Latest Observations

On Marketing and the Power of Specificity

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Feb 23, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

Specificity converts. In marketing there should be no such thing as a general message. The marketer communicates with an aim. This aim should dictate everything else we say. This aim should influence, even constrain, every word we say.

Hemmingway said, “Make every word tell.” In marketing, the dictates are the same. In the average agency, there is far too much energy expended on the general. Generalization, in marketing is only acceptable where specificity cannot be achieved. 

On the Perspective of Art and it’s Many Shapes

Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Feb 20, 2015
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

All of art is a form of poetry. Art cannot be judged by the criterion of the efficient, nor is it’s inherit inefficiency a form of subtle glorification. Art is recognized by its ricochet effect. It strikes first in the heart of an artist.

Art is related to a penetration of darkness. All art takes a form of light. It is the angle, the expression, the limitation, the breakthrough…

Art is most often an unexpected light. When you hear art, it changes how you see. Art often begins from a different perspective. Art often yields a different perspective. There is no perspective without light. Darkness is the absolute void of perspective.

On Speaking with the Background

Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Feb 19, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

Often, I occupy the foreground of my mind in order to ruminate with the "background." I have little confidence in the accepted classification of conscious and sub-conscious phenomena. Nevertheless, I am aware of levels within the collection of activities that constitute the "presencing" of my "I-ness" (think David Hume).

Moreover, I think there is a place in art for the background to say more than the foreground. Indeed this inverse approach bears experimentation. In some ways, William James achieved this in the dialogue of his characters. What they did not say was louder than (even contradicting) what they did say. (At MECLABS, I have occupied the world with the foreground of my research, but the more interesting message lies ever-so-faintly in the background).

The best poetry speaks from the background, not the foreground. In music, proper attention is placed on the foreground, either the voice instrument or the direct message of the lyrics. But the more powerful compositions seep down deeper into the sub-soul of the listener (think Leonard Cohen).

Excerpt from: Short Story: On the Merciless, Relentless Pressing

On Leadership and The Need to Separate the “What” from the “When”

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Feb 18, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

The leader knows “where” before he knows “how,” but he knows “how” before he knows “when.” It is the “when” element which makes fools out of wise men. We often know what will happen, but we seldom know when (precisely when). If we are not careful, our careless assignment of timelines may undermine our team’s trust. The leader needs to separate the “what” from the “when,” or else the latter will jeopardize the credibility of the former.

On the Three-Question Path that Defines My Becoming

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Feb 17, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Flint M

The question, “Why do people say yes?” is different than the question, “Why does a (particular) person say yes?” While the two questions seem similar, the difference is in the movement from the general to the particular. My initial work has focused on stochastic samples, and I have looked at these stochastic samples as they relate to commercial application.

However, the human mind is a mystery, and a particular individual may say “yes” for reasons that defy easy analysis. I have emphasized the importance of perceived value and perceived cost. In doing so, I’m drawing attention to the notion of perception, and in doing that, I am hinting at the next layer of research: Why two different people might look at the same value/cost set and perceive two different “sums.”

The answer to this question takes all of my current work to an entirely new level. Personally, I have found this second question leads to an especially revealing third question. In the final analysis, the most important question is not “Why do people say yes?,” and it is not “Why does a person say yes?” It is only this: “Why am I saying yes?”

On Frustration as a Corrective

Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Feb 16, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Paul C

Frustration is seen as a negative, but frustration, like pain, serves as an important corrective. When we experience pain, we alter our actions (if we touch the hot coal, we withdraw our hand). However, when we experience frustration, we tend to “wallow” in the condition.

Frustration is an indication that something is wrong. Thinking should be fluid. One must be careful not to accept, and thus get trapped, within a condition of perpetual frustration. Sometimes the answer to the question is only this: Did I ask the right question? This leads to another: What is the right question?

On Leadership and the Need to Harness Fear

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Feb 13, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

A good leader will create some fear. Popular literature has made us afraid of fear. But a team that does not experience some fear is not dealing with reality.

There are many things in the marketplace for which we should have a healthy fear, and if the leader has a healthy fear of such things (competitive threat, the erosion of the value proposition, etc.) then his team needs to have a healthy fear as well. The leader should not always allay fear; sometimes it is better to harness it.

On Intensification as Variance in Literature

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Feb 12, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Flint M

How can one bring more craftsmanship to short reflective passages? One of the key moves within quality literature is to introduce disharmony into a seemingly harmonious structure. Parallelism, which is essential to many of the modern forms, is only powerful when the second branch introduces variance. This variance often takes the form of intensification.

On the Power of Ideas over Money and Bullets

Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Feb 11, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

There are two ways to conquer. History teaches us that the Greeks were conquered by the Romans, but who conquered who? Greek art, Greek culture and Greek philosophy dominated Roman life a thousand years later; indeed, it is still dominant today. You cannot achieve with money what you can achieve by thought. The world is not ruled by money or bullets, but by ideas. The former two are always directed by the latter.

On Becoming Too Busy to Slow Down and See

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Feb 10, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

Leaders can become overwhelmed by all that must be done. However, the No. 1 reason we carry the burden is not because we have too much to do; it is because we have too much to "see." We have not fought hard enough for perspicuous clarity. Beware of the “leadership fog.” We should not rush forward faster than we can truly see.