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, […]

Waitrose, the cost of living, and the lure of the trend trap

What are trends for? In the minds of most businesses, trends are see as things to follow.  They represent the movement of the market in a certain direction, and thus to follow the trend is to follow the money. The formula is pretty basic: “X is starting to become more important to consumers, therefore if […]

“The great flattening”: A visual companion

These essays tend to be a bit wordy, so I thought I’d mix things up today with a few pictures. This is courtesy of blogger David Perell, who by chance compiled a few images the other day which directly speak to some of the trends we’ve been discussing. He calls it “The Great Flattening”, by which […]

The schizophrenia machine: How brands remake our identities

Below is number 5 in my cultural context series, following the previous ones on the post-cultural myth, horizontal loyalty, supernormal stimuli, and concentration. I hope you find it useful, or at least interesting. ___ Philosophy is one of those things that lots of people like in theory, but few like in practice.  The reason for this, it seems to me, is pretty simple: […]