RULES OF THUMB

MLK_190x190The importance of strategic wording
Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech on 28 August 1963 during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Today, the speech is famous because it put forward an inspiring, positive vision that carried a critique of the current moment within it. Rumours say he wanted to begin his speech with: “I have a nightmare”.


princeThe unlimited possibilities of signs and symbols
Prince changed his name into an unpronounceable symbol because he was fed up with his label Warner Bros:

“The first step I have taken towards the ultimate goal of emancipation from the chains that bind me to Warner Bros. was to change my name from Prince to the Love Symbol. The company owns the name Prince and all related music marketed under Prince. The only acceptable replacement for my name, and my identity, was the Love Symbol, a symbol with no pronunciation, that is a representation of me and what my music is about. This symbol is present in my work over the years; it is a concept that has evolved from my frustration; it is who I am. It is my name.”


Darwin_190x190(1)The power of strong beliefs and ideas
Evolution is so interwoven into the fabric of modern life that it is almost impossible to imagine the world without it. Darwin had many opponents…His fellow scientific colleagues, the church… But he persevered! When writing On the Origin of Species, Darwin carefully laid out the arguments against his theory. He stated the opposing view with care and then answered the arguments not with sarcasm, but with evidence. It would be almost a century before the majority of biologists accepted natural selection as the driving force of evolution, but Darwin had persistently devoted his life to theories that would change the world.


The necessity of timely innovation
Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973)

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe appeal of authenticity
Haruki Murakami is one of the world’s best selling authors. He meets with quite some critique in his home country Japan as his many references to Western culture—Le Figaro, Duran Duran, spaghetti—make older Japanese readers uneasy. Murakami is an elusive man. Apparently, he has taken up writing after attending a baseball match in 1978 where “all of a sudden I got the idea I could write: that simple.” Interviewers hunt him down in vain. He has no Facebook account, not even a personal website. There’s only a link to his editor’s web pages: http://www.randomhouse.com/features/murakami/site.php He refuses to have his debut novels translated (despite their tremendous success in Japan), as he thinks they are “not good enough”. The power of authenticity… or a clever marketing trick? We think he just wants us to read his books.


peersThe power of peers: the strategy of choosing your peers very well
Traditionally, peers and peer groups share the same social status, religion, cultural background or profession. Classical examples are scientific researchers who share their interest in a specific scientific discipline, and cultural subgroups like straight edge and cyberpunk who share a specific code of behaviour. Today, a new type of peer groups emerges as such groups can now be very diverse, with people having nothing more in common than their “state of mind”. These groups can be very powerful mechanisms to bring about social, economic and cultural change, as is demonstrated by the growing success of the sharing economy (peer-to-peer banking, co-working, car-sharing…) and the current shift towards solidarity actions, local experiments and ad hoc actions in support of a project or a just cause instead of the traditional forms of trade union or political activism. Those are the peers of the future.