares with varying degrees of zaniness and blandness. Cutting through that noise takes smarts. So how do you cut through?

Well, having a strong social presence is usually a good start, but more than that, you need to illustrate your value, and your point of view, in an interesting and compelling way. Ana got this spot on by presenting herself, her story and her work in a clear, and smart narrative. Her presentation lets you really get an understanding of not just what you are buying (skills), but also the personality behind those skills.

You might think this might sound like the most obvious thing in the world to do. And it is. But it’s so much harder to achieve in practice. It’s easy to get lost into a rabbit hole where the work we do defines us as people within the industry, whereas, the people we are, the influences we have, and things we do beyond the walls of work are actually as crucial, if not more important, because they help make the work better, because we embrace the very things that make us better at our jobs. Culture.

This presentation, helped me remember that. Offered clarity. Thanks Ana for your generosity, and good luck in your new role. (Sending something your way now…)

Via.

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Here’s a useful little round-up of the 10 business models that stood out in 2010. Some you’ll know, some you won’t. Either way, this is a vital look at how great new Internet businesses are changing the way we shop, stay, live and create. Go get some.

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Hello again.

People who have visited this blog in the last month (I do know you’re out there…) Will have noticed it’s been a bit quiet around here. Well, apart from the excesses of Christmas and a general disengagement from all things ‘Internety’ I spent two wonderfully inspiring weeks soaking up the wares of New York City. (Flickr link to come…) It gave me time to think about the year that has been (e.g: shit), and the year that now is (better be immense). In response to my shitty 2010 I didn’t indulge in any of the ‘best of 2010’s’ lists but suiting an outlook gleaned from NYC, looked to the future.

The Guardian got in early with it’s 20 predictions with the next 25 years. Which, while interesting, is so far into the future it borders on the pointless. So, with the a focus firmly on the near present, JWT Intelligence (Out of it’s New York headquarters) have presented their “100 Things to Watch in 2011”. With a number that big, you could be forgiven that this would be a scattergun approach and varied in it’s quality. I’m happy to say that it’s neither. It’s smart, concise and relevant to the very particular challenges and opportunities that face both culture at large and advertising in 2011. It’s worth a read and a bookmark. Let’s see at the end of the year how many of these predictions came true…

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@Saneel (of BBH Labs) tweeted this supreme document from the Creative Labs crew at Google. It does a cracking job of rounding up every decent bit of creativity we have seen in the last year or so using technology as a platform to create brilliant and engaging work. It serves as both an inspiring summary doc, and the biggest gauntlet throw down to all of us to strive and create better and more inspiring work. (Well, that’s what it did for me anyway) Check it out here.

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A couple of weeks ago, Wolff Olins launched a brand re-fresh for PwC (Price Waterhouse Coopers) the global consulting firm. My initial contact with the new Brand came from the increasingly influential (and increasingly snarky, more on this later) website Brand New. Brand New’s official review is glowing. Rightly so. As Simon Manchipp of SomeOne pointed out in his blog, there is probably no tougher brief than that of refreshing and focussing a global business of this scale, doubly the difficulty with a consulting firm, triple it with it’s organisational complexity and differing regional cultures. That’s one tough cookie to crack, and the re-brand, does the brief justice.

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If there is one thing that has dominated the myriad of conversations in marketing and branding terms the last year or so, it is the idea of online collaboration. Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding, there seemed to be alot of talking about what it might be, but very little getting involved and experimenting with it. I would readily admit that I have been one of those people. Until last month, when I got invovled with my very first Crowd-Funded project. I became a part of the Bucket Brigade, a collection of the super smart thinkers and doers from around the world who have come together to help create a book. One month in the experience is as fascinating, and potentially exciting as anything I’ve found and done on the web yet. Big words, but I’ll explain why I believe in them.

First, a bit of backstory, this project is the brainchild of Bud Caddell, current Strategy Director of Victor & Spoils, and the writer of ‘What Consumes Me’ (read the breakdown of the evolution of the Old Spice/W&K work and you’ll get the idea that it’s a pretty smart site) About a month and a bit ago, a tweet from Bud popped up on Tweetdeck, it was a link for the Bucket Brigade (working title) the rather charming codeword for what is was a crowdfunded, and collaborative experiment in writing a book. Bud was using Kickstarter to raise the funds. Kickstarter is still relatively new to the ‘crowd_____’ scene, but has generated alot of good press with it’s perky attitude, the ease with which you can kick start projects, and it’s transparency (Don’t raise the amount? All money gets refunded) Disapora was the first real hit off the site gathering over $200,000 dollars of funding in just under a month. Bud’s original target was for the relatively modest sum of $5,000. 372% funded and $18,591 later, 212 backers from all different job backgrounds and locations later are now Bucketeers, joining Bud on his journey.

There are a couple of things here that reveal the best of the collaborative web. Firstly, we now trust our networks to such a degree that we are more than willing to put down a fair wedge of $,£,€ to fund a project by someone who I have never met ‘in person’ and I would guess, neither have two thirds of the rest of the group. Secondly, how websites like Kickstarter have created a tone and attitude to their brand that takes the sting out of the concept of ‘crowdwhatever’, this is a much more than just spec work. Instead (of a perception) of many doing the heavy lifting for the few, there is a genuine exchange happening of skills and insight here. You feel like you are leaping off the edge of the poverbial cliff with the money, but the strength and trust in your network, gives you a reassuring foundation to the financial commitment. Conversely, once you’re into the commitment, the more you feel you have something useful to contribute, maybe not all the time, but enough for both the backers and the funded to gain out of that expertise. You achievements, the milestones become shared. This helps explain the colleigiate tone that has so far guided the project. (I sit in the second ‘tier’ – the editoral board, range of interesting people in this space is IMMENSE, and we get to see all the emails and questions arising from the project)

Personally, I hope to gain valuable experience across all these fields, and from all these people, that will help me become better at what I do. This sounds selfish, but what I find very engaging is that I gain, and the collective gains from this shared knowledge, and Bud gets to write a book that he is genuinely passionate about. It’s about as close to a win-win-win as you get. Already the quality and depth of the conversations has at times enlightened me, and others bamboozled me. If you want to stretch your brain and see the web not just as a marketing or branding tool, but as an innovative and definitive orgainsing principle for companies around the world, then it looks like this might be the spot to do that. The project mirrors some of these embryonic principles. I’ve put together a Twitter list of the editorial board, while @Malbonster has another bigger list here. I recommend that you follow these lists, as the smartness you will accrue is worth the effort. Finally, here’s to all my fellow Bucketeers may we enjoy the journey, and be proud that we have kickstarted a potentially great project, and by doing that, bought a little bit more awesomeness to the web!

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Everyone should take a look at The Big Picture. Over the lat few years it has gained a large cult following each week with it’s stunning thematically selected images that are well, big. What the Big Picture reminds us is the power of photojournalism in provoking our senses or willing us to see a subject in a new light.

However, as with anything on the web, it is rather lampoonable, which is where The Big Caption comes in. This Tumblr blog takes the best and the worst of the Big Picture content, slaps some cool (and not so cool) typefaces on it, and wreaks havoc. It’s fun, irreverent, and actually the best ones provoke even stronger reactions to the images, (as above) others are just laugh out loud funny. You decide which is which. More after the jump.

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