News + Thought

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...

Have we passed peak innovation?

Why do we laugh at old representations of the future? You know the kind - the Jetsons, flying cars, the “power laces” in Back to the Future 2. Many of their predictions now seem either...

The rise and fall of parasite brands

This piece first appeared in Contagious. There are two ways brands can be created – by giving or taking. Most people imagine the giving kind; where the business wants to offer something...

It’s not the “why” that matters, it’s the “how”

By now most of you are probably familiar with Simon Sinek's iconic "Start With Why" TED talk. Even if you've not seen the talk, you've most likely encountered one of the army of why-merchants...

Is it ever OK to just accept declining sales?

OK, this is a weird one I know. However it seems pertinent in light of recent news that Coke are making "massive changes" to their Diet Coke range following a 1.9% sales drop in 2016. On the...

Interview: how Mark Constantine made Lush the UK’s most admired brand without advertising

A recent study by consultancy Basic Arts sought to discover the most admired brand in the UK.  Naturally, there was a decent presence from the usual suspects such as Apple, Google, and Nike;...

Why the John Lewis Christmas ad formula will never, EVER, get tired

Tis the season for ad agencies to cast cynical glances towards the latest festive offering from John Lewis. And one can understand why. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jw1Y-zhQURU In a...

If you have competitors, then you’re not doing it right

No well designed business should have competitors. Other companies in the same general category? Sure. But not competitors - other companies who your customers consider to be "viable...

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