How a team of accountants created the greatest brand of all time

Like anyone, when I read a non-fiction book I’m looking for lessons.  Stuff I can use, and of course stuff I can bring to you in this newsletter. Naturally I want such lessons to be surprising and counter-intuitive, but even so I wasn’t quite prepared for this one: Wanna create a legendary brand?  Then leave […]

The magic of Schwarzenegger Goals

What is the point of a goal? Sounds weird doesn’t it.  Like a non-sensical question.  When we set a goal, surely the goal itself is the point, right? It’s the thing we want. The thing we’re striving for. The destination. The end. A goal – we assume – doesn’t have any greater purpose than that.  […]

Are we using AI backwards?

Before we begin, a word of warning: I know very little about AI. Because of this, some of my explanations below may be a bit off-base. Certainly don’t take my word on anything technical – and if you think I’ve got something wrong, feel free to email me back explaining how ignorant I am. However, […]

Going deep on strategy with the Hungry podcast

An exciting change of pace this week, where I’ll give you a break from the essays and point you instead to my recent appearance on the great podcast, Hungry. Hungry is a podcast for challenger food and drink brands which has featured the founders of many breakthrough brands, top thinkers such as Rory Sutherland, and […]

Availability cascades: who decides what’s important, and what isn’t?

Here we are with part 8 of my cultural context series, where we explore some of the macro forces that guide the world within which we live and strategise. You can find parts 1-7 here, with the most recent first: ChatGPT, The Amish, and the friction deficit The crushing tedium of excellence The schizophrenia machine: how brands remake our identities […]

The coming of the desperate brands

A note before we begin: the below describes a trend which I’m sure is true, but which would benefit from more research than I’ve had time to do.  It references certain brands only from an outside consumer perspective – and thus does so perhaps a bit unfairly. But still I’m not a journalist or academic, […]

Google, enshittification, and the lure of parasite brands

Recently I’ve come to an important conclusion: Google sucks. I don’t mean it sucks as a business model, or that it sucks ethically, or that it sucks strategically, or anything grand like that.  No, I simply mean that it sucks at doing what it’s been designed to do: surfacing relevant information in answer to search […]

What does meaningful work really look like?

The other day I saw a great couple of tweets from a user called Madeon, which I repeat here in full: “I think it’s a tired idea to pretend every piece of art is ‘telling a story’ or ‘spreading a message’ like those are the only valid reasons to create” “Can you imagine watching a […]

ChatGPT, the Amish, and the friction deficit

You join me again for part 7 of my cultural context series, where I examine some of the silent macro forces which influence the currents of the world in which we act and strategise.  Here are the previous 6 for reference, with the most recent first: The crushing tedium of excellence The schizophrenia machine: how brands remake our identities […]

The crushing tedium of excellence

Here we have part 6 of my cultural context series, in which I try to illuminate some of the hidden forces that define the world in which we strategise.  Soon I’ll be able to piece these together into nice self-indulgent little book!  Until then, the others are here: Concentration – the untold story of the 21st century Sugar, sex, […]