February / March Recommendations

The melt is on here in Minneapolis. A new project at work is getting off the ground. Beyond work and warm weather there is an incredible amount of interesting culture that has emerged over the past month or so. Here is what I've been paying attention to. Hope you find something interesting in the list below. 


Ghettoside - Jill Leovy

Ghettoside is an book written by Jill Leovy - an ex LA Times crime beat reporter who was embedded within the LAPD Southeast division for 10 years. The book is part true crime, part sociology, and all parts enlightening. It helps all of us to understand a little better the complex relationship between communities and police forces. I loved reading this book, and if you know me or are reading this blog - you probably will to. 


Reply All - Gimlet Media

Reply all is a podcast about the internet. Ok. Just writing that sentence makes me uneasy. While it might seem indulgent to have a podcast explaining and telling stories about internet culture, the podcast is actually great. It's really entertaining and they do a fantastic job of picking topics. Their most recent episode covers "SWAT-ing". Interestingly enough, a few days post the episode Little Wayne got SWAT-ed which is I guess some weird justification for their topic choices. 


The Miracle of Minneapolis - The Atlantic

At this point, especially if you live in Minneapolis, you've seen and read this article. Beyond that - you've probably also read the responses which outline how (Minneapolis could be a future Detroit) or that (Minneapolis is terrible for African Americans). I'm working on a more in-depth data driven blog post about this and will have more to share. Read these three articles if you want to get up to speed on various points of view. 

The Future of Work in the Second Machine Age 

As we think about what the future holds for a place like Minneapolis, with an economy driven by both the creative class and large corporations, it's impossible not to wonder about how technology will impact the future of work. This write up about a debate between "Techno-Optimists" and "Techno-Pessimists" at the Brooking's institution was exciting for me as I feel like it articulated the relationship between knowledge work and technology with greater nuance. Techno-optimisits generally argue that technology will drive both increased productivity and higher wages. Techno-pessimists argue that technology will replace jobs without creating any wage growth. However, from looking at data around worker productivity a third position has emerged: 

We definitely see worker displacement, stagnant earnings, a failing job ladder, rising inequality at the top, “over-education” (workers taking jobs for which they’re historically overqualified), and declining rates of employment-to-population and household and of small business Formation. What we do not see are the productivity gains, either on a micro or macro level, that are supposedly driving worker displacement.

So if it's not increased productivity due to technology, what is driving worker displacement and all of the issues above? Perhaps policy. Current practices favor managers over workers and near term corporate profits over future investment. The next few decades should be focused on reversing this trend in the chart below. 


Digital Strategy Shouldn't Be About Attention

Talk to any marketer and they will all inevitably bring up "attention." Our brand or product is in a constant battle for attention. In an on-demand world where consumers have more agency than ever to control messages how do we capture attention? Beyond fleeting attention, how do we get that consumer to be loyal to us? 

 I Love the argument that Umair Haque makes, even if it is more theoretical than practical. The question we should ask as marketers is not how do we get people to be loyal to us, but how can we be loyal to them? How can we provide our attention to them? How can we improve the lives of potential consumers? While this seems like common sense - in the face of years of process and marketing management that lacks true empathy, it's a difficult mindset to put into practice. This is beyond customer centricity - this is customer empowerment. Co-creating brand experiences that create value for both the consumer and marketer through transparency and honesty. But it takes admitting that you have less control over your consumers than ever, which is a scary thing for marketers. 


The Jinx - HBO

The Jinx is another show jumping on the Serial paved true crime genre obsession among creative elites. The show does a fantastic job of making the audience feel like they are partners with Andrew Jarecki in getting to the bottom of 3 separate murders over 4 decades. 

The season ends tonight (3/15). I'm excited to see the truth come out!

Togetherness - HBO

Togetherness is a dark comedy that aims to explore a certain life-stage. It's made by the Duplas brothers. It's interesting to watch a show that isn't afraid to tackle marriage and the messiness that is "togetherness." I've always been a fan of watching shows about people who are just beyond me in terms of life-stage, and this show is the latest and greatest. 

Better Call Saul - AMC

When I heard that there was going to be a prequel to Breaking Bad, I was a little worried. But watching Better Call Saul you realize that Vince Gilligan is just really good at making TV. The same addictive and methodical revealing of information that made Breaking Bad so great is on display yet again with Better Call Saul. 


EAT / Drink

House Blend - Intelligensia

I know that many of you have probably already had this coffee, but if you haven't, or if you've forgotten how good it is, just drink it again or for the first time. 

Eggy Sriracha Breakfast Bowl 

One of my go to breakfasts on the weekends:

1) Barley Qunioa blend (Serving Size)

2) Mushrooms (handfull)

3) Soju (or soy) Sauce (1 TBSP)

4) Sriracha Mayo  (To Taste)

5) Egg (Sunny Side Up)


Fashionable Reading Glasses

Readers don't have to be ugly! 

Everlane Reverse Denim Backpack

For $65 this is such a steal. I get more compliments on this than anything else I own. Plus, if you haven't used a backpack in a while, they are really quite handy. 


Emily's Pick

Ubreakable Kimmie Schmidt

From Emily -  "Who knew that a plot about a cult in a bunker could make such a good TV show. It's cute, it's hilarious and lot's of fun."

This show is really fantastic. What I think I love most about it is that it takes characters that would generally be minor characters on most other TV shows and makes them the leads. It challenges so much about television while still succeeding at being a great TV comedy. 

Anything that you consumed over the past month or two that you think I should check out? 

Drink, Eat, Focus, Read, Watch, WearDaniel Prager