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The Art of Brand

There is a beautiful video put out by Intel Visual Life profiling the ever-poised and articulate Michael Wolff, co-founder of the Wolff Olins Agency. The film is about brand, what brand is and why it matters. But it’s also so much more than this. It leaves something with you after it’s done. Some tone, some sense of color, some something that’s hard to define. Much in the way that good brand works, the video works on its viewers, saying more than it says, going beyond content, making form part of its story. And, after all, isn’t brand really just about story? ...

The Solutionist

Imagine this: You run a self-service store where customers walk the aisles, help themselves to oversized packages of batteries, cereal, heaping mounds of strawberries. They heave onto their carts electronics, clothing, massive plastic-wrapped cuts of meat. And all by themselves, they rummage through stacks of shoeboxes, tearing through sizes, here an 8, there a 9, trying to find the one that fits. By the end of the day, tissue paper litters the shoe aisle and the chances of a left shoe dwelling with its intended right partner are slim to none. Everything has been mixed and matched with such sustained ...

Little Capitalist

It’s last Wednesday night. We’re having dinner, and I’m telling my father about “Shark Tank,” that show where newbie entrepreneurs go in front of uber-wealthy VCs, and do their best to work an investment miracle. The entrepreneurs ask the sharks for a certain amount of money in exchange for equity in their company. The pitch always involves a little song and dance about how earth shattering their new inflatable necktie, or glow-in-the-dark shoelace, or edible hand sanitizer is. And in turn, the sharks ask pointed questions, like: What are your actual margins? How many customers do you really have? Do ...

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The Mover and the Shaker

……….. “Ok, whaddya need?” Fred Kunik is on the phone, and I’m eavesdropping as he chats casually to someone on the other end of the line. He’s talking about one of the many projects on his plate, and I have the distinct feeling that he says this a lot—what do you need?—since he’s clearly someone who has learned over the years to master the lucrative art of fulfilling need. And what is an entrepreneur, if not someone who sees, assesses, and satisfies need, often before the rest of us are even aware we have it? With a career in the financial services ...

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A Good Year for Scorpios

My resistance verges on the pathological, although I usually keep it to myself. If you asked me why exactly, I would be hard pressed to give you a satisfying answer. But in the way that so many of our deepest attitudes derive not from logic, but from a more visceral sense of things as they are and as they should be, my resistance to divination is instinctual. It’s not that I’m down on the grandeur of the universe and all the possibilities known and unknown that might be harbored here, nor do I submit to the limits of knowledge as if ...

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The Quality of Your Listening

Those days come back to me with absolute clarity, the merciless authority of detail, a precision so rarefied because it is absent from almost all of my other memories. Mostly, the past reveals itself to me in a kind of hazy unfolding, edges blurred against the sharp intensity of the present. But not those particular days, which I could recount for you with total accuracy, even though they were primarily days of waiting, moments stretched out just a bit too long, the persistent feeling of hunger, the taste of so many cigarettes in my mouth after all these years. And ...

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