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    This is the personal blog of Simon Kendrick and covers my interests in media, technology and popular culture. All opinions expressed are my own and may not be representative of past or present employers
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Links – 8th February 2009

I know it’s overkill, but the snow excitement is yet to abate. I didn’t create this snowman, but he is so exceptional that he deserves all the publicity going.

Picture by me

Anyway, things I would recommend reading include:

  • Live | Work have an absolutely brilliant post on Service Thinking – a must-read
  • Umair Haque’s Smart Growth Manifesto proposes a focus on outcomes rather than incomes, connections rather than transactions, people not product, and creativity not productivity. Very thought-provoking – another must-read
  • Asi Sharabi channels Sturgeon’s Law to sober up from digital. Some digital campaigns may be great, just as some TV campaigns are great and some press campaigns are great. But a lot of advertising isn’t great. There is a great observation in there about social media helping brands become more humane.
  • Dave Trott’s blog is fast becoming one of my favourites – a regular must-read. I particularly love this tip on great management.
  • Silicon Alley Insider set up a Twitter contest, inviting people to propose a business model for the service. They chose a market research tool as the winner. Commenters were unimpressed – largely, I think, because the proposed revenues were quite modest. (Via Tom)
  • The Compare the Market/Meerkat campaign has been getting a lot of attention online (and rightly so). Amelia Torode, a Planner at the agency responsible, summarises the success
  • And finally, Neil Perkin’s presentation on community created by the community has justifiably gone down a storm. He requested readers submit a slide, and received 30 replies (including one from myself). It highlights about both group thinking and individual ideas can be harnessed for maximum effect by some sort of moderator/curator/director/benevolent dictator. Great stuff. Click through the link above to get the transcript of the deck.

Additional links and pictures can be found at my tumblr

Hangover permitting, I’ll be at the coffee morning on Friday

sk

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Koyaanisqatsi and different perspectives

Last night I finally got around to watching Koyaanisqatsi, Godfrey Reggio’s classic collaboration with the master of the recursive composition, Philip Glass. It is the first part of a trilogy, with Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi succeeding.

Koyaanisqatsi is a Hopi Indian word that means (in one translation) “Life Out of Balance”. The central message of the film is fairly simplistic – nature is wondrous and man is destructive – but even the depictions of destruction display a certain beauty and nobility.

What makes it such a classic (and a film I would wholeheartedly recommend) is the cumulative effect that the time-lapse, slow motion and recursive/minimalist soundtrack have on the senses. One can become hypnotised by things we didn’t realise existed. Some of the iconic shots sound simplistic (and stock footage is heavily used) but the excellence is in the execution (as Bret Hart used to say)

  • Cloud movement sped up to resemble waves
  • An atomic bomb exploding in slow motion
  • Video still-life portraits
  • The moon passing behind a skyscraper
  • Nighttime traffic sped up to resemble waves of electricity
  • Flaming debris from the Atlas Rocket circling in the sky

The techniques utilised have been transferred to the world of advertising to great effect. Three examples from music, video games and consumer goods are:

GTA: IV

Ray of Light by Madonna

Dove’s Onslaught


Watching the film has re-iterated a very simple instruction that I try to follow, but invariably don’t.

Look around.

Rather than walk around London with my head down and earphones in, look up. Stop from time to time. Observe. That way I will see something I have never previously noticed.

New observations lead to new ideas. These don’t have to be revolutionary. They do need to display understanding and insight. That requires attention.

One section (movement?) of Koyaanisqatsi focuses on the everyday urban life. Yet it finds beauty through a whole new perspective.

Yesterday, Dave Trott wrote about radical common sense – creative but simple ideas.

Dirt is Gooddespite a backlash – is often held up as a good example of a straightforward yet revolutionary insight.

Ethnography and anthropology are increasingly being used in research to great effect. Just seeing how people live and operate can make a huge difference. Grant McCracken and Jan Chipchase both produce fascinating essays and insights in their respective fields, to give just two examples.

Whether it is swimming in data or sitting in the village of Nyamikamba (as Stuart did recently), there is always a new observation to be found.

We just have to look for it.

sk