Five Links #049
Woodstock for Bionic, Groupthinkin’ Men; Ice Cold Questions
Woodstock for capitalists ..
Mostly just linking to this one so that I don’t have to keep searching for it. I’m about 2 hours through and don’t get the chance to watch 5 hours of YouTube in any one sitting these days.
I do share others’ views however that this year’s meeting was a bit off. Old Mates Buffett and Charlie have earned their twilight though, and there’s still a few nuggets to be found.
Bionic [reading] Man ..
I’ve not been able to test the product but I love the idea of this ‘bionic reading’ (not sure about the name).
Groupthink by any other name ..
This might shock those that know me in person - but I’m not much of a fashionista.
That being said I loved this article on the history of ‘business casual’ in the workplace.
What came before business casual? Basically, people wore suits. The norm was starched collars, overcoats, hats, and more hats. Americans dressed up for work, and they also dressed up for restaurants, for travel, for the movies. But as those other venues began to “casualize” by the 1950s, the office (and church) retained a formal dress code, by comparison. Well into the 1970s, companies gave employees manuals to outline official dress policies, but everything depended on the management’s need or desire to enforce them. Little by little, often-ignored infractions eroded the sanctity of any top-down policy: hose-free legs when the weather permitted, a tweed blazer for a day with no client meetings, loafers instead of dress shoes. Cultural change occurs most quickly when it is led by the people, for the people.
The slow-but-steady adoption of business casual through the 1990s and early 2000s demonstrates the piecemeal way that cultural change actually develops. West Coast employers adopted business casual more quickly than East Coast employers. Industries that required long hours at computers and those that did not value formality as part of their public image grew more casual more quickly. Salaried office staff in the auto industry, for example, warmed quickly to the idea. An industry publication noted in 1995 that “business casual also has become a popular way for companies to reflect their changing workplace,” which as one engineer explained, emphasized “the best business practices as opposed to traditional practices.”
There’s always a pushback as dress standards change. Many today might be tempted to watch an episode of Mad Men and think, “Why don’t people dress that nicely anymore?” But clothing standards are born of their time and place. What people wear is dynamic, but not capricious. So anyone who frowns upon the hoodie-wearing coworker one cubicle over would be well advised not to judge. If history is any indication, that’s what everyone will be coming to work in soon enough.
The Second Minute is a Courtesy ..
In addition to not being the fashionista you might have pictured me to be, also I haven’t seen The Devil Wears Prada. So I didn’t think I was going to get much from this article on Anna Wintour. But I loved it. What a Lord.
Does whatever she wants in a world that’s now all about wrapping each other in the same bland bubble-wrap.
Nobody is too high and mighty to be cut down. She frequently killed shoots no matter how much it cost and whose ego it bruised. She got rid of one of the magazine’s star photographers, Richard Avedon, on the grounds that his covers were all the same and stopped featuring Giorgio Armani on her pages because she thought he was passé, despite his standing as one of the magazine’s biggest advertisers. “If you get frozen by her, that’s it,” said Lisa Love, Vogue’s longtime West Coast editor. “She’s a Scorpio, you’re done. It’s that cold.”
(via Trevor McKendrick)
If you look over the now 49 issues of Five Links, you will see I’m often drawn to these ‘how to ask better questions’ articles. I find the quality of a person’s questions often says much more about them than any of their answers. And so I’d love to have a portfolio of great questions up my sleeve to whip out at a moment’s notice; both to avoid meaningless small talk scenarios but also to get straight to the heart of things.
For me though this tweet isn’t just about giving you pre-prepared questions. It’s also about identifying the people you look up to (you may not even realise you look up to them) and finding ways to both let them know you look up to them but also squeezing as much from them while they’re around.
Thank you to the hundreds (read: one) of subscribers that reached out to check whether I’m ok after this newsletter didn’t go out last week. I am indeed ok, it’s just been a big week. Hope no-one was too distraught to wait an extra few hours.