Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
April 4, 2018 6:23 AM

The Long Tales - The Best In Business Innovation Content - Issue #5

Welcome to the 5th edition of The Long Tales - the best in business innovation content.

The news is a mess. Business is a mess.

This is how most business professionals feel these days, isn't it? I'd like to think that I am both an optimist and someone who is opportunistic. Still, it's hard to not have a whiff pessimism with one quick glance of the news. Who knows where our consumer data really is? A leader of the free world is stripping down one of the biggest companies via Twitter (slicing billions from their market cap). A murderous rampage at YouTube. Spotify - which shows little chance of making money - opens big in their IPO. And, the week's about halfway done. With that, it feels like opportunity is abound. It does seem like brands can play a really solid role in pulling people together and building loyalty. What you will notice in the choice of this week's links is a theme: in the mess, there is opportunity. Which brands will roll up into a ball and head into their respective corners sobbing, and which brands will seize these opportunities and capitalize?  

Here are some of this week's best in business innovation:

  • Can $26 Short Ribs Save Barnes & Noble? - Eater. Over this past holiday weekend, we visited family in Scarsdale, New York. Close by is one of the Barnes & Noble prototype stores that is being described in this Eater piece. I bought two books in this store. It's new. It's beautiful. There is a lot of space to soak in literature. The staff is helpful (and not pushy). When I was checking out at the register, the cashier asked me if I wanted to become a member of their loyalty program. "I'm Canadian," I said. They asked if I had eaten in their restaurant, Barnes & Noble Kitchen. I had (just not on this trip), and it was yummy. They said that it's too bad that this model store will not be rolled out into other stores. Apparently, even selling great food, and having a great restaurant experience was not selling more books. I left the store. It bothered me for the rest of the weekend. I kept hearing their voice in my head: "it's too bad that the Kitchen is not helping to sell more books." Is there a correlation? Is it possible that people are, simply, buying less physical books... and that has nothing to do with the food or how busy the store is now (it was VERY busy)? Then, I saw this article. Read on...
  • Beverage Company Califia Farms Publishes Branded Magazine 'Pour Over' - MediaPost. I believe in content marketing. I believe (deeply) in long-form content (can't you tell? Have you seen the name of this initiative?). In fact, there's nothing I like more than long-form niche content. So, welcome to Pour Over. It's a magazine with a focus on coffee culture and plant-based lifestyle. Unique? You bet. Niche? More than you might expect. All of this, brought to you by the nut-beverage and coffee company Califia Farms. And, by the looks of things, it's beautiful. Sit back, take a sip and imagine what your brand might be able to produce and publish. Read on...
  • The midlife of design - Five Fifty - McKinsey Quarterly. I'm sick of infographics. That's really not true. In order to be sick of them, you had to enjoy them in the first place. I never did. I'd look at an infographic and feel lost. Always. My brain... it no like it. One of the Mirum team members (thanks, Umar!) sent this one around. It's about design thinking and it's 50th anniversary (and you thought design thinking was something new?). It's an infographic. It almost lost me. Then... but then... glory. As you scroll down this infographic, it leads to other links. And that is what makes it great and beautiful and innovative content. You can spend a few minutes to see what the five most important things about design thinking are, or you can click through the links and dive deeper into each topic (which would take about fifty five minutes). That's why McKinsey calls this feature, Five Fifty. And, that's what suddenly makes an overused concept like infographics so super-innovative, valuable and smart. You want it quick? You want it fast? They've got you covered. You want it long? You want to spend some serious time with the topic? They've got you covered. Look (or Read) on...
  • It's time for an RSS revival - Wired. Hallelujah and Praise Be! Bring it back! I'm sure Wired will get all of the credit for this idea, but I've been writing and dreaming about the power of RSS... well, since RSS really started happening close to 15 years ago. I was insane, crazy in love with Google Reader and tried (desperately tried) to fall in love with Feedly. But, like many, my RSS reader withered on the vine. I was no longer proactively pulling specific feeds from thinkers and publishers that I love, but I was just foraging my content from my social media feeds (hint: follow really, really smart people, or this is can be a work hazard). Now, as we sit in the hot mess dumpster fire that is fake news, echo chambers and information that is hard to substantiate, I find myself paying for content... from publishers... mostly traditional publishers. That should tell you something. Now, I miss... really, really miss my Google Reader. So, what is RSS? Do we need it back? I'm in the "yes" camp... but that won't do much, when most people get their news from their friends who - for the most part - aren't all that media savvy. Read on...
  • Digital Identity Is Broken. Here's a Way to Fix It - The Wall Street Journal. Where is our true digital identity? Who controls it? How is it used and updated? It's not something we often think about... but we should. "... we need a new generation identity mechanism where credentials are issued by communities of people and businesses that know each other. Here, your entire community vouches for you, not a single bureaucracy or a single commercial player." How's about that for innovative thinking? Who can and who should build this platform? Which company? Will it work? Read on...

Now, go get busy making innovation happen today.

What is The Long Tales?

If you believe that spending time reading and listening to great longform business content is one of the most powerful ways for you to think about how your brand can better connect with consumers, this may be for you. As a known Infovore, I am astounded by the vast amount of content out there on the topic of business innovation. With that, I'm even more astounded at just how average the vast majority of this content is. On a regular basis, The Long Tales is my pet project as I curate and comment on what has been happening in the world of business innovation... and why you need to care.

By Mitch Joel