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It’s a different month from last month, which can only mean one thing: NOKlist time. (Actually, it could probably mean more than one thing. Like bills and calendar pages and maybe a haircut. But this is the thing that matters right now.)
May’s Nuggets of Knowledge is one for both self-reflection and helpful tips. New approaches to strategy and brand voice, musings on the interaction of art and technology and bank robbers, and thoughts on learning and on working: these all lie before you. Exciting, right?
(And if you’d like to check out previous NOKlists, we’ve got a whole Nuggets of Knowledge archive.)
by Tim Kreider
When was the last time you told someone you were busy? Whether you were busy at the day/time of an event you were invited to or used the word to describe your day/week/life as a whole, it’s a commonly used word in most people’s vocabulary. In his book, We Learn Nothing: Essays, writer and cartoonist Tim Kreider tackles the dark truth about the bullshit of busyness. In this hilarious yet almost eerily relatable essay, Tim discusses our motivations for being busy or saying we are busy, whether we’re addicted to it and common motivations for being so, as well as the popular concept of plan shopping.
You’ll have to check out the book for yourself, but what I’ve provided here is an audio recording of this particular chapter of the book, kindly provided by another helpful Tim, Tim Ferris. I’d highly recommend taking fifteen minutes to listen to this essay. And then take fifteen minutes to think about whether busyness is a necessary and inevitable condition of your life or whether it’s just a trap.
As a content creator and someone who works on developing, refining, and enhancing brands, I’m interested in the way that companies (or their marketing team) develop a brand voice. It’s through the brand voice that we get to know the company’s personality and can distinguish one company from another, which may inspire us to buy from one company over another. As the author says: A tone of voice expresses a unique personality, turning a faceless company into a group of people with their own special way of working or, in other words, a brand. It is only through embracing a tone of voice that consistency can be achieved – breeding familiarity and trust with an audience.
This is a very thorough guide (5 chapters!) on developing a brand’s voice with lots of examples (mainly British) to look at, plus exercises to help you define and refine your own company’s voice.
by Blast Theory
We like to talk a lot about how the world is changing at high speeds. (Because it is.) The explosive development of mobile technology and the cultural shifts – both overt and terribly subtle – that accompany it are almost too dizzying and pandemic for examination in everyday life.
Fortunately we have artists among us. Art is all about taking the time to question and examine and present the world as we find it. And in a world like ours, art is no longer confined to canvases or museums. It can be a full-immersion, individual experience of a slice of the fast-paced life we take for granted. Or at least, that’s what art collective Blast Theory seems to be doing.
Based in the UK, Blast Theory has embraced the new technologies available in order to pose questions about, well, the new technologies available. From the privacy issues raised by a hide-and-seek games around the city to the implications of playing the bank robber lead in an interactive film to an app featuring an increasingly boundary-less life coach, their work draws on real situations, locations, and people to realize the impact of rapid information and ubiquitous technology on a world that was imperfect to start with.
No matter what you believe about their politics, the interactive experiences and performances that Blast Theory has created require the individual audiences to see the world around them with new eyes. And isn’t that what art is for?
(Plus…some of their stuff is pretty cool.)
It’s time we take a new look at the way we build strategies. I’m always looking for better ways to support our clients and get to the meat of what will move the needle for our clients. I’m not talking about moving the needle on just the shiny, immediate things, I’m talking about having breakthroughs that truly help the company become a better brand.
What I love about this post is that it challenges you to think differently. It encourages you to fail, and fail quickly. Most people are afraid of failure but Matthew Daniels reminds us of its benefits: failing allows you to learn and hopefully discover something new. If you’re ready to start solving problems without getting bogged down in the planning, this post is for you.
In my new role at Mack Web, I often find myself feeling like I’m in over my head, out of my league, and just plain confused. But it’s in those very same moments that I am able to take a look around and realize the brilliance and support of the team surrounding me. My team helps me to reconnect with the desire and spark for something new that led me to this career choice.
This article was the perfect reminder that it takes time and patience to learn something new and be successful at it. I love the challenge of learning a new skill, and the steps that James Altucher has articulated so perfectly here are examples of the persistence, patience, support and self motivation it can require. He reminds me that “The learning curve that we all travel is not built by accomplishments. It’s only built by quantity” and “If you aren’t obsessed with your mistakes then you don’t love the field enough to get better.” With every day of learning comes a new challenge, and with every challenge conquered comes a greater love of my new role and the industry I’m in.
But above all else, this is the idea that helped me recognize how far I’ve come and see the joy in how much further I can go: “… find your unique voice. And when you speak in that voice, the world hears something it has never heard before. Your old teachers and friends might not want to hear that voice. But if you continue to be around people who love and respect you, then they will encourage that new voice.” I love my new team, my new voice, and the exciting journey I’ve begun. Cheers to learning something new!