New ideas, old ideas, their value … and a conversational bookend

Funny how one inspirational character can sort wheat from chaff.  Strange – yet again – how ideas floating like birds in our collective heads land upon the same set of wires, from time to time, to spell out the melody for the perfect tune accompanying our deepest thoughts. 

I’ve recently picked up and read Apples, Insights and Mad Inventors by the inimitable Jeremy Bullmore.  Almost accidentally, I scanned Wally Olins’ original Corporate Identity – the 1989 one.

It struck me that both talk almost entirely about the people side of the brand experience.  Olins of course goes a bit deeper into design and identity and architecture.  But nearly all the anecdotes and metaphors boil down to two things.

  • Brands = experience with People, mostly
  • Brands have to be “true”.

That’s really it.


The value of ideas.  A conversational bookend.

Back to my previous … well, rant… about new ideas/old ideas/owning them/commerical value.  Bullmore quotes Alexander Pope and that just about wraps it up…

True wit is nature to advantage dress’d,
What oft was thought but ne’er so well express’d


And finally, about amateurs, blogs, crowds and choice.  Bullmore again delivers the goods:

“No general can personally manage an army of 50,000 men.  No chief executive can persoanlly manage a company of twice that number in 100 countries.  No reader can make an informed assessment of all 10 million works of fiction in print before deciding which three to take on holiday… yet generals and CEOs and readers somehow maintain their sanity and their ability to function,” Bullmore writes. 

“The general has no more than a dozen people reporting to him.  The CEO works with a small executive commitee.  And readers rely on their experience of a limited number of authors, subjects, reviewers and publishers,” he adds – in short, we all outsource.

It’s this last bit that is challenged by the web, amateurs and bloggers.  We no longer need to rely on a “limited number” of opinions — if we ever have.  But we can make the space to accommodate a new set of outsourced thinkers.  Just as I can filter out the noise of the supermarket, the hundreds of pasta sauces and soups and 24 kinds of mustard, I can also filter the bloggers and pretty quickly assess who I decide to value and who I can safely filter out.

So, definitively, the more the merrier.  I trust my critical faculties.  Bring on another million bloggers.


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