Last week my Daughter spent a week attending summer art camp hosted by the Dayton Art Institute. Among the many pieces she created over the course of her week, her pencil artwork of a lightning bug with a light bulb for an abdomen is my favorite. Her assignment was to mix something real with something imagined. She didn’t name it, so I have dubbed it “20-Watt Firefly.”
In honor of my 13-year-old’s artistic output, this week’s “5 things” have an arts and education focus.
Catching Epic Waves
With our mega-pixel cameras masquerading as smartphones, we are all photographers now. With the portrait wizardry of the iPhone X, it’s easy to get a bit full our photog selves and think we’re turning out stuff on par with Sam Jones.
Then you come across the artistry that’s possible when a lens and shutter are in the hands of an actual professional. In this case, it’s Rachael Talibart, and her muse is the sea. As her photos illustrate, the artistry isn’t so much in the taking of the photo as in the seeing what is there worth capturing in the first place.
Unveiling The Colour of Time
I’ve been following Brazilian artist Marina Amaral on Twitter for some time now. I forget how her work first came into my feed, but I’ll never forget the image that captured my attention and caused me to follow her. You see, her art is using digital tools like Photoshop to turn historical photos like this —
— into vividly life-like images like this:
Her attention to detail is utterly astounding, and her faithfulness to telling the stories about the people behind the images is noble. What started as a hobby combining her love of history with her talent for Photoshop has now turned into a new book. You can pre-order a copy and get yours when it comes out later this month.
McKinsey on Storytelling
When I first came across this article about how to tell powerful innovation stories that emotionally move people by Professor Julian Birkinshaw of the London Business School, I confess that my reaction wasn’t kind. I mean, a B-School professor writing under the name of corporate consulting titan McKinsey&Company about emotive storytelling? LOL, right? In fact, I happened to catch myself on video when I first clicked on the link. In a moment of public confession, I share it with you now:
Once I actually read the piece, though, I was pleasantly surprised. It is a good summation of several archetypal story narratives that serve as great vehicles to carry a company or product’s message about its place in the market. (Provided it’s true, of course.) I take issue with one thing and one thing only. This here is bad advice:
Claiming to be astute and clever like this is not something to be modeled after. Conversely, admitting the role of luck and the trail of mistakes made is not something to be avoided.
“Hello, and Welcome to Moviepass!”
There are business ideas that prove to be dumb only after the fact. Then there are business ideas like Moviepass that are so absurd on their face that everybody can see its doomed future. Everyone, that is, except the folks behind Moviepass whose spreadsheet said it should work.
Billed as the “Netflix for theaters,” Moviepass’ premise is a simple one: for a set monthly fee, you can see any movie in any theater, once a day, every day. In short, the subscriber pays Moviepass a monthly fee, and Moviepass pays the full retail cost of each and every movie ticket for the subscriber. (Sensing a problem yet?) With monthly subscription rates originally ranging from $15-$50, Moviepass worked fine for 6 years. Then, in August, 2017, a “big data” company bought Moviepass and announced a grand new strategy: a single, nationwide subscription rate of $9.95. Predictably, the subscriber count shot through the roof, going from 12,000 in August 2017, to 3 million by June 2018.
In the past week, Moviepass users have suffered a series of service outtages due to the company running out of money needed to buy tickets. The parent company — Helios & Matheson Analytics — has now taken to publicly complaining about the “exorbitant prices for theater tickets and goug[ing of] customers with overpriced concessions” by movie theaters. And now, in a sign that the last days of Moviepass are upon us, a share of Helios’ stock, which was as high as $2,285/share as recently as six months ago, could be had for one solitary dime at the close of trading yesterday. (Yes: $0.10/share.)
King James Vision
I’m no fan of the NBA, and I think I can truthfully state that I haven’t watched LeBron James play for a total of 2 minutes in my entire combined tv sports viewing life. Of course, James is the kind of mega-star that even those who pay zero attention to his sport likely know who he is and of his generational athletic talent.
What you may not know: he opened a brand new school for at-risk kids in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, and that classes started this week. When I say I “he opened,” I don’t mean he lent his image and donated his time by making a PR appearance at the opening of the school. I mean he and his foundation foot the bill to help fund the school, in partnership with the local public school district. Reading about the resources James’ foundation is providing to the teachers of the I Promise School makes the heart of this teacher’s husband swell.
Imagine being a 3rd grader in inner-city Akron suddenly getting to experience learning as if he were living in the swankest of Cleveland suburbs, and all due to the generosity of the world’s biggest sports superstar. All the feels.
And it wasn’t just the students who were wide awake unable to sleep from excitement on the night before school started.
The jitters before the first day of school are real right now!!! Tomorrow is going to be one of the greatest moments (if not the greatest) of my life when we open the #IPROMISE School. This skinny kid from Akron who missed 83 days of school in the 4th grade had big dreams… https://t.co/PwmRaHRfng
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 29, 2018