Book Review: Contagious

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How To Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age…by Jonah Berger (Stanford MBA Alumni and Wharton Professor)

Over the last 3 days, I read ‘Contagious’ – at 210 pages, it’s a quick and enjoyable read filled with great examples and easy to understand language. Berger focuses on his research on defining the six qualities of how products, services, and ideas spread through the human population. You can make content contagious by following these STEPPS:

S – Social Currency – people share to make themselves look cool.

T – Triggers – people share things that are top of mind and tip of tongue.

E – Emotion – not positive versus negative emotions, but the key is high arousal.

P – Public – if you can’t see it, you can’t share it.

P – Practical Value – Useful news.

S- Stories – like the Trojan Horse, wrap your product or service into a narrative.

It’s a great book for anyone in marketing, product, or business. I’d say a 3.7/5 read. And he mentions some pretty great YouTube videos (like the Parisian Love one I posted about) or this one about corn:

Now, I’m going to start a Bulgarian comedy called ‘ожених се за веганка’ (I married a vegan). And I’m going to read the book in a lovely coffee shop in Sofia called Chucky’s Coffee & Culture.

чао за сега!

The Innovator Theorist: Clayton M. Christensen

In case you haven’t read The Innovator’s Dilemma, here’s a four-minute video version with the key themes:

I am hugely inspired by Clayton M. Christensen’s work – especially around disruptive innovation. His thinking has influenced some of the biggest managers and leaders in modern business by making his idea frameworks applicable for all sectors. He teaches you how to think, not what to think. I also love the fact that Clayton focuses on innovation rather than entrepreneurship. The start-up culture currently dominates the media press and the market growth theories; however, large organisations that pursue ‘disruptive innovation’ alongside ‘sustaining innovations’ should also be praised and examined.

Plus, here’s one of his TED talks based on his book, How Will You Measure Your Life? 

Plus, I encourage you to check out his website. 

The Lean Start-up

So I recently read The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries.

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To caveat the ‘fail faster, learn faster’ mentality though – individuals should only start companies if they truly believe these businesses can create value for consumers and profitability for investors. Although there is a lot of seed money and angel investors at the moment looking to take advantage of the thriving start-up scene and promise of ‘unicorns’, I would remind people that most new businesses still fail or grow to a marginal level – therefore not returning on the initial investment.  ‘Doing A Start-up’ seems to have become an ambition or goal with the same emphasis and occurrence as ‘running a marathon’ or ‘living/studying in a foreign country’. However, owning your own business is not a tick-box off necessary millennial life experiences. It’s a lifestyle, career choice, and full commitment. So yes, Build, Measure, and Learn faster. But also be persistent, committed, and faithful to your start-up. If you plan on giving up easily, it wasn’t a business worth starting in the first place.

Eric also has a blog: http://www.startuplessonslearned.com 

 

The Tipping Point – of my love for Malcolm Gladwell

While doing some research on the diffusion of innovation for an upcoming talk – I refreshed my memory on the ideas in Gladwell’s book ‘The Tipping Point.’ 

If you haven’t read it… I would definitely recommend it, along with Blink and Outliers from Gladwell. (This is my second time telling you this – so hopefully increased frequency will get my point across).

“The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.” – Blink

Success is the result of what sociologists like to call “accumulative advantage.” – Outliers

“That is the paradox of the epidemic: that in order to create one contagious movement, you often have to create many small movements first.” -Tipping Point

“When it comes to interpreting other people’s behavior, human beings invariably make the mistake of overestimating the importance of fundamental character traits and underestimating the importance of the situation and context.” -Tipping Point

 

Pukka Detox Tea, Chill Music, and a Sketchbook are the ideal Saturday night.

Desk **Quick observation sketch of what my desk looked like at 21:46 last night.  On a side note, my website was having difficulty with the gallery portion. Luckily, my magical IT guy (cough cough my dad) was able to fix it! So although it hasn’t been updated with new artwork… at least the old stuff is still available to view. My personal favourite is the figure drawings and oil paintings. I miss life drawing and hope to pick it up again this semester. The University of London Union do classes on Wednesdays from 18:30 to 21:30, so I’m going to motivate myself to go after work! Until then… here’s the current stuff: Figure Drawings.  And some Oil Paintings while we’re at it!

In search of creativity… where is it found? #art #sketchbook #artwork #notes #creative

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Here are some of my artistic beliefs:

1. Creating rules, limitations, or specific projects can spark creative genius.

2. Fine art is not the only type of “ART.” A sketchbook should also contain notes, shopping lists, observations, and current worries.

3. An artist does not have ‘talent’ but the courage to try and the willingness to learn.

4. Art is a continual practice. And yes, you can lose it.

5. Create art for yourself, but aim to inspire others by boldly sharing your ideas and work.

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I have recently started a new blog. It will probably fail… but that’s not going to stop me from trying. In fact, I promise to dye my hair bright pink if I ever reach over 1,000 Twitter followers or 1,000 Facebook likes. [Not sure it would be easy with my dark brown lion’s mane…] But there it is. I said it.

So…. start liking, commenting, following, and retweeting. My hope is that my Naïsbook Project will inspire you to be more creative and call yourself an ‘artist.’ You can read about the purpose and name of the project HERE. Or like my Facebook page solely because you want one more pink haired person in this world, I would be alright with that as well.

WordPress: Naisbook Project

Facebook: Naïsbook Project

Twitter: @naisbookproject

Instagram: naisbookproject

Short Film: Naïsbook

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WaterMelons, WaterColours, WaterMornings

Watermelon Sketch

 

7: 04 AM (Drinking green tea and enjoying pumpernickel bread with peanut butter & banana)

1. For me, the presence of watermelon slices immediately signals ‘summer’ and ‘outdoor parties.’ The watermelon triangles are a staple of any successful pool party or backyard barbecue.

2. Will children in 100 years know that watermelons once did not have seeds? Or will every sort be ‘seedless’? We now have seedless grapes, seedless watermelons, and even the plumcot (a complex hybrid between apricots and plums). Food is becoming ever more convenient, but moving further away from the dietary regime of our ancestors. As Michael Pollan writes in his book Food Rules“Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognise as food.”

3. Баба Вани винаги казба.. “Не яш диня преди да лягаш за сьн.” Translation from Bulgarian to English: ‘ My grandmother always yells at me to NOT eat watermelon before bed. Out of all her rules, this one might be my least favourite. I mean, who doesn’t have watermelon cravings at 10 PM? I can’t be the only one enticed by the red and green candy that is watermelon.

Let’s make Tuesdays “Life Drawing Day”? (Plus, add a yoga class.)

Sketch

This is a quick snapshot of two pages from my sketchbook: one page includes 5 min poses with pen and the other 3 min poses with markers. It’s been about 3 years since I have seriously and consistently practiced life drawing…. And boy, does it show in my art! Many people assume that drawing skills are rooted in talent (therefore unrelated to practice). That could not be further from the truth… ART IS PRACTICE. ART IS TECHNIQUE. ART IS CONSISTENT CREATIVITY.

Speaking of practice, these poses were inspired by the recent yoga classes I have been attending. Yoga is consistently referred to as an individual ‘practice.’ Sometimes, the classes can have a religious feel with the ‘namasté’ pray at the end (but rest assured it’s more mental and physical exercise than spiritual). Today, our teacher kept referring to the neck as “an extension of the spine,” which reminded me of the principles behind gesture poses in life drawing classes. (Gesture poses are more about capturing the energy of the pose than the actual proportions and details.) Yoga teachers also love to say “Check in with your body today… Listen to your body.” In much the same way, figure drawing is about checking in with the model’s posture, attitude, pain, physique, and form for THAT MOMENT. Too many people draw what they think they see rather than what they ACTUALLY see. Both yoga and figure drawing requires checking in with the body constantly to re-alight the physical level. After the power vinyasa class, I was extremely motivated to sketch… Plus, my sister is just SO photographic (aka draw-able).

Today, I set my intension for my yoga practice and life drawing practice … “Stay consistent in order to improve technique and creative flow.”

A little bit of fresh perspective to initiate a paradigm shift in thinking.

A little bit of fresh perspective to initiate a paradigm shift in thinking.

P.S. I’m re-reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. It’s all about the difference between the character and personality paradigms. It really is an amazing book and worth a read!

P.S. #2 Douglas Adams wrote The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (in case the quote didn’t give it away). That book is ALSO worth a read. Make a nice cup of tea, grab your blanket and enjoy the words on the page (hardcopy or Kindle or audiobook…. JUST READ IT.)