Strategies for a discontinuous future.

Consulting & advisory, research notes, in the press, about bubblegen,
next wednesdays.

Friday, July 07, 2006

SiliconBeat Comes to London

Matt from SiliconBeat is heading to London. We're having an informal meet-up at the Princess Louise in Holborn for him on Saturday from 4:30. Come one, come all, tell your friends, etc.

-- umair // 1:28 PM //

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A Simple Economics of (the Lack of) Fashion

One of the problems with the States is a deep lack of style. The States is (to put it bluntly) the most unstylish place in the world.

Now, this is important. Because style (fashion) is a creative industry. And creative industries are going to be the growth industries of the very near future.

Why is the States so unstylish?

Certainly, one driver of a lack of demand for style is cultural. Above all, the States is a nation built on the ideal of productivity. The (myopically) productive is prized above all else.

Fashion, of course is the opposite of productive, in the myopic sense. That it helps us sustain and nurture social and cultural capital doesn't count in the States, because these forms of capital aren't factored into the dominant logic of the economy.

Rather, being stylish signals that you don't believe in this ethic of productivity - that you're willing to be frivolous enough to invest in things that aren't productive. And that's deeply out of sync with the essence of being American - though there flashes of fashion brilliance in the 30s, 50s, and 70s. Being stylish isn't in demand because it signals anti-productivity, if you like.

But there's another driver of lack of demand for style as well. I bring all this up because there's a heatwave in London at the moment. Now, air conditioning in London (in fact, most of the rest of the world) is about as plentiful as style in the States - there's not much of it around (and even what there is sucks).

That means that what you wear counts. In the States, we can get away with wearing the same old industrial era mass-produced "apparel" because the climate we face rarely changes. We move from air conditioned car to train to home to office to bar to club - etc.

But in London, for example, wearing a winter shirt on a day like today would be a very, very painful experience. Because you go from non-air conditioned home to tube to (weakly air conditioned) office to pub to club.

Style isn't just social and cultural - it's deeply functional. All of which, I think, bears deep thinking about by innnovators across industries - there are powerful lessons about why creativity is exploding in this parable of fashion as form and fashion as function.

-- umair // 6:39 PM //

Monday, July 03, 2006

Emerging Value Chain in New Media

A cool example : eefoof. (via digg).

-- Mahashunyam // 10:31 AM //

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Allez Les Vieux

So it ended in tears for England. Unfortunate, but I think losing Sven and his seeming inability to do anything strategically valuable with hugely gifted players will be a huge boon (finally) for England. This loss, I think, was more Sven's than the team's - it was a failure to think strategically.

And, yes, Ronaldo's gamesmanship and Rooney's sending off was incredibly lame - but I don't think it had much to do with England losing. If anything, England played hugely better with ten men. Which lends weight to the theory that Rooney just doesn't have the character to be a truly great player - he costs the team more than he benefits it; not in terms of getting sent off in a single match, but in terms of coherence across all the matches.

But the real story, I think was Les Bleus.

Sometimes, you are in the presence of genius - that was Zidane last night. Incredible, magical, phenomenal stuff. I could barely believe it. At one point, the ITV guy said something like "please don't retire - please". I couldn't agree more - this was transcendent, sublime, the real thing - a real creative genius at work, painting the canvas of the beautiful game in front of the world again.

Amazing stuff - Zizou president indeed. If there's anything I will remember from this world cup so far, it is France knocking Brazil not just with confidence - but with grace, elegance, and beauty.

-- umair // 2:05 PM //



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