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Strands of Genius: AI as the next McKinsey, Templates for Trailers & The Enduring Power of Blond
Plus: you should do yoga in Italy + visit pregnant siblings
WRITING FROM | Seattle, WA
WORKING ON | wrapping a sprint, trying to catch back up on everything else
May 5- June 9 | Seattle, WA
Then: a whole lot of TBC - eeeep!
:: WHAT’S NEW & WEEKLY GRATITUDE ::
I’ve been deep in a sprint hole so haven’t been contributing much to Strands of late, but I have some breathing room and I am excited to see you all again. We are in Seattle to be around and helpful at the birth of our newest nibling! Very exciting and Seattle in late Spring and some Summer is truly beautiful, the weather is glorious, despite Seattle’s gloomy reputation (they like to keep that gorgeous weather a secret tho).
If you are in London - check out Russell Davies’ Interesting Conference 2023 - we went last year and it was lovely.
The story of pioneering women making iconic TV ads that changed the world: from Shake n' Vac and Levi's, to the Flake girl in the bath and the Lynx effect.
(how many of the below can you name?)
This week, we’re especially thankful for:
Liz, Shankar, Bodhi, Dev & Margot, Cally & Sammy, Oscar, Marion&Nate, Judy, great weather, our own space, endings, breaks, Day One of ‘health club’ (sadly, or sagely, it’s always day one), organic markets, PCC, micro greens, adaptogenic beverages, Dan Dan noodles, dim sum, vegan treats, Paulo Smithbox, Tom Robbins, Upstart Crow, The Power, Ted Lasso, and YOU.
:: THE LINKS ::
WILL AI BECOME THE NEW MCKINSEY
An intriguing title and thought experiment from perhaps the and certainly one of the best sci-fi short fiction writer currently working, Ted Chiang. His point here is that modern capitalism is primarily about removing costs and extracting the maximum shareholder value. When leaders find the ethics of leadership uncomfortable they turn to McKinsey. “That escape from accountability is one of the most valuable services that management consultancies provide. Bosses have certain goals, but don’t want to be blamed for doing what’s necessary to achieve those goals; by hiring consultants, management can say that they were just following independent, expert advice.” Since so many of the advertising B2B use cases for AI are about saving money (see below), this line of thinking is worth considering. (New Yorker)
THE TEMPLATE FOR TRAILERS
Someone on Twitter blended the trailers for The Little Mermaid and Transformers and they sync exactly, which led me to muse if there was a template for trailers, beat for beat. And there is! Thanks to Ant Henderson for these - the video is spot on! (Youtube)
THE ENDURING, INVISIBLE POWER OF BLOND
In this piece for The NY Times (gifted link, no subscription required), Tressie McMillan Cottom writes about how we use ‘blond’ to signify whiteness, without using the racialized term, ‘white’. She writes about how she watched a video on TikTok where one woman claims blondness in a video, but a follower questions her dark brunette roots and brassy white blond highlights. The TikTok’er in question then brings on her mom to confirm that she’s not a ‘natural brunette’, and her mom replies with “No, you were born blond.” Tressie stitched together a response and then over the next two days had “angry self-proclaimed blondes” swarming her.
Tressie writes, “Commenters complained that their blond children are simply prettier with light hair — and they characterized their adulation as a natural, understandable obsession with youth. People who were born blond and now have dark hair were among the angriest. They insisted that being a “natural blonde” should matter more than their actual hair color. When pushed on what makes that matter, they got even angrier.” Her video got to over a million views and then she was banned from TikTok. Her article dives deeper into this point (emphasis mine): “When people have outsize emotional reactions to benign inquiries about their self-evident beliefs, it is often an indicator that status is doing invisible work. That makes the culture, economics and politics of blondness great ways to think about how status derives its power and how we use that power in our own lives.” I loved this essay, but I also enjoyed reading the comments — and found it interesting just how many people felt the need (desire?) to share their hair color ;)
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:: A GIFT TO YOURSELF - YOGA IN ITALY WITH ONE OF THE MOST AHHHHH-MAZING TEACHERS! ::
Our dear friend Elea is hosting a yoga and creative getaway in Italy, October 10th-15th. A few years ago, Genius Steals x Ladies Who Strategize hosted a virtual yoga session, with Elea as the instructor, and Elea also hosted a few yoga sessions for our School of Stolen Genius members, so some of you may already be familiar with her. But if not, she is one of those women who has this crazy talent of being both calming AND uplifting at the same time. Her voice is soothing, her yoga is accessible, and she’s one of those women that you just *want to be around.*
And the location of this retreat?! Corzano e Paterno, our Italian home away from home, where our goddaughter Lily lives with her family. The farm, situated in San Casciano Val di Pesa, roughly halfway between Florence and Siena, is dedicated to the production of the finest quality wine, olive oil and sheep cheeses. We’ve loved all our time spent there, especially last summer when we found 70g of truffles in less than a half an hour, thanks to the truffle-hunting dog, Oreo!
(This is not a paid endorsement in any way, we’re just super excited that Elea has launched this retreat!)
While we’re not sure where we are going to be in October, we’re scheming to try to make this work because we couldn’t imagine a better host or better location! But please sign up, so that if we can’t make it we can live vicariously through you <3
:: PICNIC WITH A VERY PREGNANT SISTER ::
We know everyone raves about LA weather, but it was mostly cold and gross while we were there. Meanwhile, Seattle has been TURNING UP! The sun has been out and we’ve been enjoying spending so much time outside.
Here we are with Jodi & Ashley (Nate’s mom and sister), Rosie’s very pregnant sister, Marion, her partner Nate, and Rosie’s mom Judy. If you’ve asked Rosie where we’ll be this year, her response has likely been “Seattle in May for the birth of our newest nibling!” Marion’s due date is May 12th and we’ve been counting down the days since we heard the news!
One of the best things about our nomadic life has been being able to spend big chunks of time with (or nearby to) family, especially for these kind of special moments in life. We are here to cook dinners and clean kitchens and tickle scratch Marion and provide whatever kind of in-person support is needed, and soon, to cuddle our sweet niece living inside her belly! Our hearts are full and she is so incredibly loved already!!
If we can ever be of help to you, even outside of a formal engagement, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
faris & rosie & ashley | your friends over at geniussteals.co
@faris is always tweeting
@rosieyakob hangs out on instagram
@ashley also writes for deaf, tattooed & employed
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It's called Genius Steals because we believe ideas are new combinations and that nothing can come from nothing. But copying is lazy. We believe the best way to innovate is to look at the best of that which came before and combine those elements into new solutions.
Co-Founders Faris & Rosie are award-winning strategists and creative directors, writers, consultants and public speakers who have been living on the road/runway since March 2013, working with companies all over the world. Our Director of Operations is nomadic like us, our accounting team is based in Tennessee where our company is registered, our admin extraordinaire is based in Playa del Carmen, and our collaborators are all over the world. Being nomadic allows us to go wherever clients need us to be, and to be inspired by the world in between.
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