The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Media And Marketing Is So Lost, They Don’t Even Care What They Say Any More …

The media – and marketing – have perpetuated all manner of stereotypes over the years.

They spend enormous amounts of time and money painting psychological beliefs into society so they can profit from others shortcomings or vulnerabilities.

They don’t care if it destroys lives, to them that’s just canon fodder in the quest of riches, so everything is justifiable.

Which explains why we see so many things being labelled by the media and marketing industries … because it’s the perfect way to achieve mass social psychological manipulation.

You name it and they’ll have given a name to it.

Superfast.

Superfoods.

Superhair.

Supersoup

They’ll use a label to sell anything … from kale to self-help books to gender roles.

And while that is a fucking horrible way to behave, there is one thing that is pretty impressive and that’s their ability to not just never stop doing it … but to never stop inventing new bullshit labels to fuck with people.

Take a look at this …

A CEO body?

A fucking CEO body?

What does that even mean?

Do all CEO’s share a particular physical format?

I mean, I know Elon and Jeff went from dweeb to muscle mountains, but I’ve still met a bunch of CEO’s with very different body shapes to them.

Also, what sort of CEO are they talking about?

A CEO of a big company? A start-up company? A fast-food company?

Do they lead 3 employees or 33,000 employees?

Are they heading up a profitable company or a crypto disaster?

Do they write thought leader pieces on Linkedin or are they living in a social media blackhole?

And why are you only showing a man?

A white man.

Is it because you think only white men can become a CEO?

Have you inadvertently just explained the real reason behind corporate racism, prejudice and the glass ceiling all in one go?

And while I’m at it, can you explain what you mean by the term ‘midlife’ in your headline?

What is that?

Is it a specific number?

Is it 30?

What about 40?

I bet it’s a mid-number like 45 or something … just to mess with us.

Come on, don’t keep it to yourself. Is there a standard ‘midlife’ no one told me about.

You can tell me. I know at 52 I’ve likely passed it, but I’d still like to know.

Finally – and I really don’t want to be picky here – but why are you telling everyone what the 16 foods ALL men should be eating are?.

Is it CEO food?

Don’t CEO’s eat fancy and expensive stuff?

And if all men eat it, does that mean all men will become CEO’s?

How will that happen? Are there enough CEO jobs to go round to make that happen?

And what about the women who are CEO’s? Do they eat that food as well? Is that how they got to the top … they ate like a man and had a body like a man?

I’m so confused.

In fact the only thing that’s clear to me is how you’re using marketing labelling bullshit to add even more expectation and judgement on people’s lives just so you can attempt to profit even more from making society question how they are supposed to look and live.

All this coming from The Times newspaper.

The fucking Times!!!

Once the pinnacle of journalism and standards, now a peddler of utter horseshit.

Even more so when you think what their CEO’s body is like …

Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure no one would want to look like that, let alone be like that.

And if The Times think they do, it may help explain why their readership keeps falling.

Dickheads.

Oh I really enjoyed writing that.

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Twitter Twaddle …

Over the last 12 months, one of the things I’ve had an almost adverse reaction to is twitter.

I can see Andy reading this – and I expect an email from him reinforcing this – and shouting:

“Now you know why I always called it twatter”

And he may … just may … be right.

I used to like twitter.

It had a similar feel to the early days of blogging.

Community. Supportive. Elevation of knowledge and debate.

But now …. well, it’s a cesspit of hate, ego and imposters.

Full of people on self-made pedestals claiming to be the next incarnation of Christ. Who believe they are better and smarter than the bastard love-triangle-child of Weiden, Edison and Ocasio-Cortez. Who are disturbingly confident in their claims of being more knowledgable about companies histories, operations and decision making than employees – or even founders – of those very companies. Or even the CIA.

And yet, when you look for any of the work these genius’ have actually made … what you tend to find is more tweets.

Tweets about what others are doing wrong.

Tweets about how they could do things better.

Tweets about how they know the answer to everything and beyond.

Tweets about how they want others to give them answers to questions that someone else is paying them to provide.

Tweets about how they claim ownership for business or societal behaviour change via articles that they had nothing to do with that talk about business or societal behaviour change.

Tweets about how their ego, arrogance, aggression, bitterness and dismissal of others know no bounds.

Tweets. Tweets. Tweets.

And this was before Elon Musk, the World’s comedy villain, overpaid for the bloody thing.

Of course not everyone is like this. There are still some amazing people on there who are generous and open with their comments and consideration … who can disagree without aspiring to demolish those who have a different point of view … however they’re increasingly becoming the minority, drowned out by wave after wave of hateful, spiteful, vicious commentary which – for the first time in my life – pushed me away for my mental health.

This was shocking to me for 3 reasons.

1. Having worked in this industry for so long, I have the thickest of thick skin.

2. I’m a social-media tart. Not just in terms of platforms I belong to, but in terms of ‘content’ I churn out.

3. No one was personally attacking or abusing me.

Basically, twitter has become exhausting to me.

A firehose of cliquey, self-congratulatory, pseudo-intellectual commentary that tries – and fails – to hide it is ego and insecurity shouting into an echo-chamber.

Personally this has devastated me.

I loved twitter – like I loved blogs – because I genuinely felt they helped me be become better at things I do or wanted to do.

It gave me a direct line to people I respected where I was able to listen, learn, interact, explore and debate.

Twitter wanted me to be better.

It wanted me to be exposed to new ideas, ideals and considerations.

But not now.

Now it’s like a digital version of The Hunger Games.

Destruction in 280 characters.

Words used as bombs and swords.

People elevating themselves by bringing others down … through verbal attacks, gaslighting or building a wall of imagined exclusivity between them and others, even if it only exists in the minds, ego and insecurity of those who post so often, you wonder how the hell they have time to do their actual job.

Anyway, the reason for all this is that I recently read a quote from Musk about what he thought Twitter was:

I couldn’t agree with him more.

In fact, I think he encapsulated why I have fallen out-of-love with his $44 billion indulgence.

Because mediums are neither rare nor well done.

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Why Business Needs To Be More Seinfeld …

I was never a fan of Seinfeld.

Then I’ve never been much of a fan of Jerry Seinfeld either.

I always found him a bit of condescending, self-righteous prick.

Oh I get he is smart.

His observational skills are almost unparalleled.

But you can be a genius and still be an asshole. Step on down Elon Musk.

However recently I read something Jerry said that made me dislike him less.

Not simply because he didn’t know who McKinsey were, but because of what he highlighted is the problem with them. Or more specifically, the problem companies who use them, have.

Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate this paints Jerry as a control freak.

And I also acknowledge that many companies hire McKinsey because they think the challenge they face is hard – rather than easy.

But what I do like about what he says is he won’t outsource his responsibility.

Sure, he could trust those around him more … and sure, his words smack of egomaniac … but to be fair to him, the product he sells is himself – his personality, his character, his humour – so it makes perfect sense he is obsessive about what goes out under his name because he cares deeply about his reputation, values and his quality control.

And that’s a major problem these days.

Too many don’t.

Oh they’ll say they do.

They’ll run internal and external communication that reinforce they do.

But then they’ll go and outsource their responsibilities and decisions to ‘for profit’ external organisations. Either because they don’t want the pressure … the issue is beyond their abilities … or they want someone to blame if things go wrong.

And the issue with this is the external organisation who are now responsible for answering this challenge, often do it with little to no consideration of who they’re doing it for.

How their clients look at the world.

The nuances and quirks that define who the company is and how they act.

So they provide a solution that does exactly what has been asked of them and nothing more.

Solutions agnostic of client values, beyond some superficial characteristics.

And this has resulted in a world filled with identikit functional solutions. Solutions that answer the issue, but at the cost of commoditisation. And all because senior people – who are paid handsomely to be responsible for their organisations wellbeing and growth – decided to outsource their responsibility to another organisation, even though they know they will never care as much about them as they should care about themselves.

Of course not everyone is like this.

Some are as committed and obsessive about how they do things as what they do.

But there are far too many who look for quick wins.

Easy answers.

Less pressure or responsibility.

Which is why I have always thought whether you are a shareholder or an employee, knowing how much the most senior people understand, value and protect the standards, nuance and quirks of the company they represent – not simply the balance sheet – acts as a good indicator you’re with a company who respects the value of their own value.

Not simply in terms of profit.

Nor in reputation.

But in the standards and values that drives all they do and create.

Which is my way of saying that while I still think Jerry Seinfeld is a bit of a dick, I now respect him for knowing where his responsibilities lie.

To both himself, his future and his fans.

Now if only there were more companies and brands who lived by the same mantra.

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Big Enough To Matter, But Not Big Enough To Count …

Recently I was reading an article on Brexit when I came across a comment that stopped me in my tracks.

The reason for it is that in a few words – literally a few – it not only highlighted the issue with many of the shortsighted fools who voted for leaving the European Union – and likely voted for the election of Boris Johnson and Liz Truss – but also could be used to explain the decline of so many companies, institutions and individuals.

This is it …

What a perfectly constructed sentence.

A devastating set of words that places you perfectly in a corner you can’t get out of.

It’s almost a Hollywood movie line it’s so crafted in its underlying viciousness.

But of course, the people it challenges won’t accept it.

They will continue to refuse to acknowledge their complicity in the situation millions now face.

Because as I’ve written before, people has difficulty understanding something when their credibility and reputation depends on them not understanding something.

It’s why they will continue to cast blame on everyone else.

Why they will continue to claim the opposition are more dangerous than the government they voted in … the government that has brought an entire nation to its knees.

But let’s be honest, the reason for their attitude is even uglier than not wanting to own up to what they contributed to. Because for all their claims of wanting a ‘better Britain’ … the real reason behind their choice was to create a barrier between them and people they think are beneath them.

A way to feel socially, morally, professionally superior to those around them, while conveniently choosing to ignore they were either given great advantage from birth over the vast majority of people or seek to mitigate their situation by blaming everyone else for what they have not achieved, despite starting from greater advantage.

I get it. It’s kind-of human nature. It’s also the unspoken truth of democracy – where the reality is we tend to vote for what works for you rather than what’s right for the nation.

Of course the unspoken truth is still better than the alternative … however given the way politics and business are increasingly allowing spin, vitriol and lies, it seems we’re seeing ‘post truth’ as an accepted and embraced business strategy.

And that’s why the independent voice has never been so important.

Not just in the public domain, but within organisations, governments and individual groups.

Not to attack, destroy or dethrone – as is the current trend – but to protect.

To ensure the people making decisions – or the people asking to decide on the options – are aware of the range of possibilities and outcomes that could occur rather than just blindly following a blinkered promise of what will happen.

Not delivered with hyperbole or exaggeration, but with quiet, informed context and facts … delivered by an individual or organisation without political affiliation and respected for their independence.

It doesn’t mean it will stop things like Brexit happening, but it will ensure people who knowingly bend the truths to suit their own agenda or were deliberately ignorant to the choices they made are held to account. Because without that, we carry on down this sorry path where governments, organisations or individuals can choose to ignore previous choices they made, ignore the passing of time that changes the context of everything and ignore the realities others may have caught up and left us behind.

I am under no illusion that the truth hurts, but delusion damages us forever.

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Collabs Are Becoming A Circle Jerk …

Before I start, I’ve been a huge fan of collabs over the years. Seeing what happens when two different artists or brands or artists and brands come together has been fascinating.

And for every terrible LG x Prada phone, there’s a Nike x Ben & Jerry’s sneaker.

But … but … it feels we’ve moved from collab to labelling.

Where it isn’t about what two parties can create with each other, but just renting space for another brand to slap their logo on.

Take these Travis Scott x Playstation x Nike sneakers …

Jesus Christ.

Where the Ben & Jerry’s felt crafted and cared for this is just … well, put it this way, it feels more like a bad promotional item than something that represents a true collab.

And the thing is, this approach is happening more and more – across all manner of categories – which is why I kinda love what Nobuaki Kurokawa has done with their first product launch from their CUGGL label.

Let’s be honest, they’re taking the piss.

Like, blatantly and unashamedly.

Not only does it look like it say’s Gucci, by making the design resemble graffiti, it feels like they’re also sticking two fingers up at the terrible and contrived Gucci/Balenciaga collab.

The Gucci x Belenciaga is especially horrific because individually, they’ve not really laid a foot wrong in building the value and position in culture of their brands. And then they do this.

Lazy.

Fake.

Obvious.

Out-of-date.

Dad at the disco rubbish.

Basically, the fashion industry version of this.

Which is why I like what CUGGL have done so much.

Punking the brands pretending to be punking fashion.

Of course, Diesel did something like that before – though their mischievous eye was aimed at the counterfeit industry [even though it kinda said ‘fakes may be real’, which is the last thing they needed to do] however in terms of greatest accolade for mischief, that prize should have gone to the band Blink 182.

I say ‘should have’ because they ended up pulling out of potentially the greatest burn ever.

In the early 2000’s, Axl Rose was making a new Guns’ n’ Roses album.

It was unique because the only original member of the band was Axl himself.

He had fired all the band and was basically at his most indulgent ego best.

The only thing he’d announced was the album was going to be called ‘The Chinese Democracy’.

For years and years nothing came out.

The album postponed time and time again.

At one point, his record label, Geffen, pulled funding … and yet the recording still went on.

Enter Blink 182.

They announce they were recording a new album and guess what they were going to call it …

That’s right, The Chinese Democracy.

Better yet, because Axl was taking so long to release his version – they could be sure they’d be first, so history would always make it look that Guns n’ Roses copied Blink 182.

Alas they went cowardly on the idea, which is a shame … because that would have set a benchmark CUGGL and Diesel could only dream of reaching.

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