Pure Content

Look at more stuff. Think about it harder.

riddle me this

I'm up in Philadelphia right now, so I guess it's appropriate that I post somthing from Philly's Inquirer. (Note: That's not the Enquirer. Huge difference.) Anyway, It had a book review of Marcel Desani's book, The Puzzle Instinct. It looks like an intriguing book, especially if you're into the philosophy of science.

When he leans to the philosophical, Danesi offers multiple explanations for why puzzles appeal. They "generate a feeling of suspense that calls out for relief." The ancients associated them with "mystery, wonder" and "portentous challenges and events." Puzzles hint at having "occult power and secret aesthetic qualities." They behoove us to exercise our best insight and cleverness, making the "Aha!" payoff of solving them worth the effort. But Danesi's most repeated theme song along these lines draws on the observation of British mystery writer P.D. James that all mystery stories and puzzles ultimately serve our desire for the "restoration of order." We love solving puzzles, he suggests, because unlike the big questions of life, they're solvable. Puzzles, Danesi maintains, provide "comic relief" from "the angst earned by the unanswerable larger questions... . Since there are no definitive answers to the large-scale questions, we are strangely reassured by the answers built into the small-scale ones."

Here's the article.
Here's the book.


ei, grande ídéia, essa.
maybe this be a multilingual space?
su, from Brasil


Thank you

This post is not related to articles, business, or anything like that. I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you. The energy shared here is something I look forward to everyday, and I mean everyday. Since I met the folks at Play this past June at the ASTD conference in New Orleans and everyone here in Pure Content, my life, personally and professionally, has been more fulfilling. You have given me the courage to know what needs to get done and to change the world. Thank you for being here and thank you for letting me into your lives. I hope to meet all of you one day beyond this digital divide. You will all be there with my family and me when we give thanks and break bread tomorrow. Peace.

Dave Dec


creativity training

A little over two years ago, our clients began to ask us to teach them our creative models, tools, and processes. In response, we developed Play's Creativity Training. The two day session addresses the 4 M's (Mood, Mindset, Mechanism, Momentum), helps participants explore their creative tenets, discover our five-part process for creative thinking, and acquire concrete tools they can take back to their organizations.

We're offering a two-day creativity training session on December 4th and 5th. If you (or someone from your organization) are interested in attending, e-mail me for more information.

Some of the companies that have gone through Play's Creativity Training include: Mattel, Sara Lee, Boeing, Capital One, Kayser Roth, JP Morgan Chase, the Almond Board of California, the Virginia Police Corps, and the Children's Miracle Network. To add your name to the list, send me a note.


his master's voice

The Sacramento Bee has reported on an interesting advertising development. I'm honestly skeptical about its efficacy and its utility, but I have a feeling that we'll want to reference this again at some point in the future, so I'm posting it here.

Starting next month, two freeway billboards will be able to tell which radio stations passing cars are tuned to and then change the image on the sign to fit listeners' profiles. "We'll be able to shift the advertisement to suit the people driving by," said John Henry Parker, a member of the team working on the so-called smart signs. The billboards won't actually tailor their messages to individual passers-by. Instead, the signs can be programmed to change based on the listening habits of the majority of people driving by at a given time. Knowing what motorists are listening to is valuable for two reasons, Langeland said. First, it tells advertisers which radio stations are most popular during different times of day. And when combined with vast databases of consumer profiles, a favorite radio station is a good indicator of a person's demographic group — and buying tendencies.

This (as well as a post a couple of days ago, about entrepreneuership) can be traced through Dan Pink's Just 1 Thing. To see the article itself, go here.
(anticipate and embrace change)


How mushrooms will save the world

Salon's "Technology and Business" section has an interesting article about Paul Stamets, a mushroom missionary and "renaissance mycologist." He lives and works in Washington State, and is passionate about fungi. He is optimistic about the role that mushrooms will have on health, technology, business, and the world in general.

In a recent interview, Stamets also spoke mysteriously of a yet-to-be-unveiled project he calls the "life box," his plan for "regreening the planet" using fungi. "It's totally fun, totally revolutionary. It's going to put smiles on the faces of grandmothers and young children," he says. "And it's going to be the biggest story of the decade."

Dr. Donald Abrams, assistant director of the AIDS program at San Francisco General Hospital calls Stamets "the most creative thinker I know." Stamets is investigating the possibility of oyster mushrooms having anti-HIV properties. The article is chock-full of other fascinating information, too, like the oilspill cleaning potential of different types of mycelia (the "meat and potatoes" of the mushroom fungus), or like the ability that mushrooms have to detoxify chemical agents like sarin nerve gas, or like the possibility of colonizing other planets by starting mushroom colonies on them, or how "the earth's natural Internet is the mycelial network."

It's inspiring, really. Go read the article. Now we just need someone to take The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet.


something we all need to hear

an excellent colleague sent me this article and it is something that must be shared. it signifies something that we seem to be sorely lacking today: compassion.

Jake Porter is a 17 year old high school student. a popular student, yet unexceptional athlete, his recent touchdown during his team's (Northwest High School) overwhelming loss to rival Waverly High School, would not seem newsworthy were it not for his astounding personal determination and the extraordinary cooperation and vision of two high school football coaches. For Jake was born with "Chromosomal Fragile-X" which is the leading cause of mental retardation and his touchdown was enable to the agreement reached by his coach and the coach of the opposition team.

Waverly was leading 42-0 in the fourth quarter, but the coach of Waverly had agreed with Northwest's coach to allow Porter to run for a touchdown. Porter's touchdown was a symbolic achievement that serves to credit the school system in Southwestern Ohio, which ensured that he attended the same high school as all other students. this environment of inclusion allowed Porter to thrive and although he had only taken a knee on the sidelines of his football team's games, his touchdown and all of his other accomplishments serve as special reminder of the endless possiblities open to anyone, should they be given a chance. Read more about this story in the Herald-Dispatch.

(what if)


what lies beneath

Adam Greenfield has an interesting article on the intersection of Information Architecture and business concerns.

I hope you'll forgive me if this recitation is overly schematic - if you've got a solid grounding in the fundamentals of capitalism, you're not the intended target audience, although I do still invite you to read on through and correct any errors or oversimplifications I've committed. Please also do not read any of the following, necessarily, as an endorsement of capitalist ethics or social norms. These happen to be the current ground rules of the game we play, however - what's the alternative, agrarian Maoism? POUMist redistributionism? - and we might as well at least have a scorecard, if not a cheat sheet.

Even if you're not heading towards agrarian Maoism (my ultimate destination, I think), it's good to know what's going on, and how business operates. Read on.

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