Four hard truths about growing an audience

Sure, people want to hear from me about strategy. But, if I’m honest, I know there’s a sizeable minority – perhaps even a majority – who really want to hear about how I went from 0 to 70,000 followers in 5 months. It’s understandable, because in our current climate you’re sometimes made to feel that […]

How to write and talk in a strategically powerful way

Pretty much every “strategy” I see looks something like this: Whether or not the example in this image is “trying” to be a strategy, the point still stands – the discipline, and indeed business in general, is polluted by a style of communication that actually obscures meaning rather than revealing it. I think we massively […]

The spiritual war between management and strategy

A running theme of this newsletter, and the “strategy industry” in general, is the continued inability for individuals and organisations to “get it”. Why is it so hard? What is the blocker that makes a fundamental business discipline (perhaps THE fundamental discipline), so bloody difficult to grasp?  Why does nobody know what it is?  Why […]

The Cybertruck is another strategic masterclass from Tesla

Sorry.  Here I am writing about Tesla again. I don’t even like Tesla!  But damn they just make for the cleanest strategic case studies, so I can’t help it. Elon Musk’s “secret masterplan” that got the company off the ground in the first place (and pretty much invented the electric car category) is basically the […]

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, […]