News + Thought

Marketing needs more cynicism

Frank Zappa, when asked “why modern music sucks”, had an interesting answer which is highly instructive for the degradation of all sorts of artistic disciplines - not least marketing. It’s...

The power of an unfashionable business

There’s a theory in music which suggests, broadly speaking, that there have been no significant new genres created since the advent of the internet. Whilst no rock n’ roll song could ever...

Why the future may look more familiar than you think

This piece originally appeared in Arc Digital. The tech revolution has claimed many scalps. Film cameras, video stores, landlines, and adult magazines — these are just a few of the...

Does negative publicity matter?

If you’re a big corporation, it now seems more likely than not that you’ll get caught up in a major public scandal. The convergence of 1) rapidly changing cultural norms, 2) increased...

In praise of cannibalisation

Hindsight, as we know, is a wonderful thing. Looking back on the great business failures of our time, the likes of Blockbuster and Kodak, and none of us believe that we would have made the same...

The limits of expertise

This piece first appeared in Quillette. “People are sick of experts.” These infamous and much-derided words uttered by UK Conservative parliamentarian Michael Gove express a sentiment with...

Do you know your company’s true nature?

If you are like almost every other business out there, you will be familiar with the process of reactive experimentation. Basically you have ideas, you activate them, some work, some don’t, and...

Have love for your competitors

Rock music is only remarkable as a counterpoint to classical music. Modernist design only seems refreshing next to baroque. A jacket and tie only have a place in a world of t-shirts and...

Is the internet complete?

This piece first appeared in Quillette. In 2013, a debate was held between friends Peter Thiel and Marc Andreessen, the thrust of which was to determine whether we are living through an...

Let your company find its own way

A question I’m often asked by founders is this: “Do I need to have a clear vision for my company from day one?” Typically this question comes from people with fairly successful...

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