Poetry def-inite terms

Here at Cnvrgnc it is one of our core beliefs that the intersection is a place for endless creativity and infinite possibilities. The intersection is a place for undiscovered narratives, creative design and imaginative storytelling. It's where art, commerce, and technology can collide...and forge new universes.

At the intersection of boxing, hip hop and design, Louis Vuitton's 'Core Values' ad campaign creates a new space for the senses with a series  of captivating spots  from Canadian production house Steam Films. In spoken word style, reciting some of the most memorable quips of Muhammad Ali, hip hop icon Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def), evokes the spirit of "The Greatest". Adding fuel to the already creative fire, graffiti artist, Niels Shoe Meulma, adds strokes of calligraphic genius to the cadence of Bey's voice, creating yet another dimension to the already riveting performance.    

Why choose Muhammad Ali to represent a Luxury Fashion brand? Oglivy Paris would have the detailed answers to that question. For me though, on the outside looking in, my thoughts are this: there's something here that subtly speaks to what many compelling brands strive for - inspiration, conviction, and a sense of meaning. Louis Vuitton, I think, strives to reflect these ideals. 

In a market that's often surface with...countless likes,  unending hashtags, and relentless 'virality', there's a polar opposite: emotive experiences, designed ideas, and compelling narratives. It's the latter that will help make sense in a world where so much is being reoriented, redefined, and recalibrated. 

Ladies and gents...float like a butterfly, sting like a bee...


Louis Vuitton - Dream from Stuart A. McIntyre on Vimeo.


LOUIS VUITTON - Tribute to Muhammad Ali - ''WORD'' from Benedicte Luneau on Vimeo.



Sometimes when you hear truth, it strikes a chord. It's real. It's palpable. It's felt deep within the pit of your stomach. It's as if someone took your exact thoughts, your emotions and feelings and gave them words. This is how I felt when I came across the below video from the clothing company Black Scale.

Being an entrepreneur, day in and day out you fight with ups and downs, progress and setbacks, clarity and uncertainty. With that on the table, the ongoing reality is that right now, at this very moment, somewhere, someplace, there is an idea, struggling to live, to survive, to see another day.  It fights because it feels it has something to offer. Something to contribute. A value to share with the world.

The success of that idea depends on the tenacity of its creators. Their persistance. Their ability to effectively navigate an environment with innumerable moving parts. Not to mention pushing on when giving up would seem to be much easier. Sometimes it's simply about the sheer size of the hunger inside and the ability to push on when there doesn't seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel.

On infinite levels truth is valuable. Truth is freeing. Truth is necessary.

Black Scale...thank you.



At the end of the day, they're still

Just this evening I was watching 30 Rock (with Brian Williams) and in one of their segments they were interviewing Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker (the original founders of Napster). The interview focused on their relationship in the early years, what they did as digital pioneers, and in what way they are structuring their future. One of their comments was the the web had become 'boring.' And as a result their response to that has been the development of their product called Airtime, which launched in 2010. 

In many ways I agree with them. The web has become boring. My position, though, is the reason for this is because on numerous levels...from Twitter, to Facebook, to Ning name it, the game's about building better, quicker, and more dynamic technology tools. Don't get me wrong - revolutionary tools (a huge reason, on so many levels, why the market is upside down), but still So my question is - where is the real potential? In the hammer drill or what the hammer drill can actually build?

Today, tomorrow and beyond, prosperity is in the hands of artists, narrative creators, and storytellers - and those words I don't use in any traditional sense. 21st century artists are also community builders, pull experts, and manufacturers of serendipity. Post-industrialism is about narrative creators who concentrate on empathy, meaning and scaling value (not just efficiency). Creative storytelling will emancipate design and culture so they can structure models of being that reflect our way of life in a digital age.

Now whether those tools are in a movie studio, a science lab or a corporate office, the application is the same (and John Lasseter sums it up succinctly). Tools are only as good as the ingenuity that wields them.   



                                                                            AP photo - Daniel Ocha de Olzo

Other than the fact that each word has five letters, how does a heart and a brand resemble one another?

On the surface they have nothing in common. To the untrained mind they are two different conversations in two different universes. Looking a bit closer...they are more similar than you may think.

The heart is one of the absolutely most important organs we have. Without it, there's no blood pumping into the veins. No fresh oxygenated blood filtering through the system. There's no life being pumped into the body.

A brand is one of the aboslutely most important aspects for a business.  Without a brand you just have a tablet, you don't have an iPad. Without a brand you just have t-shirts, you don't have a Threadless. Without a brand you just have fashion, you don't have a Vogue.

A heart beats 72 times per minute, 4,320 times every hour, and 103,680 times every day. That's 1,900 gallons of blood pumped from midnight to midnight. It generates enough power in a 24 hour period to drive a truck 20 miles...and weighs basically pounds.

Your brand (idea) should pulsate inside the minds of your customers. Not necessarily 72 times per minute or any specific number of times an hour but should pump through their minds when the choice is between you or them. Because that's what a brand does. It helps people make a decision. It helps them understand why your brand is desirable, why you exist, and why you matter. Brand is identity. It is the workhorse that pumps life into your business narrative. And guess what...its weightless, yet should weigh heavily in your strategic decisions.

The heart has four chambers - two superior atria and two inferior ventricles.

A brand has four areas - value, meaning, goals and ambitions.

In the marketplace we hear folks say that brands need to be human (more specifically, need a human touch...). The other important question becomes...does your brand have a heart?


Odd Future and the Power of Pull 

About two years ago I came across a Village Voice blog post about an emerging group on the indie music scene out of L.A. called Odd Future (OF). Having grown up out west and having had in heavy rotation L.A. artists like King T, NWA, and Ice T, I was definitely going to check them out...I've been watching them ever since.

Now if you know anything about OF they are controversial (to say the least). This is not why I am writing about them. In the last couple of years, as they've risen in popularity, I've continued to like them more and more...and I couldn't quite figure out why. Partly because in so many ways they're carrying on the 'rebel' legacy that's embedded in the attitude (and the artistry) of rock & roll and hip hop. The other reason(s)...I was simply having a hard time putting my finger on. Then I came across an interview on Youtube with their manager Christian Clancy.

In '08 I wrote a post entitled Sex, Drugs and Rock & (what's next?) discussing how the web was changing the nature of the music industry and how artists (such as Trent Reznor of NIN) were, in their own ways, experimenting with this new reality. Now in the interview Christian talks about, as a music manager, how he was tired of the traditional (industrial age) model for marketing music and how Odd Future was a breath of fresh air. He mentions how Tyler, Hodgy and crew "...are smarter than the music that is being sold to them" (A++++ line...) and at 3:51 states how they (OF) have disregared the old mentality of how you push and have mastered the ability to build the pull.

When I heard AALL fell into place (why i reeaally liked OF).

In 2010 I had the opportunity to attend an invite only Edgeparty here in DC for the release of John Hagel III's, John Seely Brown's and Lang Davison's book "The Power of Pull". Since 2007 (when I started my blog) I was grasping how the market/world was shifting and my conversation with John Hagel that night began giving me even more insight into this.

From a Harvard Business Review article written in 2010 it states that "pull gives us the ability to draw from within ourselves the insight and performance required to more effectively achieve our potential (i.e OF). "The power of pull puts each of us, individually and together, in a position to collaborate in a complete re-imagination of our biggest private-and public-sector institutions, one that may eventually remake society as a whole."

By no stretch of the imagination am I saying that OF will help remake/improve society with their music. They are, though, a manifestation/flavor of 'pull' that's discussed by John Hagel III, JSB and Lang Davison. Additionally, the fact that there is a relationship between the voices in the forefront of economic and civic discourse and the vanguard in alternative hip that's very cool.