Pure Content

Look at more stuff. Think about it harder.


Welcome to Pure Content, for those of you who just arrived. Poke around the site, and get familiar with it. If you would like to subscribe (so you can receive it in your e-mail inbox each day), just enter your e-mail address in the box on the right side of the screen. If you'd like to download our most recent white paper (Business Unorthodox), click here.


playshare - Pure Content

With the first of the month, we sent out our Playshare. This was one I've been wanting to send out for a while, because it's about Pure Content. If you'd like to receive Playshares (like the one that follows) in your Inbox, send us an e-mail.

Can a company have a passion?

Family. Religion. Golf. Reading. What’s the commonality? Each of these is someone’s passion. Maybe yours. At Play, we challenge people to incorporate their passion into their work. Does that mean that someone with a passion for golf should install a mini-golf course in his lobby? No. What it means is that your passion has some core attribute that you can extrapolate and apply. Perhaps, if you enjoy golf, you like strategy. How can you bring more strategic thinking into your day-to-day operations? If your passion centers around spending time with your children, perhaps you find value in building deep relationships, or in seeing personalities grow and develop. Where at work is it possible to apply this passion? What are you passionate about, and what macro-level passions can you introduce into your working environment?

At Play, we love learning, and we are fascinated by the innovation in the world around us. In order to better gather this knowledge, we created Pure Content, our weblog, where we post articles and incidents of creativity and innovation, from the worlds of business, academia, government, science, and culture. What your personal journal does for you as an individual, Pure Content does for us as a company. We wanted to introduce you to this resource, which we developed to advance creativity and to build conversations around the world. Read what we're reading. Think what we're thinking. And then share with us what's on your bookshelf and what's on your mind.

Can a company have a passion? Absolutely. Find out more about ours, at http://www.purecontent.blogspot.com/.

let's play.



McDonald's in France has issued a statement that suggests that French children shouldn't abuse fast food, and that they shouldn't eat at McDonald's more than once a week. Interesting. One issue that I have with this is that ... well ... we don't know that they actually DO eat at McDonald's more than once a week (on average). If the McDonald's-hired nutritionists are endorsing eating at McD's once a week, and the average number of visits is .6 per week, woudn't that be an increase in visitors? I'm just a little cynical about this. If you're interested in reading more about the fast food industry, check out Fast Food Nation. It's a fascinating read. Sort of like a modern-day version of The Jungle. Check it out.

If you want to read the CNNmoney article about the McDonald's ad campaign, check it out here.



7up has a new product, akin to the chameleonic (like that?) color-shifting sodas rolling out from Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, and Coca-Cola. Their new soda is a green drink with the tagline "flip it." Because 7up, upside down, is dnL. (Actually, you rotate 7up to get dnL. If you flip it, you get "Jnd." If you flip dnL, you get "qur.") Anyway, the interesting thing is that they're launching it via eBay. The first 31 cases are being auctioned off, with case #1 already up to $5,100. (what if?)

Thanks to LucJam.


Can I Get a Witness?
A novel program currently being tested in West Memphis, Arkansas, requires individuals entering the witness protection program to do more than disappear after they testify. Hump Merrill, District Attorney for West Memphis, told the Pascal School Pink Press of Fort Worth, TX that the new city code will require witnesses to participate in a minimum of 40 hours of community theatre. Merrill said, "We felt they shouldn't get off scott free. We've had a heck of a time finding extras for our plays, so we figured this was a good way to have folks give back to the community where they committed there crime.'' Merrill continued, ''we had to do Showboat last year with three folks.'' Benny ''Teets'' Magee, a former Memphis mob captain, was one of the first to be subject to the program. ''These freeken lunatics made me dress up as the tin man! I was dancing around singing about Toto and some damn rainbow.'' Teets continued, ''I'd rather be in jail.'' Fifty-six witnesses are currently in the program and there are plans to expand the program to entire state.

B. Clambulance


four questions. what is your passion? what is your oneword? what is your creativity? what is your story? try them on for size. allow them to be the entry point into someones inside or your inside. they are elogant questions with novels of information coming out of them. they take a optimistic look into todays world and the people that make it up. hmm.

my first inclusion on pure content. ive been watching from afar...actually from about 20 feet as charlie park has brought another layer of communication and community building to play. i am amazed and humbled by the amount of passion put into pure content and the community that makes it up. nothing profound but four questions for my first foray...i look forward to playing much more. thanks charlie fro bringing me another outlet of expression and a place of learning. have a rockin jack o lantern day.



As we expand the universe of Pure Content, we're bringing on more Play people to post. Up next is Andy, who founded the company (with his sister) 12 years ago. An avid mountain biker and soccer player, he enjoys playing with his dog, Gekko, and hanging out with his wife, Jill. If you've ever had the opportunity to see Andy speak at a conference or other event, you know that he's basically a 175 pound hummingbird. Andy, welcome to Pure Content.


Political Hairpiece

Senator Ted Kennedy's ninth cousin, Nipsey Kennedy Smith Townsend Wang Sneep Salmon, a resident of King of Prussia, PA has recently embarked on an effort to resusitate the long-dead Whig Party. The Whigs reached their zenith in the mid-1800's behind their push for a powerful Central Bank. The King of Prussia Pennysaver reported that Mr. Salmon is hoping to revive the party, and use his relation, albiet slightly distant, to push his new party. The main change proposed by Mr. Salmon is to change the party name to ” Wig,” require that all supporters actually don a wig, and has adopted a toothless, foul-mouthed badger as their mascot. Asked whether Senator Kennedy is supportive of this effort, Salmon became beligerant and referred to the Senator as a "tubby rumpot." Even with family support, Salmon may have to live down an arrest for "dancing with a mailman" in the late 60s. Salmon claimed he was showing the mail career how to "hand jive." Plans are in place for a convention in the coming weeks, as soon as Salmon can find a dentist that will de-tooth a badger.

Mr. Clambulance


you've got mail

Stumbled across this. Funny. You know the "voice" that says "You've Got Mail" and "Welcome" and "Goodbye" when AOL users open up their browsers? The guy with the "voice" is named Elwood ("El") Edwards, and his personal tagline is "the Voice of 'You've Got Mail!'." He now sells customized .wav files, so you can set up your computer to say "Charlie, You've Got Mail!" or "Work? Ha! You've Got Mail!" or "Geof Hammond dresses like Eurotrash, and, by the way, You've Got Mail!"

For those of you who are interested, check out his site.


a few weeks ago, Ken Eichenwald wrote a great column in the 10-6-02 of the NYT, that talked about the growing public demand for justice amid the repeated corporate scandals that have plagued the news over the past year. Eichenwald commented, “The arrest and punishment of a handful—or even a score or two—of executives will do nothing to counter what the experts see as the true challenge facing corporate America: to persuade a doubtful public that there is integrity in executive suites.” (leadership, passion)

as corporate America's black eyes become blacker, there has been a flurry of proposals, recommendations, legislation, speeches, posturing, lamenting about the lack of integrity, ethics, and honesty in business today. behavior, criminal and non-criminal, has now coagulated into one big blob of public mistrust and discontent--from insider trading to executive perks, accounting irregularities to executive cash outs, illegal payouts to political soft money.

Eichenwald points to the need for corporate America to aggessively demonstrate that it recognizes the rationale for the public’s anger. Professor Tom Tyler, a psychology expert at NYU who specializes in the study of popular conceptions of justice comments, “For people to step forward and acknowledge responsibility for what has gone wrong, to agree that there is a need for change, to step forward to help to lead an effort—those are all the kinds of things we would tell C.E.O.’s that they should do in the face of public anger.”

corporations must also recognize the huge impact their troubles have had on their employees. lack of faith in management's desire to do what is right, is one of the biggest causes of low employee satisfaction and engagement. it also wipes away the passion of employees that foster a productive, profitable, and innovative organization.


what business are you in?

At the morning meeting, Anne shared with us the concept proposed by Joie de Vivre Hospitality:

Joie de Vivre has set itself apart within the hospitality industry by taking a conceptual approach to the creation of its hotels and restaurants. From the cinema-inspired Bijou, to the arts and literary infused Rex, to the Hotel Del Sol, a lively "boutique motel", each property possesses its own dynamic personality. "We focus on the 'psychographics', versus the 'demographics', of our guests," says Chip Conley, Founder and CEO. "Ultimately, we want to make an emotional connection with each person who walks through our doors."

Apparently, they take take their inspiration from magazines they like, genres of music, and other things in the world around them, and they build hotels around that inspiration. (look at more stuff. think about it harder.) (observational creativity)

The CEO also says this:
"Our goal is to create landmarks, hospitality products full of soul and personality,"says Conley. "Some in the hotel world say they are in the business of 'selling sleep', I believe we're in the business of creating dreams."

(what business are you in?)

Thanks, Anne, for the heads-up. Thanks, Mary, for rocking the free world.


Rule #17 thrives everywhere

At the Water Environment Federation conference and exposition in Chicago, representatives from state water environment associations get together to meet, discuss important issues, and experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Every year the Federation holds a “Wastewater Olympics” where teams from across the U.S. and Canada engage in physically harsh and mentally bemusing tests of their collections, laboratory, maintenance, process control and safety skills of teams.

This years winners have a lame name, but are local heroes for us at Play. Team HRSD Bio-Force, the team representing the Virginia Water Environment Association won Division I of the challenge, beating such menacing adversaries as the “Royal Flush” team from the Florida Water Environment Association, and the “Commode Commandos” from the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association. (what if, Rule 17)

does anyone know of any other companies or industries that have sponsored an "olympics" type competition of sorts? what about an exfoliating competition among salon facialists or a copy editing competition among advertising professionals?


if you don't copy, you won't advance

In the Oct 2002 Smithsonian, Joseph Harriss writes about the copyist program at the Louvre.

According to Maiten de Ferrier, the head of the Louvre’s office that runs the copyist program, there were 150 artists last year who made 269 copies. They included a psychoanalyst, a surgeon, a midwife, and 13 retirees. “Copyists working amid the visitors enhance the way the public sees paintings and incites them to look more closely with a more analytical approach. The start noticing how the artist actually did the work." she says.

Mary Chavance, a French artist copying a Caravaggio painting comments, “If you don’t copy, you won’t advance. But you can’t do it passively. You have to involve yourself deeply in creating something that’s more than just a reporduction of a painting.”

To copy at the Louvre, you need a copy of your passport, along with a letter recommendation from your Embassy, and you need to fill out a simple form specifying a start date and painting to be copied. Permits are good for three months and the Museum provides you with an easel and a stool. Compared to the Washington’s National Gallery of Art, this policy is quite liberal. The National Gallery has a long list of rules and requires reference letters, original sample of paintings an interview from applicants.

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