Category

CREATIVITY

Category

Your category.

The segment within which your business trades.

Or the segment within which your employer trades.

How are you taking your category forward?

How are you progressing it?

How are you changing your entire category for the better?

What is it you’re doing that makes the rest of the category sit up and listen?

What are you doing that makes the rest of the category feel like they have to ‘keep an eye on you’?

Impressed by your foresight and your endeavour.

My Brands.

For the avoidance of doubt.

Here are examples of categories.

My categories.

Always Wear Red is in an existing category called Premium Hand Knitted Jumpers.

ANGELFYSH is in an existing category called Brand Communications.

50odd is in an existing category called Personal Blogging.

(I state ‘existing’ because categories can be created. 

But you need an entirely different approach to, well, virtually everything if you create a category.

That’s another story).

Pioneering.

There is a reason that I am asking you about how you are taking your category forward.

It is because someone or maybe a few people will be being pioneering in your category.

Right now.

I say a few people because categories can be progressed in several ways at the same time.

More than just one person in a category can be hungry to change the category.

And I was just wondering whether one of those people was you?

And how you articulate, and work to deliver on, the change that you want to make?

Take It Forward. 

I am taking the Premium Hand Knit Jumper category forward by changing the relationship people have with the clothing they buy and wear.

I am taking the Brand Communications category forward by behaving like an un-agency. I am doing the opposite of what most agencies do. Flushing out bad and outdated practices where the client loses.

I am taking the Personal Blogging category forward by leading by example. Blogging to as high a standard as I can. Every single day. Telling my story. So others are encouraged to tell their story too.

Passion Plus. 

When you know how you are taking your category forward.

It feels like ‘passion-plus’.

It feels like a moral responsibility.

You look people in the eye when you articulate the change you’re trying to make.

And they are interested.

Because you are interesting.

You stand square-on as you talk to them.

You gesticulate.

Your eyes widen as you speak.

And you are consistent.

You are laser-like with your language.

You are bullet proof with your reasoning.

Because your planning is thorough.

And considered.

And professional.

And smart.

And complete.

Because you care.

Because the change you care about making matters to you.

And it matters to them.

Care.

So.

Your category.

Which category are you in, first of all?

And how are you taking it forward?

Over to you.

Forrest Gump said he started running,

…for no particular reason.

And that’s good enough for me.

Reasons.

A new ‘why’ does appear later in the film, actually.

When Tom Hank’s lovely character says,

You need to put the past behind you before you can move on.

That’s neater I suppose.

The idea that Forrest started to run because his mum had just died.

Or because Jenny had just left.

And as a consequence he was looking to put distance between then and now.

Nevertheless.

I prefer the first reason.

…for no particular reason.

Justification. 

Justification for decisions you make.

Sentences you feel you have to muster.

Sentences to quieten the frowners.

They are not necessary.

Honestly.

They aren’t.

For so many things in life.

There is no need for justification.

50odd.co.uk

You are reading this because I decided to write it.

I decided to write one story.

Every day.

For 10 years.

So I’m a bit like Forrest, I suppose.

Only he ran.

And I write.

A Thing.

And so here’s a final note about doing a thing.

Any thing.

And your reasons for doing a thing.

Basically, some people will understand the reasons why you’re doing a thing in a heartbeat.

And some people will never, ever understand the reasons why you’re doing a thing.

But the most important thing to remember about peoples understanding or misunderstanding of your reasons for doing a thing.

Is that neither opinion matters, really.

Because such reasons are personal.

Because you’re doing it for you.

People don’t look.

They don’t look freely, I mean.

And they don’t talk.

They don’t talk freely I mean.

And it’s a bloody shame.

Looking & Talking. 

People don’t look freely because they’re not interested enough.

Or imaginative and hungry enough.

Or wide-eyed and adventurous enough.

And people don’t talk freely enough because they are worried what people will say about what they say.

They are worried about being judged.

Or laughed at.

Or being ridiculed.

And that’s so restricting!

You. 

By the way.

Unfortunately.

I am probably talking about you.

Because you probably don’t look freely.

And you probably don’t talk freely.

And you should.

Just like Freddy Anzures.

He looks freely.

And talks freely.

Toilet.

Freddy looked freely when he went to the toilet on an aeroplane.

And he talked freely about what he saw there when he got back to work.

At Apple HQ.

And because he looked freely and talked freely.

What Freddy saw in that toilet is now in the pockets of about 1.4 billion people.

iPhone.

A work problem that Freddy had to solve was how to lock the iPhone.

In such a way that the phone wouldn’t trigger accidentally.

He saw the answer in the toilet.

Click here so you can see it too: https://www.50odd.co.uk/looking-talking/

It is as much a surprise to me.

As it may be to you.

When I hear back a podcast I’ve done.

Because I can rarely remember what I’ve said.

Zest.

Anyhow.

If you want to listen to me chat on for 27 minutes.

In October 2019.

To a bright young thing called Ashleigh King.

On a podcast called ‘Nurture Your Zest’.

Please pop here:

https://www.spreaker.com/user/nurtureyourzest/michaelowen?utm_medium=widget&utm_source=user%3A11583462&utm_term=episode_title.

And if you want to hear anyone else in the series.

Please pop here:

https://widget.spreaker.com/player?show_id=4077194&theme=light&cover_image_url=https%3A%2F%2Fd3wo5wojvuv7l.cloudfront.net%2Fimages.spreaker.com%2Foriginal%2Fbd00a10c6135477c0ffb2845dbc6f555.jpg&playlist=true

Here’s what you can expect from me:

Join your host Ashleigh King as she chats with Michael Owen, multi-talented creative, business owner of ANGELFYSH, Always Wear Red, and and writer of the 50odd daily blog.

You’ll discover:

  • How he finds the inspiration to blog every day.
  • How he pushes past fear.
  • Nurturing creativity and the meaning of true creativity.
  • Imposter syndrome and why you really ARE good enough.
  • His simple sum for proving why you DO matter.
    Celebrating and embracing your differences.

Thank you.

Aaron Sorkin is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and playwright.

He worked on A Few Good Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, TV’s The West Wing and the films A Few Good Men, The American President, and Steve Jobs.

He also won an Academy award for writing The Social Network.

And a perhaps less well known fact about Aaron Sorkin.

Is that he showers up to 8 times a day.

Showers.

It’s weirder than you think.

Aaron has actually installed a small shower unit in his office.

Because he thinks better in the shower.

I take six to eight showers a day.

I’m not a germaphobe, it’s not like that.

I find them incredibly refreshing and when writing isn’t going well, it’s a do over… I will shower, change into new clothes and start again.”

Weird.

There.

Told you.

Weird!

Not Weird.

Not like you, of course.

You’re not weird.

You’re much more sensible.

Because whilst Aaron is showering and rejuvenating.

And getting ready to go again.

You’re sat frowning at your laptop.

The creative hill you’re climbing steepening by the second.

The creative fog you’re trying to see through becoming thicker by the second.

The eyelids that must sit high on your eyeballs becoming heavier by the second.

And the coffee you’re pouring down your neck becoming less impactful by the second.

And all of this.

As you struggle.

And groan.

And grind.

To a halt.

The Future of Work.

Pause.

When you can.

Pause.

Because the future of work.

Is doing more.

By doing less.

The future of work is doing deeper, richer work.

The future of work is having longer, more frequent breaks.

Breaks where you can think.

And recharge.

And refresh.

And this doesn’t mean pausing and staring into your bloody phone.

This means pausing and closing your eyes.

Or walking around.

And looking around.

Or, of course, it could mean showering.

Pause.

Pause.

It’s good for you.

The average office worker in the UK.

Spends 16 hours per week in meetings.

Meetings.

Some meetings are necessary.

Most meetings aren’t.

Some meetings do need to last as long as they do.

Most meetings don’t.

In some meetings, everyone that’s there needs to be there.

In most meetings, they don’t.

In some meetings, every single person is paying attention to every single thing.

In most meetings, they’re not.

Try this.

So try this.

Halve all meetings.

Number.

Frequency.

Number of people at the meeting.

Agendas.

And with a little thought and planning.

I bet you get the same benefits.

And at least 8 hours back.

Per person.

Per week.

One Meeting.

Have a meeting about it.

Just one, mind.

Then act in it.

And it might be the best meeting you ever had.

You don’t have to be a filmmaker to make a film.

You don’t have to be a singer to sing.

You don’t have to be an artist to make art.

You don’t have to be an illustrator to illustrate.

You don’t have to be a website designer and builder to design and build a website.

Adventure.

Life is an adventure.

A short adventure, unfortunately.

So if you want to do something.

Bloody well do it.

Don’t wait for the label you think you need.

Standards. 

There are, of course, standards.

But set your own.

Then work hard to understand what’s required so you can match or exceed them.

And sprinkle creativity and imagination on top.

You’ll be fine.

Proof.

If you want proof that this is true.

So that you actually do get off your backside.

Here it is.

The world contains a lot of (what some people would describe as) crap films, crap songs, crap art, crap illustrations, crap websites and more.

Many of which were created by people with the label of filmmaker, singer, artist, illustrator, web designer or something else.

Opinions.

So don’t wait for the label you think you need.

Block out opinion.

All except your own.

Be confident.

Be yourself.

Have fun.

And off you go.

‘Special Projects’ is a London based design and invention consultancy.

It was founded by Industrial Designer, Clara Gaggero Westaway.

And Experience Designer (and magician) Adrian Westaway.

I met Clara at TEDx Newcastle this month.

Unboxing.

Clara showcased a 9 year old project.

(The age of the project is significant).

And how she and her team tackled a problem that older Samsung customers had.

With the unboxing of Samsung phones.

Backstory.

The backstory with the unboxing.

Specifically in the context off the customer’s age.

Is this.

Younger.

Younger customers tear open boxes.

Throw packaging to their right.

Throw instruction manuals to their left.

Frantically press buttons.

Slide fingers over screens.

And away they go.

Their ‘unboxing experience’ manifests as a slight dip in happiness.

But they get there in the end.

Older.

Older customers unbox slowly.

They lay things out.

They begin to thumb through the manual.

From page 1.

To page whatever.

And their ‘unboxing experience’ plummets.

They hate it!

And this is the issue that the Special Projects team were asked to address.

Oldschool. 

The proposed ‘concept solution’ to this problem was really lovely.

And there are three lessons for businesses.

Firstly, know your customers.

And more specifically, know your different kinds of customers.

And be special for all of them.

Secondly, sometimes.

To achieve more.

You must do less.

Or to move forwards.

You must think backwards.

And thirdly, here is a great quote from Clara:

In every moment of frustration there is a fuzzy moment waiting to be freed.

Clara is right.

This 150 seconds explains all: https://www.50odd.co.uk/oldschool/.