It’s happening. I realized I’m always proposing ideas, thinking shit would be cool if it happened, but never thinking I could do it myself. Well this time I’ve got one idea that I can’t stop thinking about and I’m determined to make it happen, or at least give it a shot. I’m not going to wait for someone to make this bootleg concert idea happen. Let the business plan writing begin…March 16th, 2012
for context, check out this post before reading
Coincidentally, a friend of mine @antoine_om sent me some delightfully interesting information he got from the Sustainable Food Summit in SF last month regarding a ‘Food Renaissance’ which nicely exemplifies this whole DIO concept that @heif described. With more and more people aware of and valuing local food habits, we are starting to witness a DIO structure in the making, allowing us to examine why it’s working. What it all boils down to is a sense of community and the strong presence of trust within that community. These are the two key factors that make DIO possible and will allow these structures to thrive against existing institutions and practices.
Let me explain. In the research presented at the summit, of the 86% of farmers that claimed to not be organically certified through the government, 52% of them gave the reasoning that they DON’T NEED the certification because “[their] customers know and trust that they grow organic.” Just as @heif exemplified with his insurance exercise, here is another very real case of cutting the middle man (govn’t and institutions) out. With just two very key elements of community and trust, DIO exists and thrives. And that’s where, as I mentioned earlier, technology has been a key player in giving us methods of communication through which we can build a community we can eventually trust in, despite location/physical distances. So long as those two can be established and maintained, there’s no telling what else will change.
On a slightly different note, let’s go back to why this is all called the “Food Renaissance”. The talk at the summit detailed a reawakening of logic and reason as the root of the trend in local foods. As my friend @antoine_om shared, they “likened this trend to the Renaissance in the 18th century when we went back to logic and reason after the Middle Ages. The idea is that we are going back to logic and reason with foods, going back to knowing where the food comes from, who grew it, etc.” The presentation detailed the evolution of the food industry going from local farmers and a sense of family and community identity to supermarkets exploding as the leader in food sales, pushing us and the food industry into an age of conformity and what they called “food without meaning”. But as we are returning to logic and reason, we are re-understanding the benefits and importance of the community identity and food with meaning, hence the trend in local foods. This whole idea of a reawakening of logic and reason seems to be the rightly worded explanation for all my wonders and assumptions about us “going back to the good old days“. This is exactly it. And what I think is that this will be seen in many industries. Just as I have noted examples and hopes for more in the fashion and food industry, I think we will see it more and more in others, and this is one place where DIO opportunities will arise.February 16th, 2012
for context, check out this post before reading
With more examples of DIO popping up and way more coming down the pipeline, I’m sure brands will no doubt be affected – some way more than others. I think the key here will be finding ways to support these new DIO organizations and communities. In a way it opens up a whole new set of innovations and opportunities for brands to engage with consumers and show them what X brand really stands for and believes in. Unless your industry is being demolished by a competitive product/service, there are many ways to come at it from a complementary angle, and this is what will be an exciting space to watch, as brands that are really in tune with what’s going on will be the first pushing the envelope of opportunity here.
One easy example that comes to my mind is for airbnb. There could be opportunity here for, say, an amenities brand like Kiehl’s to partner with the company and offer their products for the top 25% of renters who seem to host people nonstop. I’m sure there are much more innovative and exciting ideas out there, but you get the picture. So what will brands have in store for us in this revolutionary time of DIO?February 16th, 2012
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a few things that all seem to be intertwined: this idea of collaborative consumption, returning to old ways (bartering, local, sustainable, community, anti-mass production), and people coming together to finally take action on things we’ve so long only known how to talk the talk for.
Last night I attended the SMW talk on connectedness in social media, and when Scott Heiferman (@heif) took his turn on the stage, I felt like I was at gospel, wanting to shout “amen” to every single thing he said. It helped that he got up on a chair to ensure the audience was paying attention. In short, @heif said something like, “fuck singularity (the idea that we’ll all have technology fused to our bodies by 2045), the future is all about DIO – doing it ourselves. It’s not about DIY anymore. We’re all going to Amishland.” He effectively painted a picture for us by walking us through the potentially dismal future of insurance companies: 1. do you have 50 good friends you can count on? 2. would you agree to chip in $1k for one of those friends if something happened, say his/her house burned down? and vice versa if it was your house? 3. bam, there’s your insurance of the future
This is just one example of a changeable structure in the economy in which we, as society, helping each other out, are the main contributors. We already see quite a few of these today: airbnb, zipcar, urban farming groups. And I really feel this is the time not just of collaborative consumption, but of collaboration in every sense; collaborative production, collaborative economy, collaborative society (seems like a silly phrase, but makes sense when you compare it to the heavy individual focus we’ve had in the past century with each household acting as its entirely own little system). As I noted in a previous post ‘back to the good old days‘, we are going back to ways and structures of society and economy that worked, realizing they worked better, but now with technology to help us make it even more feasible, efficient, and advanced. Technology is making it possible for us to re-implement the beneficial village structure, rooted in sharing and community, by connecting us and helping us build global villages, in a sense. But now these villages are even stronger than those in the past, because we are no longer forced by location and family to stringently stick with one village. Instead, we can now reach out and connect to others on common grounds, building more naturally-fitting ‘villages’ or rather communities (i know, buzzword) around anything and everything (as seen by things like Meetup, which @heif started!).
What this all leads to quite smoothly is this idea Andrew Rasiej (@rasiej) put perfectly, “the 21st century democracy is going to be built by us.” As it’s become easier now more than ever with both the community support and technology resources, we will see ourselves being the problem solvers. Rasiej noted, “we should not wait for politics to fix itself. We’re going to solve the problems, not the government.” I think it’s also important to note that this only works because of the leveled playing field that technology brings about; all of a sudden, anyone has a shot at a seat at the table, uncovering a lot of humility and great ideas and solutions that would never have been heard before. It’s all quite a powerful concept, especially with how feasible it is and how it’s already coming to fruition quite nicely. It no longer behooves us to put our efforts toward fighting for a government we believe in. Instead, we need to make the changes ourselves (DIO!). I think this idea, and the actions and innovations it will manifest itself in, will be very exciting and interesting to watch and be part of. This is a revolution, a time of everyone truly coming together to turn things around, not by putting the trust and power in government, not by fighting for it with words, but by making the changes.
Of course, things will probably start to get tricky, fast, as Rasiej also noted. Just as airbnb is on its way to being deemed illegal in NY because of a suffering hotel industry, other institutions will likely also get angry over their hurt businesses and gather their money and power to fight these collaborative organizations. But what happens at this intersection between what is best for the people and the world at large vs. what’s best for the institutions? Will it just be money and power that conquers all? Or will the government back the people, sharing their view of a better future through this way? Will we possibly witness a breakdown of institutions? A trimming of the fat of a new type of economy? What if this is the only way to change the path our world is on towards unimaginable waste accumulation and pollution and crowdedness and resource depletion?
So many exciting things to think about for our future, which, to me, is looking brighter by the minute, thanks to… ourselves.February 15th, 2012
You know what absolutely boggles my mind about this kid whose cover letter has made him the “laughing stock of wall street”? He’s screwed. One of the comments from a guy in the industry is, “this kid is never getting a job.” Way to fucking stomp on this guy who’s already down. He’s what, 22 years old, and now, after an admittedly crazy cover letter, he’s sort of doomed in that department. It’s just crazy that people are frivolous enough to say this is it for him in the IB world, while rightly making it so with the way they’ve passed his story around to mock him as though their actions won’t have any consequences for this human being! Plus, I’m surprised there aren’t any confidentiality rules regarding the explicit sharing and ridicule of a candidate’s application.
It’s just such a sad thought to me that some people can’t do what they want. Resources aside (which is a whole different issue), what if you make a mistake or you’re just not good at it and you can’t do what you’ve always been passionate about? What if belief in yourself isn’t enough? You always hear people telling you “you can do anything!” or “just work hard and you’ll get there!” or “if you’re passionate about it you will succeed.” But what if you don’t? It’s hard to think that’s a very real possibility. Although on the bright side, I’m sure that conflict would point you in a direction that paved another path that, looking back, is ‘meant to be’. Yeah, I believe in that shit.February 10th, 2012
I went to check out Sherrie Levine’s “Mayhem” exhibit last Sunday before it ended. By re-presenting works of art in different contexts, mediums, and times, Levine was able to “raise questions about conventional notions of authorship, originality, and artistic lineage.” Smartly playing with the concept of appropriation, Levine’s exhibit comes at a fitting time when we are dealing with questions of ownership over “art” and other content, but I won’t get into that whole issue.
Instead, just as Levine aimed to highlight with her exhibit, I think it is interesting to recognize the changing impact of art as it is observed and appreciated in extremely different times and environments. The exhibit description puts it perfectly when it notes that the work “underscores the way in which art accumulates different meanings over time and in different contexts; Levine suggests that how we see and understand things is conditioned by our own experiences, collective and singular, shared and private.”February 2nd, 2012
The movie, quite properly titled “Don’t Think”, is probably the closest thing you’ll get to being at the Chemical Brothers’ concert at Japan’s Fuji Rock Festival last year. This concert film, directed by Adam Smith (their visuals guy) was fucking insane and awesomely so. It seamlessly documented the concert, capturing the mind-blowing visuals and euphoria of the audience in its entirety. It’s also supposedly the first concert to have ever been recorded and mixed in Dolby 7:1 surround sound, specifically for the theatre setting.
Aside from the film itself, the experience of watching it was like an unexpectedly funny and interesting experiment. Since the whole film was literally just the concert from start to finish, it felt like you were there, and so you could literally see the power of the music taking its toll on the theatre audience. It was like watching two completely different experiences get awkwardly intertwined and overlapped. People were bobbing their heads to the beat, then slowly more and more chairs were rocking back and forth, then some hands periodically went in the air. Then it just went full on. People cheering, commenting out loud, a few completely out of their seats, dancing at the mezzanine. My favorite was the fact that when the audience at the concert clapped, people in the theatre clapped. It was awesome, too, watching people awkwardly find their level of comfort with stepping outside the confines of the typical movie theatre experience and behavior. Even the ones that kept it tame looked like they eventually felt weird just sitting back and watching in stillness, so the least they could do was lean forward, inching closer to the action. My ideal situation would’ve been if everyone, starting with the back row, stood up and started dancing, turning it into a righteous concert. That would’ve been epic.February 2nd, 2012
Check out the new DC comics logo. Is it more grown up? Or just more modern? Or both? I find this guy’s comment about it particularly interesting, “why must everything in life become more sophisticated, more stylish, more grown up?” It all got me thinking about brands that evolve and grow with a generation. How many brands are relevant when we’re adolescents, and then try to do a refresh or update to cater to that generation decades later, tugging at the strings of nostalgia or catering to the new, grown up tastes of the once passionate fans? Or, if that brand chooses not to grow with the generation, perhaps that creates a void for a different brand/product to come in and fill. Yes, this is what the DC comics logo update makes me think.January 31st, 2012
Highlights: Curry, Self-expression in a consumer world, and Occupy, anything, apparently (more…)January 28th, 2012
Promoting his new book, The Fry Chronicles, Stephen Fry did a brief talk and book signing at the Barnes & Noble in Tribeca this past Tuesday night. I’m not going to fake it and say I’m a huge Stephen Fry fanatic because I hardly knew the guy until @psparkle pointed him out, but I will say I have a growing liking to this guy just from listening to him speak. Perhaps the English accent had something to do with it.
No, no, in all seriousness, I was entranced by his story of how he turned from teen badass to literature lover. I loved the way he pointed out that language is the thing that let’s us go beyond making pure demands, requests, replies, instructions; the beauty of language is that it can be used for so much more than a mere “shut the door, please” or “hi” or “over there”. It took one sentence of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest for Fry to have this realization: “Would you be in any way offended if I said that you seem to me to be in every way the visible personification of absolute perfection?” Listening to him read out this sentence, I found it striking for me, too. Something I have forgotten and looked past is the absolute beauty and wonder words can create. It seems I, and I’m sure others, have been so obsessed with information absorption that I’ve lost the focus on what the words themselves can do, it’s always about what it’s telling me. With our attention getting pulled into several places at once, it’s no surprise that being blunt and concise is appreciated. I guess this was all just a good reminder that in reading some things, the excitement is all in the words. Here’s to taking the time to read some exciting new literature.January 27th, 2012