Archive for the ‘creativity’ Tag

The Choice of Machete


Who wrote the book on jungle survival and is it a website yet?

This could be the deepest recession in 70 years. I’m 26. I’ve worked in advertising for 17 months.

Nothing was clear when I entered the jungle. Tribalism ruled. Now everyone’s desperate for daylight.

Machete by Jules Suzdaltsev on Vimeo.

Those with the new weapons vaunt them. Those with the old craft and guile still hack so precisely.

But when the machete lies still, what sounds does the jungle make? How does it feel? Light slats through the canopy and life teems between your toes.


Vong Phaophanit, “What Falls to the Ground But Can’t Be Eaten”, Tate Britain.

I’ve never understood the debate – and the tribalism. This is a weird juncture in the history of advertising. That much was clear from the fringe.

At the same time that everyone talks about interaction and experience, tribes can barely look each other in the eye. So completely they miss those slats of light. They’d barely notice the weather.

Saxso Funny by rafaelci9 on YouTube.

The choice of machete is a pointless debate. You could hack all day – online, in print, on TV, even on the radio. You’re still hacking.

I don’t think we’ll be Amazon-deep in the jungle forever.

But we could build something while we’re there. Sit down and interact. Put the machetes away, switch the laptops off. Imagine the clearing we want then make it together.

Creativity sees connections where they didn’t previously exist.


The Yellow Treehouse Restaurant, Auckland, New Zealand.

(What’s the connection with advertising? Take a look at their website.)

Thinking in 3: The iPod

I’m not an iPod junkie and use a hand-me-down I got given a few months ago. Before that I was carting around a Sony discman and a thick sleeve of CDs.

So I missed the evolution of the iPod, but John Maeda’s Laws of Simplicity filled me in (the 1-2-3 above).

What do you see in that diagram? You can recognise the final idea in the first stage. The second stage looks overthought – the worst of the three. The final idea? So familiar now you take it for granted. It’s all quidditas.

When I think of my own work, it tends to come in the same 3s. There’s a few ways you can frame this:

1. Intuition; 2. Awareness; 3. Knowledge

1. Amateur; 2. Professional; 3. Expert

Your first ideas often get to the nub of it. You’re not overthinking, no detail to get in the way – it’s when you’re thinking nimbly.

You can tell if you’re onto something at that first stage. The same way you can spot talent in an amateur.

At the second stage, the detail comes in. It can throttle your intuition and leave you bloated, overwrought. You’re too aware of what you’re meant to be doing.

To my mind, that’s why the word “professional” can have a negative connotation. You account for everything but say nothing. You don’t see that raw inspiration you get in an amateur, or that definition you get in an expert.

That comes out in the third stage. You go beyond awareness and into knowledge. You know well enough what you’re doing to harness the detail and use it precisely. You can organise and refine.

And you might find your idea nestling in a few million pockets around the world.