Weekly Roundup: 1 March 2015

The world keeps moving faster and faster. It’s increasingly hard to filter out the most important 'signals from the noise' with the time we have available. Below is a summary of the most interesting and relevant topics that have passed through my signal filter over the past week.

"In the new world, it is not the big fish which eats the small fish, it's the fast fish which eats the slow fish."

- Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum

This week two primary topics sparked my interest - and it wasn't just the color of a dress. Organizational Responsiveness is again a focus this week, as well as a look at some of the interesting impacts within the world of photography due to the introduction of technology. Let's get to it.

There are a huge amount of disruptive factors impacting work today, and organizations of all sizes are striving to not only cope but thrive in this environment. In an effort to create a common framework and language to allow discussion on this topic, a range of forward thinking companies and consultants have banded together to form Responsive.org.

The Responsive Organization Manifesto outlines some of the key tenants of this philosophy: Purpose over Profit, Empowering over Controlling, Emergence over Planning, Networks over Hierarchies, Adaptivity over Efficiency and Transparency over Privacy. Check out the site and join up to see how this evolves over time.

Want a quick bootcamp on making a startup? Sam Altman distills a huge amount of information and learnings into a simple step by step framework to structure your thinking. This is great for anyone looking to start a new venture, but also works for existing business leaders to check against their own efforts. 

One of the most sobering statistics in business is that nearly all the companies our grandparents admired have disappeared. From a quote from 2011, of the top 25 companies on the Fortune 500 in 1961, only six remain today.

Mark Leslie via First Round has a great article on the concept of the Arc of Company Life, and some strategies to try and prolong it. A big focus - ensuring that you are Opportunity-Driven versus Operationally-Driven, and searching for the sweet-spot of optionality.

A fairly new form of language in the tech startup world is the concept of a "Unicorn", a company valued at more than a billion dollars, or a "deca-Unicorn", with a value over $10 billion. Marc Andreessen has taken to Twitter in another tweet storm to outline a plan to help foster more of these Unicorns, and the big advantages to society as a result.

In last weeks roundup I talked about the Impact Trap, or the idea of getting stuck on a smaller peak when there are much higher peaks to be conquered. An interesting strategy put forward to help tackle this is applying Google's 70/20/10 investment process into your own life. If you spend all of your time be reactive as opposed to thinking about the long term, you could just be slowly sinking into quicksand.

Walmart just announced it was actively raising its minimum wage for workers. While some may chalk this up to a publicity stunt, analysis has shown that organizations (and especially retail ones) can benefit from greater investment in their workforces. Workers are the lifeblood of any organization, so if you focus on making them happy, you can thrive.

On to photography.

Now that smartphones are becoming ubiquitous, and we now have access to high definition cameras at all times in our pockets, we are seeing some fascinating cultural and societal shifts.

First up is the concept of Vemödalen - the frustration of photographing something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist - which can turn a unique subject into something hollow and pulpy and cheap, like a mass-produced piece of furniture you happen to have assembled yourself. 

Are we doomed to become a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy...

Like the music industry, the world of professional photography is beginning to suffer the effects of the 'boiling frog' phenomenon. Simon Moss, CEO of startup ImageBrief outlines the challenges facing photographers and delivers a rallying cry to try and stop the frog from being completely cooked.

National Parks often require permits to allow people to commercially shoot footage or take photos within their borders. Where things get really murky is how this applies to amateur photographers with big social media followings. This fascinating article from Outside magazine explores how camera ubiquity is blurring the lines between commercial, personal and editorial photography, the dangers to national parks, and the need to rethink laws and regulations.

To finish up, some fun. What is Seinfeld was the podcast Serial by Seinfeld2000.