Marketing in a crisis

In extraordinary times, extraordinary measures force a change in the rules of the game. We saw the “three pillars” of society — the state, markets, and communities — work together to tackle the coronavirus, and it made me wonder how much more they could tackle if they worked together more often.

Work as religious experience

Many organizations aim to make the world a better place, to motivate employees, to create purpose. In many ways, these are spiritual questions, theological inquiries that business leaders struggle to define. What is purpose? What motivates people, and why? What is the “better place” for which we’re striving? They don’t teach you that in business school.

A note on narrative economics

Thanks to the Fed increasing interest rates this year, Americans are buying more homes. Housing starts, the figure economists use to track home building, fell 14.4% from April to May. At least one economist is worried.

Automating our jobs away

Well, contrary to my own estimates, robots are in fact pretty good with language. Unfortunately for me, an artificial intelligence program at JPMorgan Chase has created marketing copy that outperformed human copywriters.

Resting: The new productivity

In the shadow of work is rest. While we were created to work, we were also created to rest. The problem is that American culture isn’t very good at it. That’s because, as The Atlantic pointed out a few years ago, being busy is a status symbol.

Qualify, not just quantify

One of the things I love most about business is how tangible the world becomes. “What’s your budget for the project? What’s the timeline? What are our next steps?” Breaking down your tasks into the simplest components, quantifying the next steps, and creating clear paths forward — that’s the way to make the world a better place.