News + Thought

A shortcut to good strategy

It has been said that the true competitor of a Harley Davidson is not a Yamaha, or a Honda, but in fact a conservatory. Within this quip lies the most fundamental of strategic truths; one which...

NEW PUBLICATION: Make companies without competitors

Following the success of the previous Basic Arts publication Make interesting companies, not interesting advertising, I'm delighted to announce the follow up Make companies without...

Gillette the latest brand to succumb to the “marketer’s fallacy”

If you’re reading this, two things can be assumed: You have seen the new Gillette ad You have an opinion on the new Gillette ad Now, for our purposes here what that opinion is...

Why “big brand thinking” is poison for independents

In spite of everything you read - including here - there isn’t really one right way to run a business. Businesses can become successful via all sorts of weird strategies, including ones that...

Steve Jobs is a bad business role model

Don’t try and be like Steve Jobs. Don’t learn from his example, don’t try and copy his techniques, don’t internalise his philosophy. I’m not referring here to his famously...

The self-loathing business

As has been touched on in these pages before, there is little more insidious than a focus on gaining “market share”. The idea encourages all sorts of self-destructive beliefs, such as: ...

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...

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