Five Must Read Posts from Last Week

As usual, there was some great content published last week (and I already have some good fodder for next week!) In case you have not had a chance to scour your RSS feeds, take a look at these five posts to give your brain a kickstart.

  1. How do we extract meaning from our overwhelmingly connected lives? Stephen Johnson shares The Third Place Manifesto suggesting that overlapping communities of passion may just disrupt our sense of reality enough to help us forge a new understanding.
  2. I don’t normally feature posts from the big blog networks, but this interview with Paul Graham, cofounder of Y Combinator has some great lessons for innovators, entrepreneurs and marketers alike.
  3. Katie Dreke is curating a lovely Tumblr blog with plenty of inspirational content. Take a quick look and you’ll see why it lives up to the name ObsessiveCompulsive.
  4. Ron Shevlin shares the World’s Worst – Or Best – Powerpoint Slide. I think in the past I could have been responsible for something like this.
  5. There’s a real gap between talk and walk. How do you measure the difference between popularity and influence? Valeria Maltoni shares some of her thoughts on this challenging subject.

I’m Not Racist But…


"I'm not racist but …" starts many sentences. But how deep does this go into our psyche? On June 2 at Sydney’s Seymour Centre, Vibewire together with NSW Reconciliation Council will explore the topic with a great line up of young, creative thinkers.

The 5 x 5 minute speeches will be followed by a Q&A session – so come ready with an opinion or at least a bag full of questions. You can book tickets here.

Speaking on the night are:

Rhianna Patrick
Rhianna currently presents the Indigenous radio program “Speaking Out” on ABC Local Radio and is a former member of the Triple J News Team. She was born in Brisbane and grew up in Weipa before moving to Sydney. Her family is of the Zagareb tribe of Mer (Murray Island) in the eastern islands of the Torres Strait.

Also known as The LION, L-Fresh is a Hip Hop artist and youth ambassador. He has shared the stage with some of the best Aussie Hip Hop acts and international icons, including Nas, Public Enemy, Urthboy, Drapht, Pez, and Horrowshow. L-FRESH is an ambassador of The Street University where he works as a mentor and arts and recreation coordinator of Australia’s largest youth drop-in centre.

The Antibogan
A former school teacher turned sports psychologist, The Antibogan grew up in cosmopolitan Newtown before going to high school in Cronulla where he adopted racist and sexist attitudes from bogan school friends. He spent a few years as a racist himself before coming to his senses and shaking discriminatory influences loose. He soon turned to rallying and supporting various anti-discrimination movements and while he feels more pride at his work within such humanitarian circles, he has attracted the public eye in his work exposing racists and sexists by republishing their public comments on

Tom Tilley
Tom started at Triple J as a Hack reporter in 2007, travelling right through Australia reporting on everything from pig hunting to federal politics. Tom has reported on two federal elections, the apology to the stolen generations and has paid close attention to suicide and mental health. In 2011 Tom became the host of Triple J’s Hack program.

Samah Hadid
Samih is a youth advocate, performance artist and author. In 2010, Samah was the Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations. Samah was the first Australian to be selected to complete a fellowship in minority rights with the UN office of the High Commissioner. She published a book called The Future by Us as well as studying Masters in Human Rights Law and Policy.

Be sure to come along – it’s bound to be fascinating!

Come to Gathering ‘11 in Melbourne

gathering-logo-with-text-180x180 Next month in Melbourne, leading thinkers, change-makers and collaborators from across Australia and around the world are gathering to explore whatʼs possible, and to develop ideas on how we can best solve todayʼs most pressing social and environmental challenges. It’s a great chance to share your brain with some super smart folks!

There are some great participants including:

  • John Hagel: co-chair Deloitte Center for the Edge (USA) and co-author of The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion
  • Michel Bauwens: Belgian technologist, theorist and researcher on culture and business innovation and founder of the Peer to Peer Foundation (Thailand).
  • Venessa Miemis: futurist, digital ethnographer and writer at Forbes.  Blogger at Emergent by Design, founder of Open Foresight and producer of The Future of Money (USA).
  • Pete Williams: social web revolutionary and CEO of Deloitte Digital. Helped rebuild Flowerdale after the 2009 Victorian bushfires and is #hannahsdad (Australia).
  • Kate Carruthers: Marketer, technologist, educator, blogger. Co-Chief Changemaker at Social Innovation Sydney (Australia)
  • Christine Egger: champion of social innitiatives and former Co-Director of Social Actions (USA).
  • Stephen Johnson: Social Enterprise Evangelist and Community Catalyst. Head of Social at Community Engine (Australia).
  • Jean Russell: collaboration catalyst and founder of and (USA).
  • Kristin Alford: Futurist and communicator at Bridge8. Exploring the role of science & technology, in innovation, economic development, social change and sustainability (Australia).
  • Tim Longhurst: Futurist, speaker, minimalist and activist (Australia).
  • Ehon Chan: Researcher, teacher and change agent. Co-founder News Unlimited and YESBrisbane, Board Member at PlanBig (Australia)

You can register here. Get tickets while you can!

Creating Trust in Social Networks – The 4 As

Once upon a time, we knew who to trust. We’d look to the badge and we’d look to the brand. The institutions in our society carried with them the gravitas and the authority that commanded respect. The same applied to big brands. And then something changed. Something really big.

Just as the world wide web rewired the way that we communicate, social networks are rewiring the way that we establish, create and maintain trust through those communications. The FOUR As will help you engender trust through your social network interactions.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

The best of last week’s reads were heavily contested. I could have easily found 10 posts that would astound you. But in the end I stuck with the five – after all I know how busy you are. Some of these posts are longer than average, but they are dealing with some challenging issues. I trust you’ll find them fascinating.

  1. Do you love blogging? Has it changed the way you think or work? Does the chaos of information boggle or thrill you? Tac Anderson talks about blogging – what he loves and why it has changed his life.
  2. In the technology and social media world, we all have to contend with new platforms and devices that emerge with an almost never ending energy. But at a certain point in time money dries up, interest wanes and consolidation begins. What does this look like? Ben Kunz discusses the Path to Social Media Consolidation and suggests it’s happening before our very eyes.
  3. How does good advertising work? It invites you into the storytelling process. Paul McEnany explains this as The Pretending Layer and provides some wonderful examples of it in action.
  4. When you are in the world of content and social media, it’s important to remember that you are “makers” – that you create, craft and produce something of value (to someone). This Codified Set of Builders, Crafters and Makers Rules was spotted by Collyn Ahart. Awesome.
  5. We’ve all been arguing for years about the big idea vs the small idea. But Gareth Kay takes a different approach and explains precisely Why Small Matters Check it.

A Cup of Chaos #66: Emotional Storytelling

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece for MarketingProfs – Google Gets Emotional When Telling Stories … And So Can You. It showcases a video for Google’s Chrome web browser and talks not about the technology but about the emotional impact of that technology on our lives. It’s a great piece – check it out.

But can you apply the same storytelling approach to other sectors? Of course! Ann Handley shares this great brand story from the non profit sector.

A Love Story… In Milk from Catsnake on Vimeo.

Three Blogs to Watch (and Read)

I have always loved finding a new blog to read. There is something in the search and the surprise that really satisfies my curiosity.

Finding new blogs to read used to be relatively easy. There was a period of amplified discovery – where great effort was put into thought leadership, strategy and connection. There was great joy in not just finding, but also in the sharing of websites that tickled our creative brains. It was also fun – learning about this “social type of media” through the act of participating.

But these days it feels like it is harder to find new blogs. It’s not that they aren’t out there – it’s that the categories of content are brimful of good writing already. As readers then, we have to dig deeper – and as writers we have to share the gems we find. We have to remain curious – and also generous.

With this in mind, here are three blogs that I have been tracking over the last six months. Hope you enjoy them! Oh, and be sure to send me other new blogs my way.

  1. Tashily: One of my favourites, this sparsely populated blog by Sydney local, Tash Hanckel leaves you wanting more. Read her Through the generations – the impact of social media article for a brilliant Gen Y perspective – and cross your fingers for more posts in the future!
  2. Creative +Biz: Ryan Spranger’s blog is an online home for video interviews and stories that he produces on the people who pursue creative business ideas. It’s a nice way of capturing not only the successes, but the personal stories behind what it means to “be creative” and the “hard fought lessons” that come with that journey.
  3. Jack Cheng: Jack Cheng’s blog tracks his own interests, passions and professional excursions in an entertaining way. A designer and start-up merchant with a penchant for storytelling and reflection makes this a great blog to read on a Saturday morning, coffee in hand.

Guest Post: It’s Not About the Method, It’s About the Message

Over the years, one particular question is starting to become the norm. "What's our message?" Ok, I would expect this question from a small business or a startup selling something like snail-flavoured crackers. They get an idea, they are passionate about the idea, and boom, they think the next step is for us to crank out a logo or website. Unfortunately they aren't the only ones tripping over this error.

Organizations pulling in 20 million in revenue have the same question. When we are brought in, as goal-oriented graphic designers, the goal should be presented. We should be the creative outlet to communicate the message for that goal, but so many times there is no message to communicate. These companies spend their time focusing on the platform they will use to deliver the message, but not the message itself. It's like choosing a method of transportation before knowing your destination. This may have been permissible when bigger marketing budgets meant more ads plastered everywhere and more revenue, but this doesn't fly anymore.

In a new global economy consumers are harder to attract, and naturally suspicious of your motives. In this market place, simply spewing out gorgeous designs won't do; I can pay anyone with Photoshop a few bucks and get that. We need to be more emotionally and culturally sensitive. Simply jumping on Twitter and Facebook, or creating a "viral" video won't do it, these were trendy at first, but they are quickly morphing into simple distribution channels like web sites, email or texting.

Companies need to press their marketing firms, design firms and other ad teams to focus on goals. As a designer, let me caution the Marketing VPs and Communication Directors out there: Your ad campaign message needs to be established independently of the method of communication. The design should be the very last step. It's not about the method, it's about the message.

Justin Brady is the quick-witted founder of Test of Time Design in Des Moines, Iowa.