September 2023 newsletter – the difficult 2nd album

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September 2023 newsletter introduction

The September 2023 newsletter time came around quickly. As I write this, it’s almost the end of September and it feels like no time since I curated the last edition. If you’re reading this, and it’s your first time welcome! If you read the pioneer issue; I hope that this isn’t the newsletter equivalent of the difficult second album.

Strategic outcomes

If this continues to go well I will put one out each month. You can find my regular writings here and more about me here

Things I’ve written.

Rolex Submariner 5512
Rolex Submariner 5512
  • Analysis on the Bucherer acquisition by Rolex – which shook up the luxury sector in the run up to the end of August.
  • Psychotherapy and culture. How psychotherapy has been mainstreamed via culture, and in turn influenced culture.
  • Digital abortion clinics. How tele-health businesses are trying to address the challenges posted by US state abortion bans and how these services should be doing a better job protecting their patients, in particular their privacy.

Books that I have read.

  • The Code by Margaret O’Mara. O’Mara’s work like my last month’s recommendation Chip War is a history of Silicon Valley. The key difference is that O’Mara approaches the history through the lens of the American political environment, whereas Miller’s Chip War considered it more in terms of global geostrategic politics. You can read more of my take on The Code here.
  • Deluxe – how luxury lost its lustre by Dana Thomas. Thomas’ book came out in 2008, but much of it is still relevant today, particularly around what my friend Jeremy dubbed the ‘Supremification’ of the luxury sector. You can read more of my take on Deluxe here.

Things I have been inspired by.

  • Lately I have been listening to Kurena an album by Japanese jazz musician Kurena Ishikawa. I reviewed the album here
  • The Korean Cultural Centre in London has a series of rotating art exhibitions. I got to see Audible Garden by Jinjoon Lee. Lee is a multimedia artist. The exhibition usesculptures, drawings, a wall painting, prints, videos, and directional sound installation to create an experience that blends inside and outside landscapes. If you’re involved in creating experiences you’ll want to see it. The exhibition is on until October 13, 2023.
  • My friend Natalie Lowe runs The Orangeblowfish with her husband in Shanghai. One of the projects that they worked on was helping media agency Mindshare rethink their office space and employee brand through the power of comics.
  • We talk a lot about the benefits of neurodiversity in business thinking. But a less explored area is that of cognitive diversity. While Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is an imperfect measure, this work by UCL and Sense Worldwidehighlights the benefits of cognitive diversity in envisioning new possibilities. 
Cognitive diversity
  • Swatch Group continues with its Mondelēz International -like brand mash-ups (a la Cadburys Dairy Milk x Ritz crackers), this time Swatch x Blancpain. I wonder what this does to luxury brand caché? I imagine that there will be a short burst of hype tempered by existing customers concern about paying $800,000 for a watch from a brand that also puts its name on plastic tat. Omega were a well known premium watch brand, often seen as a cheaper alternative to Rolex. Blancpain is the oldest brand in Swiss watchmaking with the longest most storied history of horology. It is a brand for die-hard watch fans, they made the first automatic self winding wrist watch and still make sophisticated complications like the 1735 Grand Complication and the highly regarded Fifty Fathoms range which pioneered modern dive watches. The company slogan has been:

Blancpain has never made a quartz watch and never will

swatch x blancpain

It seems the resale value on these watches on secondary market platforms has dropped almost immediately after launch.

Finally Alzheimers Research put out a fantastic animated film to illustrate the impact of dementia on a life.

Things I have watched. 

Moving on from the French new wave works of Jean-Pierre Melville that I viewed in August, this month I revisited works from the Hong Kong new wave. Chow Yun Fat’s performance in the John Woo-directed film The Killer blew me away when I first watched it on VHS tape and still moves me today, more on that here. I followed this up with John Woo’s second best well-known film Hard Boiled. Watching it for the first time in several years, gave me a slightly different perspective on the film – I can see obvious influence it would have had on 1990s Hollywood – in particular the Die Hard series; but the ‘new wave cinema’ elements felt like stylistic add-ons rather than a crucial part of the story. 

Netflix has a couple of sleeper Japanese language series:

  • Sanctuary is about the journey of a young man from a broken family in the world of professional sumo.
  • Informa is a tale of revenge and assassination played out in modern day Japan highlighting the close links between the yakusa, local politicians, the construction industry and the media.

Useful tools

Small fridge magnets

Working with colleagues who had a fantastic whiteboard, this whiteboard was vast like the rolling door on a freight carriage. Everything was brilliant but for the fact that Post-It notes wouldn’t adhere at all to the surface for some reason. Thankfully, I’d had a run through on the room a few days before and found this out by accident. So I got some fridge magnets that were ideal for using with Post-It notes on the day. I now have three dozen of them in my loadout for in-person workshops.

Flight Delay Compensation

If like me you’ve had problems with airline delays and cancellations, Moneysavingexpert have put together:

  • An explanation of your rights
  • Links to tools that make claiming comparatively painless

More here.

The sales pitch.

Now taking bookings for strategic engagements. Contact me here.

The End.

Ok this is the end of my September 2023 newsletter, I hope to see you all back here again in a month. Be excellent to each other. Let me know what you think or if you have any recommendations to be featured in forthcoming issues.