The Graphical Branding of Pete Buttigieg
I’m a sucker for brand guides. I love the breakdowns designers put together regarding fonts, colors, logo usage, and all of that stuff. How a brand is presented is incredibly important because it showcases how they want to be seen and how much thought has been put into the materials. For me, it means they care about presentation, look, and feel. A brand that has shoddy branding tends to make me feel it’s a shoddy product.
The branding guidelines and tookit for the Presidential run of Mayor Pete Buttigieg are anything, but shoddy. They are downright glorious.
The branding site put together by his campaign feels incredibly modern with the strongest presidential identity since Obama. The state graphics are the icing on the cake. Each is custom designed and the artist is credited.
The work is unique, eye-catching, and the whole site fits what I’ve seen so far of Buttigieg’s public persona and campaign tone.
I admit I haven’t taken a deep dive into all the candidate websites, but this one certainly deserves all the praise.
Nick Turse and Sean D. Naylor, writing for Yahoo! News, have put together a list of all the code-names of the 36 operations happening in Africa and they all sound amazing. If you are looking for cool names for your Pacific Rim Jaeger or Star Wars spaceship, you can’t go wrong with Obsidian Nomad, Echo Casemate, Jukebox Lotus, Junction Rain, Kodiak Hunter, Oaken Steel, or Odyssey Lightning.
However, my personal favorite is Objective Voice. What a great name.
Facebook and Medium
Two articles did incredible deep dives into companies that have been at the forefront of my mind for a few years: Facebook and Medium.
Laura Hazard Owen, writing for the Nieman Journalism Lab, takes a long look at the history of Medium with plenty of bumps along the timeline. Seven years of Medium is all condensed into an easy to read compilation of events good and bad. She wonders in the opening of her timeline about what the goal of Medium ultimately has been.
I (and many others) devoted what now seems like way too much mental energy to the “Is Medium a platform or a publisher?” question. Sure, Williams’ frequently shifting stated vision didn’t help, but that angst still feels ridiculously quaint in 2019.
Why spend so much time worrying about what Medium is? Maybe because we wanted to know whether it was a friend or an enemy. The answer is that it’s neither. It’s a reflection of what the media industry has worried about, and hoped for, and not received. But Medium was never something that we would get to define. Instead, it’s turned out to be an endless thought experiment into what publishing on the internet could look like. That’s not much fun for people who got burned along the way, but Medium was never exactly ours to begin with.
I sometimes think I should get back on Medium and try and earn some coffee shop money and then I remember that owning your own platform is far superior than creating a sometimes blog on a site that continues to ebb and flow with its founder’s vision.
On a smaller timeline, but just as eye-opening, Nicholas Thompson and Fred Vogelstein, writing in Wired, does their own deep dive into the last fifteen months of Facebook as it comes to grip with all the ways it tried to fix itself in 2018 and how it all turned out.
Read the whole article, but basically it didn’t go so good.
Personally, I’m at a loss why anyone stays on Facebook and yet I’m still on the platform. At some point, I’m going to have to do a major digital/social media clean and reevaluate everything.
As I’m reading Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism I’m sure I’ll find some fresh ideas on how to do just that.
Just the Beginning
Seth Abramson, writing an opinion column for Newsweek, outlines what he sees as what’s going to happen tomorrow when the redacted Mueller Report is released. It’s a good primer before the analysis of the report is everywhere by Friday. I particularly like these two paragraphs:
I’ve written two books on Trump-Russia collusion—Proof of Collusion, released at the end of 2018, and Proof of Conspiracy, forthcoming in August—and even in avoiding much discussion of Trump’s obstruction and witness tampering in these books (as these actions were already known by most, by virtue of having occurred publicly) my research swelled to nearly 1,000 pages. Because the books were written in a “government-report” style—with most sentences containing a discrete block of evidence and footnoted to one or more major-media citations—those 1,000 pages were the most condensed version of the Trump-Russia story I could tell. So the notion that Mueller was going to tell in full the tale of Trump-Russia collusion in the half of a heavily redacted 300- or 400-page summary not focused on obstruction of justice was always fanciful.
Here, then, is the reality: Mueller’s April 18 summary serves the primary purpose of passing on to the United States Congress the full archive of evidence on Trump’s fifty to a hundred acts of obstruction of justice while president, with that archive useful to Congress in determining whether impeachment proceedings are warranted. As most attorneys will tell you that just the public evidence of Trump’s obstruction of justice is sufficient to support conviction for that offense, and as obstruction of justice is an impeachable offense per the Republican Party of the Clinton era, the answer to the question of whether Mueller’s archive of evidence on obstruction is sufficient to support impeachment is an obvious “yes.”
His Twitter feed is full of this type of material.
A couple of days ago he appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher and basically made the same case. I love his take on Trump at 1:52.
The American public needs a smoking gun and I don’t think we are going to get one. Unless there is massive public outrage and a true momentum shift in Trump’s poll numbers post the Mueller Report release, I doubt Nancy Pelosi is going to start impeachment hearings because it will die in the Senate and the resulting public relations would be a benefit to Trump in 2020.
As it stands, there is no real appetite to force the issue―especially if the outcome is not favorable to Democrats. Senate Republicans will have to actively turn away from Trump. This means a real vote of no-confidence in Trump, a desire for Mike Pence to be President and on the ticket in 2020 with a resigned or impeached former President immediately indicted on charges stemming from the Michael Cohen case. It just isn’t going to happen because Republicans do not put the country first in their dealings.
However, I think it is likely the President will either be indicted or considered an un-indicted co-conspirator in some of the other cases Abramson knows to be still ongoing. It may be just the beginning of years of legal trouble for Trump, his family, and associates.
I believe, ultimately, Trump running for President and miraculously winning will be the worst thing that ever happened to him.
Patrick Rhone reminds us the best time is always now.
When is the best time to see something? Right now.
When is the best time to say something? Right now.
The time to do anything on your list you care about? Right now.
There are no guarantees.
That place, those words, that thing? All may be gone even a moment from now. Go. Say it. Do it. Right now.
Again; this is why we make travel and culture a priority in Beatrix’s life. She saw Notre Dame. Because even then, the best time to travel to Paris and see it was “now”.
Today’s shocking event is a stark reminder of this. Even those things that have stood for hundreds or thousands of years won’t be there forever. Neither will we.
Notre Dame Cathedral
I’m saddened to watch the coverage of the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.
Admittedly, I’m not big on organized religion and have never visited France or Europe. However, the cathedral is an incredible landmark of a building, historical and museum-like. While not necessarily important to me, certainly important to millions.
This isn’t a win for the non-religious. It’s a sad moment in history.
Game of Screens
M. G. Siegler, writing in his newsletter First Draught, presented an interesting idea on how HBO left millions, potentially billions, on the table with the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones.
Anyway, the first episode was great. I’m sure the other five will be as well. So it’s just a “what if”… But there’s an even more obvious, if tangential thought experiment here, one that has been percolating for months: what if HBO had just opted to open this latest season of Game of Thrones – the TV show, as is – in movie theaters?
Imagine if they ran the first episode in theaters only for the first week. Or even just opened it on a Thursday before the Sunday premiere on HBO itself. I know I would absolutely go to see it on the big screen. As would undoubtedly millions of others. Given the near feature-length of the episodes, I would even pay full price for a “regular” movie ticket. But even if HBO “only” charged $5-$10/ticket, how much money would they make? Tens of millions for sure. Hundreds of millions? Perhaps!
Just imagine if HBO had opted to open each of the six episodes of seasons 8 in this regard. Perhaps even promoted viewing parties for such events? We’re definitely talking hundreds of millions of dollars at that point. Then the question becomes: are we talking billions? Maybe not. Still, that is a lot of money for HBO to leave on the table, all for not doing much beyond some additional marketing.
It is an interesting thought experiment I’m not sure they would have made billions, but I can’t think of another piece of “television” that could work better.
Olivia Nuzzi, writing in New York Magazine, has one of the best paragraphs I’ve ever read describing Pete Buttigieg.
Sick of old people? He looks like Alex P. Keaton. Scared of young people? He looks like Alex P. Keaton. Religious? He’s a Christian. Atheist? He’s not weird about it. Wary of Washington? He’s from flyover country. Horrified by flyover country? He has degrees from Harvard and Oxford. Make the President Read Again? He learned Norwegian to read Erlend Loe. Traditional? He’s married. Woke? He’s gay. Way behind the rest of the country on that? He’s not too gay. Worried about socialism? He’s a technocratic capitalist. Worried about technocratic capitalists? He’s got a whole theory about how our system of “democratic capitalism” has to be a whole lot more “democratic.” If you squint hard enough to not see color, some people say, you can almost see Obama the inspiring professor. Oh, and he’s the son of an immigrant, a Navy vet, speaks seven foreign languages (in addition to Norwegian, Arabic, Spanish, Maltese, Dari, French, and Italian), owns two rescue dogs, and plays the goddamn piano. He’s actually terrifying. What mother wouldn’t love this guy?
This kid might be going the distance.
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
My title was so close.
Hustle Porn Narrative
Warren Ellis talking about how he works is fascinating to me.
The concern in writing about work, writing this sort of thing — and I’ve been trying to hit this note in the newsletter — is that it presents like This Is The Only Way To Do Things, Join 1000mphClub Or Die. It becomes part of the Hustle Porn narrative.
I can only do these things by cutting things off and throwing things overboard and dropping out of the world. You, reader, do not have to do it like me. There are more ways of doing art and work than there are flowers under the sun. Pick the one that works for you. Live well and make great things in the method that suits you best. You don’t have to ruin yourself trying to fit into the stated processes of idiots like me who write on the internet to break up their days.
Glad we had this talk.
I have a thing for looking at routines, set ups, applications, and more from people I admire and then wanting to imitate what they use in a vain attempt at finding a magic potion of productivity and inspiration.
It hasn’t really worked out.
For example, more than a few internet entrepreneurs have raved about the writing application Ulysses. I have a subscription. In fits and starts, I’ve attempted to start using it for my writing. Nothing has stuck.
One thing I haven’t done is basically go all in and fold all the writing I have ever done in various places and locations into Ulysses and just use it exclusively. Basically, force myself into the ecosystem so I start to see the “benefits.” I’ve been reluctant to do that.
Using the app Bear is another good example. I should want to use this incredible note keeping app, but it doesn’t spark joy (apologies Marie Kondo). The to-do app Things 3 is all the rage and I just haven’t turned the corner to start really using it.
From writing, to notes to productivity, I can’t find the right mix. I’m certainly not going to kill myself like Mr. Ellis is always on the edge of doing to himself, but I’d like to find the right set of tools and routines to make me better, more productive, more creative.
Maybe I just need to just quit looking to others as inspiration and find the methods and materials that work best and then go from there. Let the hustle come to me, so to speak. I think I’ll take the next couple of days to think on that.
© 2018-2019 Sean McDevitt