A new book is published every 30 seconds, so the hopeful author has to invent marketing wheezes at a similar rate if she is to remain visible for more than a few seconds. The hard part these days is to plug (= English for promote) one's book in blogs without offending everyone and making things worse. I've coined the word "plogging" to describe this practice. With my book I'm also trying to perfect a form of viral marketing that's like avian bird flu: I want my book to 'jump' from the design species to the human one.
A full-page story in the Financial Times (March 1, page 9) waxed lyrical about 'reality tv for the boardroom' and went on to describe the use of video footage to 'reduce the growing distance between the corporate elite and consumers'. Executives in multinational companies, understated the FT, 'often find themselves doing business in places they know little about' (but) 'corporate reality tv enables highly paid executives to cross the class divide and get a glimpse into the lives of regular people that is, their consumers'.
'Those who enjoy what they do never have to work any more'. An intriguing article by Sybrand Zijlstra Morf ) reports that 80 percent of students graduating from art academies pronounced themselves to be satisfied with their education. This is a surprise: endless reports, at least in Europe, describe art and design education as being in a mess. A bigger surprise, considering that the number of jobs available for artists is tiny: only two percent of those with a degree in art or design consider themselves to be unemployed.
My theme this week seems to have become the search for meaning in obscure reports. Can't be worse than tea-leaves. A survey of front-line researchers in 25 European countries reveals surprising devations from tech orthodoxy. The so-called Fistera Delphi (it's a system for averaging the results of an opinon survey) asked experts to prioritise research priorities for 2010 and beyond. The study looked at the social dimension of what is optimistically described in Europe as the "Information Society".
After this I'll shut about work but I love this report even though I can't figure out what it means. A British organisation called City & Guilds has published a Happiness Index. Hairdressers are the happiest workers in Britain: 40 percent say they are very content in their job (giving their careers a score of ten out of ten).
I'm not sure everyone in the financial world is up to speed on the attitudinal shift we're discussing. A half-page ad in last weekend's San Francisco Chronice featured the headline, "Why do we work?" displayed over the photo of an assembly line worker's hands, shifting a box.The text below read, "to keep the future growing". A bank called Principal.com presumably paid a goodly chunk of its customers' money to share this pearl of wisdom with us all.
Apropos yesterday's discussion about dream time: I arrived here in Helsinki to be reminded me that it is European Union policy to promote "a better work:life balance". This sounds all very advanced and mature until you realise that it defines work, and life, as two separate domains. Which explains (as if we did not already know) why so many people dislike or hate their work.
I ran across some amazing numbers in a survey by the Center for a New American Dream of attitudes to consumption in the United States. More than eight out of ten Americans believe that "society's priorities are out of whack"; 93 percent agree that Americans are "too focused on working and making money and not enough on family and community". More than 8 in 10 say they would be "more satisfied with life if they just had less stress". 40 percent have made conscious decisions to buy less since 9/11.
At Doors (this was in March) people seemed to find Margrit Kennedy's talk about the end of the known financial world interesting, but not alarming. Their reaction reminded me of the newspaper clipping I keep pinned to my office wall. It's a Guardian (UK) science story from two years back about the ecological crisis, and had the headline: "Human life on the planet under threat". This snippet was run on page 13 of the paper under "International News".
To my cynical eye, the people I see on US on television reassuring us about hedge funds are acting just too relaxed - and when I saw one analyst describe fund managers as "much more sophisticated these days" I knew the rest of us had reason to panic.