Wednesday 10 October 2007

White Swans

I've been borderline garrulous recently about a potential new model for the marketing communications business which is classic recombinant culture theory that I nicked off Faris. It would take some balls from an agency and even more from their respective clients to seriously implement but in principle it's about mixing and remixing some transmedia planning along with fair chunks of the book, The Black Swan which I talked about at length here.

To save a wee bit on time I want to cut and paste from that post:

"Our view of history is always explaining backwards as best we can. This is a linear approach that cauterizes the true story. Even more breathtaking is the idea that viewing history by working backwards is a fallacy, because history is actually always moving forward."

I ran this by Johnnie Moore the other night (you should check out his ace podcasts) at The Endurance pub in Soho while Piers was in town, and without even ruminating for a second, Johnnie cheerfully fired back that Kierkegaard wrote something similar as follows:

"Life is understood backwards, but is lived forwards"

This was the first seductive simplification that knocked me for six, and I scribbled it down quick on my hand because I knew it was, as are many of Johnnie's thoughts and occasional silences on lots of stuff, really important. It was lovely to see the ink on my skin the next day to remind me to give him a shout about it. I just did. Thanks Johnnie :)

So it's not like I've really discovered anything new, or I'm responsible for inventing anything seminal, but earlier today, as once again I ran the thoughts I've been bundling together on "transmedia-planning-meets-black-swan-mashup" by a generously attentive listener who works in the strategy game, she encapsulated the bit about The Black Swan that takes ages to explain. Describing narrative fallacy and how it leads to the illusion of predicatability that many draw from so called dependable data is not easy, and is actually probably just me trying to be too smart for my own good, but in essence Tania my listener, chipped in and captured the thrust of my long monologue with a lovely expression which she and her colleagues call 'the upside of risk'.

That made for two very seductive simplifications.

That'll do for the time being as I've still got lots of things about China that I'm practically bursting to blog about. So in the spirit of some timely recombinant culture media here is that White Swan I saw walking down the road in Marlow. The file wouldn't open from the Sony mobile phone when transfered to a Sony Vaio PC which Rob has nothing to do with, so instead, I've squirted a Nokia N95 mobile phone video on to it. I may come back and rotate it to portrait, if I find someone who can actually do important stuff like that, but in the meantime here's a White Swan doing a 'Black Swan'. Or put another way, a bird walking down a street that is right up mine.

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