Where does your brand fit?

This seven-story, 180,000-square-foot building, also called the “Basket Building,” designed for the Longaberger company in Newark, Ohio, is considered one of the, if not the ugliest building in the world. Is it also unlovable? Photo: The Architect’s Newspaper

Beauty and love — the relationship between the two has been the cause of much passionate philosophical debate (and even war).

Urbanism professor Michael Benedikt created a 2 x 2 matrix illustrating the continuum from “lovable beauty” to “unlovable beauty,” and from “lovable ugliness” to “unlovable ugliness.”

What are their cultural implications for business?

Photo: Archives Yves Klein

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are the latest craze of the crypto economy — but unlike previous hypes, e.g. Bitcoin, they appear to be moving into the mainstream much faster.

They are exciting, game-changing, empowering. They are the latest example of group-think, the new bragging rights of the wealthy.

They finally give creators and artists the chance to reap the fair financial benefits from their work. They are a new asset class virtually incomprehensible for the non-digerati-non-financerati, further widening social inequality.

They will help us find new ways of value creation that might make our economies more sustainable. …

Social audio takes us back to an exciting future.

Photo by Hayes Potter on Unsplash

“I can’t wait to hear from you” is the ultimate compliment.

That’s why I was intrigued when Casper ter Kuile, author of The Power of Rituals, recently reached out to me. Seeking some feedback on a new initiative of his, he sent me a voice memo, and asked me to share my response as a voice memo as well. I recorded it, without much prep, just blurting out my thoughts, and sent it to him. He responded with another voice memo, and I was surprised by how easily and yet thoughtfully our asynchronous exchange transpired. …

Friendship may be the only retreat from the all-encompassing market society.

Photo by Mathieu Stern on Unsplash

What is the deal you and I have?

It’s a slightly uncomfortable question to ask, especially for me. Deals and I don’t make for good bedfellows. I’m a self-proclaimed romantic and can’t think of a more obvious counterpoint to my worldview than the cut-and-dried, matter-of-fact nature of deals.

Transaction versus transcendence is never a win-win.

But this year is the year of “Concrete Love” at the House of Beautiful Business, culminating in our virtual, global, and local festival from October 28 — November 1. Making our love concrete means stepping into the belly of the beast.

Deals are the arteries…

Paying attention is a start, regenerating attention is the end.

Photo by Kaci Kellman on Unsplash

Can I please have 5 minutes of your undivided attention?

Attention is the currency of love — and of the digital economy. Both intersect (in fact, collide) at the very moment when the primary challenge for anyone in a relationship is to be more compelling than the partner’s smartphone, as the writer Alain de Botton once put it.

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity,” the French philosopher and activist Simone Weil said.

And yet, attention is a zero-sum game. The attention we’re paying here, we are not paying there. It’s a spotlight that illuminates some things, while…

It is time to re-think — and re-feel — the king’s discipline of business.

Photo by Julien DI MAJO on Unsplash

If I’m honest, I make most decisions with my gut, and then I come up with a strategy to post-rationalize them. So I can wholeheartedly relate to what the entrepreneur and writer Luke Burgis says: “Show me your strategy, and I will show you your desire.”

Burgis is the author of the upcoming book Wanting that explores how the concept of “mimetic desire” applies to business. Mimetic desire suggests that humans are imitative beings and essentially desire what they see other people desire. …

Turns out, people behave (and feel) like people

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

A few years ago, I went to my barber shop in San Francisco’s Noe Valley, and as my barber, Arvin, cut my hair I observed his colleague, Jane, who was serving a customer, an elderly woman. When she was done with the haircut and after the woman had paid, Jane took her and her customer’s coats and they left the shop together. I asked Arvin: “Where are they going?” Arvin said: “Oh…she’s been a customer of hers for more than 40 years. She’s 85 now, so Jane drives her home after the appointment. …

The future workplace won’t be hybrid. Liquid is more like it.

Photo by Free To Use Sounds

Conferences may be dead, but the panel discussion is alive and kicking — on Clubhouse. The much-hyped social app connects members (one still needs to be invited to join) via audio-only conversation rooms where they can either host, contribute to, or simply listen to a conversation. What started last year as an exclusive forum for Silicon Valley types and celebrities, predominantly from the creative industries, is now going mainstream (the app apparently had its highest download day this past week). Clubhouse has loosened its strict door policy, and is flooded by everyone who knows someone.

Conversations on Clubhouse still revolve…

A conversation with the conductor and page turner Kelly Lovelady

Artists have suffered tremendously from the pandemic. Many have lost their income and realized that the safety net protecting them is even more fragile than they had feared. Add to this the underlying socio-economic challenges that the cultural critic William Deresiewicz aptly depicts in his recent book, The Death of the Artist: How Creators Are Struggling to Survive in the Age of Billionaires and Big Tech. At first glance, the democratization of the arts through digital technology might let you conclude that “There’s never been a better time to be an artist.” Many artists, however, feel differently: There’s never been…

Twitter and Facebook suspended Trump’s accounts. It’s the right thing to do, albeit more than four years too late, and yet still truly disturbing.

Wikipedia CEO Katherine Maher tweeted: “It must be satisfying to de-platform fascists. Even more satisfying: not platforming them in the first place.”

Indeed, when social media companies suddenly pretend to discover their conscience, like those Trump-enabling Republican leaders — from Betsy DeVos to Mitch McConnell — who are jumping ship after it has sunk, it feels like becoming a vegan after the chickens have come home to roost.

Moreover, Twitter’s and Facebook’s drastic actions are proof of the unwieldy power these companies have amassed. And as much as I welcome their using it now, it also makes me extremely uncomfortable…

Tim Leberecht

Co-founder and co-CEO of The Business Romantic Society; co-founder and co-curator of the House of Beautiful Business; author of “The Business Romantic”

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