Who Do You Trust?

Who Do You Trust?

“In a shocking finding, scientist discovered a herd of unicorns living in a remote, previously unexplored valley, in the Andes Mountains. Even more surprising to the researchers was the fact that the unicorns spoke perfect English. The scientist named the population, after their distinctive horn, Ovid’s Unicorn. These four-horned, silver-white unicorns were previously unknown to science.” Read the rest of this remarkable story here. Assuming you read the article, how long was it before you started to smell a rat? To be clear, the first two sentences were written by a human being, the rest was generated by GPT-2, an AI trained on 8 billion webpages. What GPT-2 produces is […]

It’s Not Just A Jacket

It’s Not Just A Jacket

In early October 2019, I was one of the lucky 300 to get one of the Batch No.2 Paynter jackets. It arrived just before Christmas, and has quickly become one of my favourite items of clothing. Anyone who has met me will quickly realise I’m not that interested in ‘fashion’ – but I care deeply about the story behind the clothes I wear. When you order from Paynter, it’s not just a jacket – it’s a journey … they share details of the design process, where the fabric comes from, the factory in Portugal where each jacket is hand made, the illustrator who designs the labels, why they chose the […]

Who Are You Angry With?

Who Are You Angry With?

For many years now, I have been an avid fan and follower of Seth Godin. His books, podcast, and online courses are all excellent, but it is his daily blog that I find provides the most value. (Which is interesting in itself – he gives away his best ideas for free, every day … If you take nothing else from this article, signing up for Seth’s daily updates will make a huge difference to you and your business.) Seth considers himself first and foremost a teacher, and his main area of expertise is marketing – but his ideas are applicable to all areas of life. A recent post called ‘Irritated […]

Reaction v Response

Reaction v Response

After surviving Nazi concentration camps, Viktor Frankl famously talked about the gap between stimulus and response. What he called “the last of the human freedoms” is our ability to choose our response to any given situation. I recently came across a variation of this idea in an interview with Harvard professor Sheila Heen, an expert on communication and negotiation. She spoke about how the key to managing difficult conversations is understanding that our reaction to what is being said does not necessarily have to dictate our response. When someone criticises us, or accuses us in some way, our first reaction is very often to defend ourselves – to point out […]

Confident Uncertainty

Confident Uncertainty

There is a difference between confidence and certainty. Certainty is when we have 100% confidence – we are utterly convinced that we are right. We’ve done all the research, and all our information is completely correct and undeniable … this 100% confidence shuts down conversation. Certainty closes doors – it stops people disagreeing with you. And it closes you to other – possibly better – options. Confidence is important, otherwise we can just end up procrastinating … but if we want the people around us to be at their best, then we have to give them space to voice their opinions. We all have to be open to the possibility […]

The quickest solution rarely gets to the heart of the problem

The quickest solution rarely gets to the heart of the problem

When we are confronted with a challenging situation, our first instinct is to just make it go away as quickly as possible. The tendency is to look for the quickest and simplest solution, but this may not always be the best idea. Our greatest successes usually come when we can move to what Shane Parrish calls ‘Second-Order Thinking’ – the ability to dig a bit deeper, and consider the broader implications and longer-term consequences of our decisions. There was a brilliant article in The Atlantic this week that highlights this. Alex Wagner contrasts the difference in how Starbucks and ABC dealt with their recent racism issues. [These links have more […]