Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Reorientation of Enough

"The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom; for we never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough." - William Blake

Are we wise yet? For the past few weeks my colleagues and i have been thinking about the idea of "enough-ness," and how it relates to the present economy and the future of culture. This idea isn't new, it's been written about by smart people before us but we have, on past projects, found this idea to resonate strongly with certain groups. They talk about "having enough." Enough money, enough space, enough stuff...people just want enough. What does that mean? I asked my dad. He said, "You can never have enough."

You can never have enough. Is that true? It's not neccessarily a bad thing, it just depends on what you're after and what you want more of. It doesn't have to be could be those touchy-feely things like fun or knowledge or love. You can never have enough time. I think a lot of people would agree with that.

But in economic terms, we ARE talking about money though for some reason i dont think people are thinking about their money. That's how we got into this mess. People dont care about their money. if they did, they would have more of it. It would be displayed in frames around their homes. Instead, there are pictures of the people they love--their children, their parents and friends and anybody else they care about. People display travel photos or art they love. People care about relationships with others and the relationship they have with themselves. They don't care about their money. It's not even fun to think about. A means to an end.

So when do people really connect "Enough" to money? Well, i think we saw an entire nation do it recently with the AIG bonuses. The president himself was outraged at the inflated bonus payments given to executives who didn't earn or deserve them. Those executives clearly had enough. It feels easier to judge the enoughness of others. It is ESPECIALLY easy to judge the enoughness of faceless corporations. Companies are big these days, and the bigger the company the less you can trust it. As they grow and diversify their offerings interests become entangled and individuals lose accountability. News stories like the AIG debacle only remind me that as a consumer I must vote with my dollar and each purchase supports a cause. Some causes have way more than enough.

But who has the time, really? I mean, who has the time to make sure each dollar spent is aligned with one's personal values? AND what are our personal values? That's the real question. Here is a suggestion: Since we are all clearly NOT spending much money these days we should, in theory, have some time on our hands. Maybe we should take a month to write down all the things that are important to each of us...then group those words and phrases...and condense them down to a few key personal values. then write them down on a piece of paper the size of a dollar bill and stick that in your wallet. Before you buy something, pull out the paper and just take a second to consider the choice you are making. Ask yourself why do i want to buy this thing, and is there a competitive product/brand that aligns with your values better?

p.s. in reality and for full disclosure, i would probably NEVER actually do this.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

How to deal with bad news:

A note from my personal buddah...

"UGh I am SICK and tired of everyone freaking out over the ecomomy. so WHAT?! 

Destroy all the wealth, i don't fucking care. Yeah, i know it affects everyday people and not so much the the wealthy high class people, and yeah, the rich may get richer and the poor may get poorer, but I say, have some fucking GUTS and DEAL with it!!! 

What the hell are people made of these days?! Are all of these past couple generations a bunch of fucking pussies? It sounds like it. Maybe Gen Z will be forced to grow some fucking balls, and we'll restore some of that american spirit we're all so fond of.

I see this economy crisis as exciting!! Let's see what happens. So, tons of people lose their jobs, now what, let's see what creative ways we can fix it. Life is a all about process. We are animals with advanced brains. we have legs that can walk and hands that can make food come out of the ground. We will band together as human beings and figure this out together, because we have to. Because it is human instinct to want to survive, and we're not just all going to drop dead just because the economy sucks. we're going to do whatever it takes, amybe a lot of bad shit will happen, maybe a lot of good, but does it matter? 

This is what is happening now, so let's all adapt to the circumstances and adjust accordingly."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Is Luxury Over?

"This whole crisis is like a big spring housecleaning — both moral and physical," Karl Lagerfeld, the designer for Chanel, said in an interview. "There is no creative evolution if you don't have dramatic moments like this. Bling is over. Red carpety covered with rhinestones is out. I call it 'the new modesty.' "

In the lap of luxury, Paris squirms

Sunday, January 11, 2009

$9,085 : The First Year Cost of a Big Screen TV

In the homes of those i visit in my research, it seems that people who are suffering most in this economy have something in common--just look in the background of the interview footage and notice the not-so-hard-to-miss KICK-ASS TELEVISION.

But nobody JUST buys a TV like that, sooner or later it evolves into an "entertainment system," and costs mount. Soon, that "great deal" that they got at best buy is eating into their home mortgage, children's college fund, and food budget.

What Are PEOPLE actually doing?

After talking to some people about money i've learned a few things about how spending habits are changing:

Saying "No" - The world is in a time of economic downfall. Because everyone is going through this together, there is an openness with shortcomings and less of a drive to "keep up appearances." It's okay to say "no" to things you don't need.

Getting away with it. - Cuts need to be made, but people still respect and want the products and services they've aspired to or used in the past. They still follow and trust Brands that speak to them, even if they're not buying they're paying attention.

Migrating - People have their favorite places to shop and usually the experience at those places are better than the nearest alternatives. As prices rise, consumers will sacrifice shopping experience for easy savings.

Reducing - People still want to experience the things they enjoy. Eliminating all indulgences is a last resort, in the meantime treats are scaled back in size and frequency.

Maximizing Benefits - Some brands of products just work better. They have a functional reason to succeed and therefore usually cost more. When saving money, people figure out how and when they can substitute cheaper products for their superior counterpart.

Procrastinating. - People will not change until they have to.

January 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Why do i say so now? because today, hours ago, i was officially touched by this economic downturn and i didnt like it. Im sure there will be more to come on this topic now that's it's gotten personal.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I thought Obama would have a cool name to say before it got played out.


Cognitive Dissonance:

Fact: Buying less is GOOD for the PLANET.
Fact: Buying less is BAD for the ECONOMY.

What does YouTube have to say about all of this?

Ways people feel about the the economic situation:




My generation thinks like this.