Pure Content

Look at more stuff. Think about it harder.

:: injustice for all ... but more injustice for some ::

The Wall Street Journal (and other papers, I assume) ran a two-page ad today from Arthur Andersen. The principal copy reads "Injustice for all." "One indictment. 28,000 Andersen U.S. men and women. 5,200 retirees. 85,000 family members. All put at risk. It's simply unjust." In the background, there are the names of 12,164 Andersen employees (there are more ads to come). The message (duh) is that to hold the entire company liable for the actions of a few guilty parties is unfair and ... well ... unjust. But the big words that say "Injustice for all" and whatnot block a couple hundred names from being legible. The whole issue might be unjust for Luke Braly or Arnetha Foxworth or Toby Bishop, but it's probably a bit tougher for Linda ___gler or for Deann Ca_____ or for ____adeth Bryant. Beverly R. Carlson barely made it. So did Terry-Lynn Gregg. Dmytro Andriyenko had nothing to worry about.

P.S. Last spring, Arthur Andersen went through an intense re-branding campaign, to pare the name down to "Andersen." All of the news stories (and even this ad) refer to it with its old name. Does anyone know the deal with that?


:: maintenance ::

If you haven't noticed, I've taken down the "search" bar. There are some backend issues I need to work out before it'll work properly. If I have time in the near future, I'll take care of it, so you can run searches and look for things like "Dragonball Z" or any of the following "SEX SEARCH LYRICS GAMES MAPS SONG LYRICS MUSIC FREE SMS PORN MORPHEUS" (which are the first ten searches from Lycos' "top 50 for 3.10 - 3.16"). The truth is, I've never had any articles or posts about any of those, so if you're searching for Dragonball Z or Morpheus or sex in the distant future, and you find this post, know that you're looking in the wrong place.

In related news, of all of the blogs that use the Bloglet subscription service, Pure Content is the fourth-most-subscribed-to site. That puts us ahead of the blog written by Evan Williams (the guy who created Blogger) and all but three other blogs that use Bloglet. If you want to subscribe to Pure Content, and get it in your e-mail daily, just put your e-mail address in that box on the left. Cake. (For the subscribers, I apologize for the last couple of lines.)


:: article of the week [03.18 - 03.22] ::

For the archives, the :: article of the week :: for this week was All the News That's Fit to Blog. We're reaching the point where the play space of the underground is going mainstream. It always happens this way. A core few adopt a lifestyle or a movement. They throw themselves into it. Slowly, others begin to notice it, and they figure out ways that they can adopt elements of the lifestyle into their own paradigms, without fully investing themselves. Or, alternately, they figure out ways they can capitalize on it and advance their own goals. That's what happened with the third wave of ska. Shoot ... that's what happened with the church. It's now happening with blogging.

The article for this week is from Fast Company magazine. It's a decent article on the role that peer-to-peer technology plays in today's world (did you know that are roughly 3,500,000,000 e-mails sent a year?), and how blogging is going to play an increasing role in that. It's a good article, but it says much of the same stuff that the other media outlets are saying about blogs. It's a little more positive regarding blogs than others have been, but it says mostly the same stuff. Same content. Different context. Anyway, it's a pretty good read/scan, and it links to other blog-related FC articles and sidebars.


:: fashion's inner circle ::

"If you haven’t heard of Alife by now, feel free to fly to Manhattan, ask people what it is, and welcome a nice, healthy smack in the face for your ignorance. Founded by four post-pop graffiti-influenced artists (who also design Mass Appeal magazine), Alife is innocuously wedged on the east side, surrounded by ghetto markets and budget retail stores. It’s impossible to find due to the absence of those really important things called “signs” but once you step inside, you’re in fashionista heaven. These guys carry stuff that no one else in the world has – literally. When Nike introduced their much-anticipated $500 Wovens, guess where they were exclusively sold? You got it.

The trend gurus also recently opened the much-talked about Alife Rivington Club. Description: A random door in the side of a building. No address, no signs, middle of nowhere. There’s a video camera that you look into. If they like what you’re wearing, the door pops open, you amble down a tortuous corridor and find yourself in a fully-furnished secret society meeting room for shoe-heads. Velvet couches, hushed tones and vintage Nikes, Adidas, etc. are encased in museum-like displays. Close mouth and wipe drool from chin.

Not only is Alife the coolest store in the universe, they run their own shoe line under the Ritefoot moniker. Last year, their designs were composed of Vans slip-on knockoffs with pastel argyle patterns. Simple enough, but NYC ate them up like Ray’s sundried-tomato pizza, satisfying the hunger for urban, street-cred shoes that could hold their own in the ruthless SoHo district. Their newest line is set to release in the next months and can be peeped at alifenyc.com."

from Relevant Magazine


:: 2MBR ::

Well, it’s (the day after) Wednesday, and that means it’s time for a Two Minute Book Review.

It seems like Thursdays are my busiest days. Last Thursday I had hardly any posts. Same today. Anyway, I was hoping to review A Pattern Language this week. Once again, I'll have to postpone. But I've got a great one in its place.

Wittgenstein's Poker: The Story of a Ten-minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers is a book built around a ten-minute conflict between two of the most well-known philosophers of the 20th century. In 1946, at Cambridge, at a meeting of the Moral Science Club, ideological and philosophical differences led to an encounter involving a room full of students, a handful of professors, Karl Popper, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and a fireplace poker. This book looks at the meeting between these two men, and it explains what they believed, why they believed it, and why they were participants in one of the most energetic debates in the history of philosophy. The truth is, I'm still reading it, but it's been great so far. It decribes the lives of the two men, and what shaped their beliefs about philosophy, ethics, and the world in general. My father (probably the most brilliant person I've ever known) referred it to me, and he commented that, although it's about philosophy and not religion, it presents a good model for how lay people can write compelling works about religious concerns and issues.

As a side note, the jacket design is probably the most beautiful I've ever seen. Everything about it—from the layout of the cover to the paper printed upon to the rough-cut edges of the pages—is appealing. It's worth buying it just for that.


:: not the 2MBR ::

It's been a hectic day, so I might not get to the 2MBR. But I wanted to refer you to a website with an interesting take on web design and development. I've been playing with web design for about three years now. This blog is one small way that I've been able to bring my passion to work with me. Today I stumbled upon this site, which is a brief summary of "Eye Candy From the Underground," which is about "ten fresh styles" of web design that being used on the web. It looks intriguing, and I'm going to look for it the next time I'm at B&N. Personally, my style is most closely aligned with what he calls "HTMinimaLism School," which you can see here or here (neither is mine).


:: innovation in education ::

At Play, we talk a lot about design. The role that it has in defining and establishing business cultures, the way that good design can encourage idea generation, and the differentiation that good design provides. An organization in England, The Sorrell Foundation, started in 1999 with the intent of inspiring creativity in young people and improving the quality of life through design. Their first effort is a project called "joinedupdesignforschools," which connects top British designers with schools across England, "to demonstrate how design and creativity can improve the quality of life and learning in schools." The fruits of this effort are pretty interesting. The project has yielded everything from a new uniform for British schoolchildren to an Internet-based game using avatars, where you can create a character and run around a digitized version of Swanlea School. You can order a white paper on the project here. Or go to the Sorrell Foundation's page here.


:: more business people in the blogosphere ::

As you probably (?) know, Fast Company recently covered blogs, both online and offline. If you haven't yet seen them, follow the links:
Bloggers in our Midst
All the News That's Fit to Blog
Targeted Serendipity
The Revolution Will be Webified
My Favorite Blogs

I also wanted to share two other business-focused blogs that I found today. One was advertised (how appropriate) on Blogger, and it looks excellent. It's called Bizquick.org, and it brands itself as "the business blog." Just last week, Heath and I were in an e-mail discussion about business-focused blogs. My comments: "Even though there are ways to build business lessons into blogging, I haven't seen many people do it that well. For better or worse, the bulk of blogs are so chock-full of personal comments / editorializing, it's hard to have a distinct "business" focus. Or, at least, I haven't seen (m)any blogs do it terribly well. Politics? Definitely. Sports? Sure. Business? Not as much." It looks like we've just found one.

In related business news, author Seth Godin has a blog. "Riffs and links from the author of the bestsellers, 'Survival is Not Enough' , 'Permission Marketing' and 'Unleashing the Ideavirus.' "


:: you will join us, in turn ::

At Play, we've put together the internship application for this coming summer. If you (or someone you know) are interested in applying, get ahold of us. We'll send you the moonshine* and the application questions. And then you can enter the fray.

(*moonshine: n. "a powerfully distilled, condensed collection of possibly surreptitious thought, prepared by assorted teammates at Play. Be warned: this is powerful stuff.")


:: the collective creative consciousness ::

Halfbakery is "a communal database of original, fictitious inventions, edited by its users. It was created by people who like to speculate, both as a form of satire and as a form of creative expression." Although many of the ideas submitted are whimsical or otherwise bizarre (When you run out of pants, just say someone's name, and they will become your pants), some of them aren't that bad (like this).

For example: a bar based on the four seasons (possibly with Vivaldi playing in the background): The place would change in appearance throughout the night; for instance, if it opened up at six o'clock and closed at two in the morning, each two hours a different season would begin. All of the plants in the ... 'spring' ... would bud, sprout paper leaves, and begin to flower. In fall, their leaves would appear to change color, then dry up and finally drop off of the tree. Various background noises - bubbling brooks, birds arriving, etc., would be randomly played over the sound system. ... Major holidays might also be programmed in; at various points, the easter bunny might hop by in spring, and at the very end of the night, Santa would appear, wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and then tell everybody that if they don't go home, they'll have to be escorted off of the grounds. (by Pseudonym #3)

It features a number of links to similar sites (many of which have exclamation points! and lightbulbs in their logos). Not all of the links are to active sites, and some of them are simply wastes. But there are a few relatively good ones in there. Here are two: ShouldExist and Global Ideas Bank.

Anyway, it seems like a good resource for idea sharing.


:: an open letter to Evan Williams ::

(Evan Williams, the President/CEO of Blogger, is a busy guy. In addition to running the company, he's got his own blog, and he's got lots of duties as a neo-quasi-folk hero. I have faith in the system that, by putting this post here, he will eventually see it. Why not e-mail him? He gets enough e-mail. He got 1,090 messages last Friday. And his e-mail service is spotty, apparently. Why not send him a regular letter? I'm thinking about it, but that wouldn't be a very good experiment. And anyway, as I said, I've got faith in the system. This isn't even a Googlebomb. If you'd like to link here, that'd be great. But don't feel like you need to. I'm just trusting that word will get back to Evan, somehow, and he'll come check out the following letter. And maybe ... just maybe ... he'll come by River City.)

Dear Evan,
I know you're busy. Being a CEO and President of Pyra Labs will do that to a person. In Sunday's post, you commented on a few "familiar U.S. cities you'd think you would have visited by now but haven't really." Although Seattle, New Orleans, Minneapolis, and LA are all wonderful places, I'm sure, I wanted to extend an invitation to you, that you come visit beautiful Richmond, Virginia. Heath was down here this weekend, and it was lovely.

Richmond has many exciting and fun diversions, such as the oldest operating farmer's market in the country. Or the Richmond Riverwalk. There's music, like Fugazi this Friday, or Catch 22 on Sunday. Or if punk's not your thing, there's plenty of other stuff to do here. And, if you agree with Neil Morton, then don't worry. Richmond's still undiscovered. Nobody's cool here. We're just easy to love.

I hope you have a great day. Let me know if you'll be coming by.

Yours, Charlie


:: how NOT to do branding / what's the name of that cookie? ::

As some of you may know, the Girl Scouts recently finished their annual cookie sales. The cookies (from young Morgan Hopkins) arrived at the office today, and we noticed something horribly wrong. The cookies have COMPLETELY NEW NAMES. Samoas (you know, the coconut rings with chocolate stripes on top) are now called "Caramel deLites." Do-Si-Do's are now "Peanut Butter Sandwiches." Trefoils are now "Shortbread." Tagalongs are "Peanut-Butter Patties." WHAT? Who would do that? The names as they existed had such leverage. I mean, that's like pulling Thin Mints out of their green boxes and wrapping them in brown cardboard. I know that change is to be encouraged. I know that risk-taking is a generally good attribute. But who's been messing with my cookies? And anyway, the order form uses the same silly font as Accenture.


:: so ... what do you do? ::

Fortune magazine has this article about a consultant who blends "boot camp and group counseling" into a program that mixes spiritual energy into waht they call "The Corporate Athlete." Although the program itself looks a tad lacking, there are five good questions that look like they would assist you if you were trying to figure out what to do with your life. If you want to read the article, it's here, but I'm going to go ahead and give you the five questions.

1. If you were on your deathbed and you wanted to tell your children—or the young people to whom you are close—the three most important things that you've learned in your life, what would they be?

2. What gives you the greatest joy, satisfaction, and renewal in your life, and how could you do more of it?

3. Who are you without your job, your money? Describe in detail.

4. What activities could you add to your life that would be a source of richness and joy?

5. Think of someone you admire deeply—and explain why.

(thanks, Webgrrlie)


:: digging around in the blogosphere ::

I've received a couple of requests from Pure Content readers, asking how to find specific blogs. There are a couple of resources, but I'm just going to share one with you now. It's called "Globe of Blogs," and it allows you to search their list of blogs by various qualities (author location, blog title, author's name, author's sex and age, author birthday). Although it's far from comprehensive (what index isn't?), it could be an excellent resource before long, especially when coordinating geographic offline gatherings (like the D.C. Bloggers gathering this weekend, which I, sadly, couldn't get to). For example, I've already discovered three other Richmond blogs. If you're looking for more blogs, check it out.

who / what / why

At Play we create brands, strategies, new products, and better cultures for Fortune 100 companies. Our formula for creativity: "Look at more stuff. Think about it harder." Pure Content is one place where we do that, daily.

the cool kids' table

Ben Domenech
(politics, football, and a boatload of know-how)

Creative Generalist
(if Pure Content had a doppelganger ...)

Heath Row
(punk + business
+ creativity = Heath)


go go gadget google:

stuck in an airport

A Pattern Language

Creative Company
Orbiting the Giant Hairball
The Ultimate Book of Business Creativity

The Little Prince

Wittgenstein's Poker

The Dancing Wu Li Masters

The Tipping Point

new to you

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see our neighbors
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