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Authenticity is The New Bullshit

Den Howlett Profile picture for user gonzodaddy July 10, 2013
Authenticity is something many talk about but few deliver. Why? Maybe they're not concentrating on the real job - to suck less. That's the subtext of Hugh MacLeod's latest book. It will suck about 90 minutes out of your life that you won't get back. It might change your life in the process. The choice is yours.

authenticity is the new bullshit
Why is it OK to say or write BS but not to say what it really means? Bullshit. I guess that's what they call political correctness. I call it hypocrisy. Just like how Rupert Murdoch seems to have gotten caught out.

Be that as it may, Authenticity is The New Bullshit is the latest title in Hugh MacLeod's portfolio.  It is a MUST READ for anyone thinking about the digital enterprise. The subtext is 'how not to suck.' I like that idea. It fits perfectly with what we are attempting - sucking less.

If you've not read MacLeod's stuff before it can, at first sight, seem like a stroll down some off beat philosophical rabbit hole. If however you read with an open mind, then it quickly becomes apparent that MacLeod is spinning real truths. The only way you will know that is if, as you read, you sense an internal warmth and quiet agreement. Of course it's not all like that. Try this out:

You don’t get successful because some enlightened being told you how. You get successful because somehow circumstances forced you to ACTUALLY put your balls on the line. And this has always been the case.

There's a few of those but the one I like best is this. It is a paraphrase from a conversation between Tom Peters and Horst Brandstätter, the owner and CEO of Playmobil, the German toy company.

TOM: Hmmm… These Playmobil toys of yours… they do amazingly well, all over the world. So what’s their secret? What do they do that’s so interesting?
HORST: It’s not what the toy does that’s interesting. It’s what the child does with the toy that’s interesting.

As MacLeod says: these exchanges provide the opportunity to grasp moments of clarity. It got me thinking.

We are surrounded by technology. Each day there seems to be some shiny new thing to play with. But how many vendors think about the 'what they do' aspect? Too often I sense many vendors are continuing to force predictable behaviors instead of letting users show them where to go.

That is one (of many) explanations why so much enterprise software sucks. It (sort of) explains why was able to come in under the radar and build a formidable, global presence. It explains why some of the largest vendors struggle so much with figuring out responses to the new kids on the block.

What do you think?  should the subtext of whatever we're doing be 'to suck less?' Let me know in comments.

Update: this from Gary Turner: Real just got shit

PS - if you're reading this and in the advertising world then I strongly recommend starting at page 96.

Disclosure: I own a lot of Hugh MacLeod's art. It inspires.

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