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Book Review: David & Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell

By on Apr 10, 2014 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

“No-one does insight porn quite as well as Malcolm Gladwell.” I read this comment Good Reads and couldn’t get it out of my head…    It’s true: Like a teenager reading (what used to be called) a ‘brown wrapper magazine,’ I couldn’t tear myself away from this book. As another of Gladwell’s masterpiece “accessible psychology” books, David & Goliath makes you rethink what you know about something (underdogs) and take for granted (that they get beaten). To introduce his big idea, Gladwell turns the biblical story of David and Goliath upside down and casts the thought that David wasn’t an underdog at all. He goes on to explain that David had a number of advantages that raised his odds of winning – ones that a seasoned warrior like Goliath, should have spotted. So how, at times, do the David’s of the world overcome obstacles, and the Goliaths become vulnerable to the underdog?...

Rebuilding the ad break: more disruptive content marketing from LEGO brand

By on Feb 21, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I’ve said before, that I love to play. And that telling a great story – especially a brand one – is an art. For me, the LEGO brand fuses those two loves with some of the most innovative and disruptive content marketing that’s going around today. If you want a case study for brand story creation, consolidation and expansion, there’s no need to go much further than LEGO. Having reinvented themselves out of their near bankruptcy in the early 00’s, LEGO have forged a new path with Hollywood tie-ins, going back their roots and most of all, tapping new technology and online marketing techniques. With the hilariously entertaining LEGO Movie launch approaching, they needed a new way to extend their brand reach. They turned to content marketing. As David Wilding, Head of Planning at Ad agency PHD,  explained in a Media Week post on the subject: “While Lego is a much-loved brand, it wasn’t (yet)...

Wandering, wondering and wordless

By on Feb 14, 2014 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

I’ve been absent. In mind, if not body – following paths. In doing that, I became a visitor to my blog, not its roommate.   It’s tricky … noticing absence. At first you notice it. You feel foggy and slightly uncomfortable. Then the transition smoothly glides from presence to absence.   And after a while you don’t notice it. Then it’s forgotten. *** I‘ve been trying to write this for some weeks. Finally it appeared for me – perfectly written by Erika Napoletano in a recent post, Your Messy, Messy Life … “It’s been awhile since I’ve written … a combination of self-doubt and blinding excellence, all muddled together in a strange stew of here and now where I can’t seem to get the seasoning right.” I couldn’t serve a dish to my roommate that didn’t taste, look or feel right. So I didn’t. But after giving myself the space of absence, I’ve drawn up a new guidebook...

Give me your handbag – and I’ll find your story secrets

By on Oct 25, 2013 in Uncategorized | 6 comments

A handbag (or manbag) is the ultimate private space. And that makes it juicy territory for story hunting. What’s in your bag right now? What stories does it hold, hide or hint at? Are there secrets lurking at the bottom … along with the bobby pins, scraps of paper and long forgotten flotsam and jetsam? Will it unravel you? Leave me (or any curious person, really) alone with your bag for an hour and it’s incredible what I can say about you. It’s not the obvious – phone, tissues or money that says much. Look at the small everyday objects. They hold great power in revealing your personality. What story will your handbag tell me? Share it … in the comments   Photo credit: Evil Erin via photopin cc By the way, if you like what you’ve read, why not share it on Twitter, Facebook or wherever you hang out using the buttons below – then others may enjoy it too. Get...

We’re born to create. Are you leaving something worthwhile?

By on Sep 25, 2013 in Uncategorized | 4 comments

Have you ever woken up in the morning and felt an ache inside? A feeling that there’s something more you need to do? That you’re destined for something greater? So go do it. Make a mark. Or even … just begin.   But sometimes you need a kick-start. Here’s a few for you: What legacy do you want to leave? Look for places to make a difference. What mark you want to leave as a unique reminder of your life? Find people and places where you can add, not take away. What undiscovered treasures have you dreamt of finding? Open new eyes to hidden gems. How wide is your life right now? Make sure you live life’s width as well as its length. What’s your passion, something you’re always talking about everywhere you go? Make you heart sing.   We’re only here once (that we’re sure of). Make sure you’ve left something.   What can you add? Leave your mark and then go out and start...

The evil truth about contrast and conflict in all great storytelling

By on Aug 21, 2013 in Uncategorized | 4 comments

Our everyday life and language is built on opposites and contrasts. I hate you … I love you. You’re beautiful … I’m ugly. We’re rich … they’re poor. And if you ask someone how things are going, you’ll typically get a conflicting message “Oh, it’s up and down” or “I’m so cold, but my feet are warm.” Thinking about it, our lives and surroundings are based almost entirely on binary oppositions, or paired contrasts – night and day, left and right, man and woman. And their very co-existence is essential for us to understand the world, events and emotions. For understanding to occur, things need their paired opposite. Their very opposition creates and gives meaning. We get it.   Darkness proceeds daylight That means we don’t actually learn and derive meaning from what things are, but from their relationship to other things. Have you ever considered how you’re able to understand (and...

The 5-minute minimum viable story

By on Aug 15, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

It’s easy to overcomplicate storytelling. And that’s a shame because writing a story should be simple. We’ve all done it since childhood. Everyone can write a story in five minutes. Yes, honestly it’s more than possible. It’s a certainty. I know you’re shaking your head saying you’re not a good writer, and it won’t be very good – both of which are possibly right with just five minutes to do it – but they are totally different things to being able to do it. The secret is in knowing what a story is at its most basic level. Let’s not get confused or complicated with plots, themes and meanings. We are just talking about what are the stripped-down, minimum viable requirements for a story to exist? After years of oral and written story study, narratologists  have found the minimum commonalities for all stories. It’s a simple formula or pattern to follow, and using it you...

What shape is a great story? The Great Gatsby

By on Aug 7, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

It’s the conundrum that plagues every writer, of every story, through every age  …  What shape should my story take? Where should it go? Who are the key characters? Where do their journeys take them? Where do they cross paths? How do they transform? What happens? … And then? F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, The Great Gatsby is a sweeping love story reflecting the shallowness of New York society during the Roaring Twenties. The storyline follows the enigmatic Jay Gatsby, a man who claws his way from rags to riches to win the love of his lifelong desire – Daisy Buchanan. As part of the nouveau riche, Gatsby finds that despite his new wealth he is still not afforded the privileges enjoyed by those born into the upper class of ‘old money’. Ultimately that exclusion is best reflected in his inability to obtain Daisy – his one and only love. It’s a great plotline, but what...

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