Are You Thinking What I Was Thinking VIII

  • The propensity of successful fiftysomething and sixtysomething executives and celebrities to suddenly grow a full beard for the first time as if they are “reinventing” themselves hides a million truths.
  • The driverless car is novel (Apple, Google) but the combustion engine is not going anywhere anytime soon.
  • The visceral connection between political unions (EU Membership) and trade agreements (TPP) and the impact on people’s daily lives is rarely well made (how they are better off or personally better supported).
  • Businesses fawn over the power of data and analytics (“big data”) to transform their future, yet routinely overlook that the fact that their future is informed by the six inches that lies between the ears of their customers, managers, employees and shareholders. Data alone is largely useless in adapting human behaviour.
  • When you leave your iPhone or Blackberry on in a meeting or social occasion, what you are really saying is “At any point in the next 30 minutes you will not be my priority. Be warned.”
  • “Conceptual” collaborations are rarely mutually rewarding. Luxury Hotels that exhibit artists, auction houses co-hosting social events with media publications and UHNW wealth managers sponsoring polo events. Sorry, “exposure” is way over-rated, sales pay the bills.
  • We have spent kizillions enabling technology to mimic the human mind (artificial intelligence) but pennies enabling the human mind to mimic technology (critical thinking skills). Such that we are “outraged” when a referee at a major sporting occasion fails to interpret visual evidence correctly in real time and apply it to the laws of the game.
  • Debretts, the social arbiter of style, runs etiquette courses for new money that aspires to act with the “grace” of old money. Yet old money has rarely acted with great judgement (forced sales of estates and other inter-generational issues). When will they run a course for old money that aspires to have the wisdom of new money?
  • People readily confuse activity with results (Corporate incubation labs). Nowhere more so than in reinventing business models in response to convergent forces (high tech, alternative capital, new methods of distribution etc.)
  • We are in a period of politics with no visible end in sight, where “brand”, career progression and fundraising  are so powerful and inter-connected that unremarkable “insiders” (Trudeau, Bush, Trump, Clinton) can trump impressive “outsiders”.
  • The concept of “celebrity” driving a brand has become so contrived (Instagram selfies, staged photos in glossy mags, charitable appearances in the Philippines) that Howard Hughes would be seen as leading a normal life today.

© James Berkeley 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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