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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Nothing Says You Care Like Trying To Manipulate You Using Family Death As A Justification …

OK, as I wrote yesterday, this week has been full of loving and nice posts.

Or as long and nice as I can get.

And tomorrow – as it’s the closest day to Otis’ 8th birthday – I’m going to drown you in it.

So I thought I’d better show I’ve still got some hate in me before you call the hospital.

And Police.

Fortunately, Uber have made it easy for me to do this. Again.

Because for all their claims ‘we’re a good, people-focused company these days’, they show they’re not.

Or, at the very least, lacking any sense of self awareness whatsoever.

Have a look at this ..

What. The. Absolute. Fuck?

Like seriously, what the hell?

Now to be honest, this may be a joke tweet. I didn’t see it myself but was sent it by a friend.

But the fact I can imagine it’s real, highlights how questionable Uber are.

Because – lets face it – anyone that uses the death of a loved one to try and guilt trip you into hiring their taxi service has some major issues going on.

And they don’t even get it right because they suggest the reason you should do it is to ‘treat yourself’ rather than respect the loss of your grandfather.

They even dare say it’s what ‘grandpa would have wanted’.

The evil pricks.

But why would I think they’d understand how disgusting this behaviour is?

For all the fluff PR pieces they’ve put out … we all know Uber don’t give a fuck about anyone or anything other than lining their own pocket.

So here’s hoping anyone who falls for this lets grandpa’s ashes fall out all over the back of the Uber Black seats and force it off the road for a few days so it can be cleaned. Because annoying someone who is trying to bully and manipulate their grandkids is what grandpa really would have wanted.

Assholes.

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Why Wrong Reveals The Systems Limitations Rather Than The Participants …

I recently saw this piece of brilliance …

Isn’t it awesome?

Of course some people will think it’s cute … but wrong.

Whereas others may think it’s cute … and smart.

Putting aside the fact the responsibility for clarity of communication is with the communicator, not the recipient – which means the exam board have to accept their role in the answer given – it also highlights how one persons ‘normal’ is another persons ‘lateral thinking’.

I know that sounds a big leap for what is a young kids incorrect/correct answer to an exam question … but at a time where the British PM wants to kill the arts and freedom of expression for kids in schools – in favour of even more logical and rational studies – it’s a sign how early we try to destroy/control/devalue the imaginations of the young.

What I find ironic about the British PM’s stance is that he seems to be of the belief that having people study maths for longer will make everything better.

Putting aside the fact that much of the UK’s global influence – ignoring the violent invasions of other countries – has come from the arts, that’s a big call to make.

Even more so when you consider the financial mess the UK is in right now, has come from the hands of the very people he wants to encourage more of.

As a parent this situation is very difficult.

Of course we want our children to be set up to embrace life. But if they’re all being taught the same thing … in the same way … without consideration of what their own personal talents, interests and abilities are … then are you actually preparing them to thrive or simply survive?

Recently Otis got diagnosed with a learning difficulty.

I say difficulty, but really it’s a complication.

It’s called Dysgraphia.

While this doesn’t affect his ability to learn, it does affect how he does it and what he may be able to do because of it.

We are incredibly grateful the school he goes to – Birkenhead Primary – not only embraced this situation by changing the way he could engage and present his schoolwork. They did it by specifically tailoring their classes and approach to ensure Otis could participate in ways that actively played to his strengths while maintaining the pace of everyone’s learning. And if that wasn’t impressive enough … they were the ones who first noticed there may be an area of challenge for him and were proactive in acting on it.

The impact of this approach on Otis has been enormous.

Not just in areas of his schoolwork that were being impacted because of dysgraphia, but in his overall confidence, enjoyment and willingness to participate.

He has always been a kid who tries hard and wants to do the right thing [so definitely more like Jill than me] … but thanks to his teachers, he now feels he can express himself fully rather than having to become a smaller version of himself in an attempt to find a way to get through certain areas of class that challenged him because of his dysgraphia rather than his ability.

Frankly I doubt this would have happened if we were still in the UK.

Not because the teachers aren’t as good, but because the system doesn’t allow the sort of deviation of approach that Otis’ school created for him.

What’s scary is Sunak’s attitude towards education will only make this situation for kids like Otis, even harder.

Either actively leaving them behind or setting them up for a life of anxiety, guilt and feelings of inadequacy. And yet it doesn’t have to be that way.

So many of these complications aren’t barriers to learning capacity, just accessibility.

A bit of flexibility can unlock the full potential of a child, especially with the power of technology these days.

But the schooling system is increasingly about ‘targets’ rather than learning.

Preparing you for exams rather than life.

Systems rather than needs.

And while I totally accept creating an education system that caters to the masses as well as the edges is incredibly difficult, having a one-dimensional system that ‘succeeds’ by forcing compliance and oppression is not the solution either.

What the British PM needs to understand is making kids study maths for longer isn’t going to solve the UK’s economic woes. But maybe designing an education system that enables teachers to help kids learn how to play to their strengths, is.

Or to paraphase Sir Ken Robinson … see creativity and imagination as a strength, not a weakness.

We’re so lucky Otis’ school values potential rather than parity … but I can’t help but wonder how many other clever kids are out there who have been written off simply because the system would not allow for them to be recognised, embraced and helped.

When will certain governments understand an educated generation is a successful nation?

Probably when they understand school should be about learning not teaching and it’s an investment rather than a cost.

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When Life Gives You Angostura, Make A Cocktail …

Recently I read the story behind Angostura’s strange bottle.

For those of you who don’t know what Angostura is, it’s a bitters used in cocktails.

For those of you who don’t know what is strange about their bottle, it’s this:

Yep, that’s their normal product.

A bottle, hidden inside fucking massive packing.

The story – as told by Abraham Piper – is the business was taken over by the founder’s sons in 1870.

To help grow its awareness, they decided to update the ‘look’ and enter the finished product into a competition in the hope the exposure would drive the business.

They didn’t have much time so to maximise efficiency, one brother designed the label and the other, the bottle.

One slight problem … they didn’t discuss the size.

Another slight problem … they didn’t realise until they brought both sides of their work together and by then, they didn’t have enough time to alter things before the competition was due to commence.

So they decided to enter it anyway.

Unsurprisingly, they lost.

Except one of the judges told them they should keep it exactly as it was because no one else was going to be stupid enough to make that sort of mistake … which means it was unique and would stand out.

So they did.

And that dumbass mistake – the sort of dumbass mistake that captures Dan Wieden’s classic Fail Harder philosophy, perfectly – was the foundation of a business that continues to evolve and grow to this day.

Now there is a chance this is not true.

They don’t mention it in their history timeline on their website for example.

But history is littered with happy accidents … from making Ice Cream to making Number 1 hit records … so there’s just as much chance it is.

And if that is the case, I’d bloody love it.

Because in this world where everything is researched to within an inch of its life, the products/brands that gain a real and powerful role and position in culture – not to mention whatever category they operate in – are increasingly the ones who keep the chaos in, rather than actively try to filter it out.

Whether that’s because they know it’s better to mean everything to someone rather than something to everyone is anyone’s guess. There’s a good chance they’re just lucky-accident dumbasses. Or they might understand the value of resonating with culture, rather than being relevant to the category.

Whatever it is …

The brands with the strongest brand attribution, assets and audience are increasingly the ones who never have to talk about it, let alone spend their marketing dollars trying to create it.

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