Pure Content

Look at more stuff. Think about it harder.

accidental innovation

Farrell Eaves, a photographer in Texas, dropped his camera in the Pecos River. When he dried it out and started taking photos, it did some amazing stuff.

"The same effects could probably be created in an image-editing program by a skilled artist with a lot of free time," Eaves said. "But in my pictures the effects are created by the camera between the moments when I focus the lens and press the shutter. I never know what I'm going to end up with, and I'm always amazed."

"These really are magical photos taken by a magical photographer," said Bruce Dale, a staff photographer for National Geographic for 30 years. "Farrell's work and spirit inspires me."

The photos are pretty cool. You can see them here. Here's a sample:

Thanks to Nikolaj for the link.


:: innovations advancing accessibility for the disabled ::

Recently, a high school student won the Westinghouse scientific invention contest when he created a glove that transcribes sign language, onto a computer. That is, it writes down what you sign. Now, "engineers at NTT DoCoMo have developed a prototype and hope to have a lip-reading mobile phone available in about five years. Contact sensors near the mouthpiece in the phone detect tiny electrical signals sent by muscles around the mouth. A speech synthesiser converts the signals into spoken words or text for a message or email. So far the phone can recognize vowels and engineers are now working on consonants. In addition to making public places quieter, the lip-reading phone could also help people who have lost their voice."

Thanks to Boing Boing.


:: Shepard Fairey ... in Richmond! ::

We've spoken before about the work of Shepard Fairey and his phenomenological projects built around the "Andre the Giant has a posse" stickers. Turns out he's going to be in Richmond tonight, at Alley Katz. I guess he's a part of a travelling art show? I'm not sure, but I'll be going there around 11:00 tonight. Come hang out. See cool art. Reawaken a sense of wonder about your environment.

Alley Katz: 10 Walnut Alley, Richmond, VA 23233 phone: 804.643.2816


:: commence with the "the glass is half full" jokes ... now ::

Mitsubishi has announced that they have developed drinking glasses that signal restaurants' waitstaff, letting them know that the glass is half-empty (or full, as it were). Although I'm all for innovation, no Indian restaurant I've ever been to has had that problem, because the waiters are always circling the dining room, filling up water glasses. Although I love technology as much as anybody, when it comes to dining, I'd rather have a low-tech approach. Nevertheless, a neat invention. Here's the article.


:: it's up ::

A week or so ago, we talked about an article in Outside magazine. It wasn't online yet, but I promised to let you know when it was posted. It's up now. The main article looks at Red Bull and its PR tactics (what they call Murketing). "What seemed unaccountably weird was that this was a marketing event no one knew about. There was no advance press release. There was no Red Bull tent set up to attract local news crews. This was one of the most outrageous publicity stunts I'd ever heard of—kiteboarding to a nation that's under a strict U.S. trade embargo—and it seemed to be happening in a vacuum. How could this possibly make sense?" That's murketing. There are a number of sidebars and smaller articles that touch on the concept of innovation in the outdoors.

I should note that Bizquick posted the link first. (Although we did mention the article a while ago.) Anyway, it's a great article. Hit it.

update: Heath comments below, with the following link. Fast Company featured an article on the Red Bull strategy. Boom.


:: divergent schwag ::

Underground clothing labels and similar companies are looking for innovative ways to get their brand noticed. Awareness streams that will spotlight their product in a new, different way. For example, Mike D, of the Beastie Boys, has his own clothing line, XLARGE. One of the accessories that he offers is a class ring, like the one you bought (and probably lost) in high school. Shepard Fairey's clothing line OBEY features shoes co-branded with skate shoe company DC Shoes. By creating limited edition collectables, and by using unusual channels, they are adding to peoples' brand awareness, and are reaching out to their targeted audience, through their targeted audience.


:: hot. now. ::

Krispy Kreme has long been a staple of my friendships. In high school, my friends and I would go to the Krispy Kreme factory, and when the neon "Hot. Now." light was on, we'd buy a dozen or so donuts hot off of the line. Now, apparently, people are incorporating Krispy Kreme donuts into their weddings. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution featured a story about the growing trend, where people have their wedding cakes made out of Krispy Kremes. "Neighborhood stores and corporate offices in Winston-Salem, N.C., are taking a flurry of calls — as many as 20 to 40 a week — as the trend simmers. They even have a sort of doughnut wedding planner who helps ease fears that go along with building a wedding centerpiece from a snack." It's a pretty fresh idea. Fresh like a box of Krispy Kreme. Ha.

Thanks to Amanda for the link.


:: Playshare — opportunity thinking ::

It's the first of the month, so play sent out a Playshare. If you want to sign up to receive Playshares (1st and 15th of each month), send an e-mail here. Anyway, here's the share:

"We do not study creativity so that we can be creative in every task. Instead we study creativity so that we might have the opportunity for it in our lives and businesses."


Think about that word for a second. How often do you stop to think about what opportunities exist in any given situation? How often do you capitalize on those opportunities?

Creative thinking and opportunity thinking are one and the same. You can't have one without the other. The key to both of them is an awakened awareness. A changed mindset.

Are you an opportunity thinker?

There’s an inner-city school in the Northeast that illustrates the concept of opportunity thinking. The school’s principal helped every student in the school obtain a passport. Few of them have ever thought about leaving the 10-block radius of their neighborhood. Even fewer have planned to travel beyond the country’s borders. Despite this situation, the principal has created the opportunity for each of them to travel. He has enabled them to believe in possibilities, giving them an awakened awareness of their options and the world around them. A changed mindset.

What symbols do you have that act as passports to opportunity thinking in your life? How can you remove small barriers to opportunity so that you might take advantage of the doors open to you? Opportunities to change your mindset and change the way you operate are all around. Realizing them just takes a little creativity.

Recognize opportunity. Recognize what's blocking it. Find your passport.

let's play.


:: getting older, getting blander ::

Dan Pink quotes American Demographics magazine, saying "Tomorrow's foods will be spicier and more flavorful than today's. One major reason: Baby Boomers' taste buds are dulling, a reality that food industry experts say is a key factor driving the future of food in this country."

It looks like a good magazine. Too bad it's not online.


:: April Fool's + Corporate America = ::

You probably remember this, but I thought it was worth repeating. "On April Fool's Day, 1996 the fast food chain Taco Bell took out a full page ad in the New York Times to announce their purchase of the Liberty Bell. The full text of the ad read as follows:

Taco Bell Buys The Liberty Bell
In an effort to help the national debt, Taco Bell is pleased to announce that we have agreed to purchase the Liberty Bell, one of our country's most historic treasures. It will now be called the "Taco Liberty Bell" and will still be accessible to the American public for viewing. While some may find this controversial, we hope our move will prompt other corporations to take similar action to do their part to reduce the country's debt.

The hoax paid off for Taco Bell. Their sales during the week of April 1st spiked upwards by over half a million dollars compared to the week before."

From The Museum of Hoaxes.


:: new blueprints for the WTC ::

I'll just put this out there: I don't think that the World Trade Center towers should be rebuilt. I know that there are arguments for rebuilding the towers (to show our steadfast spirit, to take advantage of the financial benefits of the land, etc.), but an impassioned plea from a friend of mine who's brother died in the attacks has been the most compelling argument I've read against rebuilding the towers. Occasionally, CNN (or whatever) talks about how many tons of debris they've removed. How many truckloads of rubble. But Dana's never been able to say goodbye to her brother. His remains have never been identified. Never been given to her family. His mom, dad, fiancee, and the rest of his family have nothing—no body, no ashes, nothing. I know that you might feel differently, and I encourage you to comment below or to e-mail me.

The point of this is that Architectural Record sponsored a gallery show featuring different studios' interpretations of how the towers should look. Although I still feel that the site should be a memorial (simple, pure, and timeless, in the vein of Arlington Cemetary or the fields of graves at Normandy), I have to admit that the entries are thought-provoking. Although not as thought-provoking as a field of crosses, crescents, and Stars of David. Here's an online gallery of the entries.


:: the new way of tea ::

A couple of days ago, we looked at the influence of emo music on tea. Now, tea is influencing architecture. In the Japanese culture, most ceremonies and traditions are seen as an art. Everything from kite fighting to bonsai tree making. One of their traditions (and art forms) is the tea ceremony. At the Japan Society in New York, an exhibit is starting up next week. "The New Way of Tea explores the importance of Japanese tea tradition as a vital source of inspiration for contemporary architects and artists from East Asia and the U.S." "Architects, designers, and artists explore the enduring influence of the tea ceremony upon contemporary art, architecture, and industrial design throughout Asia." (from Architectural Record) As soon as architecture influences emo, we're set.

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
Comments by: YACCS