The correct answer is Economic, twice over. Not only does it provide half of all the top-10 trends or “undercurrents” in Jonathan Brill’s seminal book Rogue Waves, those economic trends also garner the most prominence by laying down the changing landscape (or “seascape”) that companies must navigate to protect and enrich their futures. What goes first? Changing demographics: the cost and availability of a company’s most precious resources: its personnel and its customers. Aging populations, a skilled labor shortage, and accelerating urbanization are the key emerging patterns in that case. Other trends that belong in the Economic category consist of the data economy, automation, the rise of Asia, and cheap money. The technological category encompasses the closing innovation window, and what Brill calls “remixing and convergence” (new combinations of existing technologies). Finally, the Social category addresses digital trust and new social contracts. This week’s new episode dips into several of these top-10 factors; to get to them all, buy Brill’s book!
Jonathan Brill is the former Global Futurist and Research Director for HP, a board member and advisor to the Chairman at Frost & Sullivan, and the Futurist-in-Residence at Territory Studio. Companies he’s consulted for over the years have generated over $27 billion from new revenue sources.
Disgust best describes Nadal, whose nose will often wrinkle and his upper lip flair as if the very thought of being a mediocre player smells and tastes “toxic” to him. In turn, surprise as in paying hyper-intense attention is what most defines Djokovic. Look at how wide his eyes go as he prepares to receive serve. Therefore, the answer to today’s pop quiz is that happiness best fits Federer. He glides around the court like a ballet dancer showing a subdued smile and mirth given his delight in playing the sport well. So much for the fits of anger or prolonged tears that plagued his days as a junior player. The exception: it’s when Federer receives serve, for which he ranks a mere 16th on the ATP tour these days (compared to #2 under pressure and 5th for having the greatest serve among active players).
It’s been said that tourists visit, travelers explore. A journey that has both an external and internal component means taking a hard, realistic look at the habits and characteristics of your current life and daring to imagine how you might transcend the status quo to reach a more ideal self. To do so requires “unpacking” to make room for new learnings and growth. Some journeys pose physical challenges. Others might pose challenges that are more emotional, spiritual, social or mental in nature. Everyone has a bucket list. Take your top 5 destinations and put them to this test: which best qualifies as posing the fullest challenge possible along all five dimensions for you?
Eric Rupp is a founding partner at the Transformational Travel Council, and runs an insightful naturalist guiding company. He’s a traveler, storyteller, engineer, carpenter, designer, and woodsman. After building traditional stone houses in Spain and running a small university in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Rupp currently splits his time on- and off-grid around Seattle, Washington.
When the French abolitionist Edouard de Laboulaye and designer Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi unveiled their concept for the Statute of Liberty in 1871, the monument include a broken shackle at Liberty’s feet and a chain in her left hand. By 1886, however, the tide had turned. Jim Crow—and Jane Crow—laws were being cemented into place across the South. So a new version of the statute was dedicated instead, leaving black women bereft of their rightful place in the country’s iconography. Since 1886, has there been progress? Yes, but sometimes just barely. Why did black women working as domestic servants in the South join the Great Migration north? Often to escape the risk of rape in their masters’ homes. It’s been a long road forward to commanding figures like Kamala Harris and Serena Williams, among others, leading the charge.
Kali Gross is Acting Professor of African American Studies at Emory University. Her previous books include Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso, winner of the 2017 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in nonfiction.
My interview on Cynthia Farrell’s podcast “This Is How We Lead” aired this week. Check out “Emotions & Facial Coding in Leadership” by clicking on any of these links below:
Musical tourism in Memphis was a $4 billion annual industry prior to Covid-19 and is likely to be even bigger once the pandemic subsides. Memphis has seen such troubles before. Yellow fever epidemics after the Civil War caused wealthy whites to flee in large numbers, leaving the city open for the rise of the South’s first millionaire: an African-American businessman named Robert Church. The two local heroes on which the local music tourism depends, however, consist of W. C. Handy, the father of the blues; and Elvis Presley coming along 45 years later. It was in Sam Phillips’ legendary Sun Studios on a hot July evening in 1954 that Presley recorded “It’s All Right Mama” and rock and roll took off. For a decade starting in the 1960s, Memphis became the 3rd largest center for recording music in America. No wonder Dusty Springfield came to town to record Dusty in Memphis; you had to be there!
David Less has studied Memphis music for over 40 years, including work done for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Gibson Guitar Foundation. He’s been published in Rolling Stone and DownBeat, among other places.
On May 7, 2021, Omnivore Recordings is releasing Boogie Shoes: Live on Beale Street. The CD/LP features Memphis legend Alex Chilton (The Box Tops, Big Star) backed by the Hi Rhythm Section that backed Al Green, Ike & Tina Turner and others. The liner notes come from David Less. To learn more, visit the OmnivoreRecordings.com web site.
The 2018 movie Green Book won an Academy Award for Best Picture. The real deal, however, is Taylor’s book, which involved scouting over 10,000 Green Book sites where black motorist found safe places to refuel their cars, eat and sleep while on the road. Today, under 5% are still in operation and 75% have ceased to exist since The Green Book was published (1936-1967). Some establishments were the victims of decay over time. But often there are other explanations: “urban renewal” that meant new highways plowing through black communities, laying waste to black-owned businesses; redlining bank practices; or to a lack of anti-monopoly enforcement, whereby white-owned businesses seized unfair advantages. Add in a staggering 700% rise in America’s prison population since Bill Clinton’s crime bill and the reasons why African-American commercial centers are no longer as resilient as they once were are clear.
Candacy Taylor is an award-winning author, photographer and cultural documentarian. She’s been a fellow at Harvard University under the direction of Henry Louis Gates Jr. and her projects have been funded by organizations ranging from National Geographic to The National Endowment for the Humanities. Her work has received extensive media coverage in places like the PBS Newshour and The New Yorker.
Events & Tips
Candacy Taylor was instrumental in helping the Smithsonian create the special traveling exhibit “The Negro Motorist Green Book.” First stop is the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. For the other, future stops of the exhibit, check out the Smithsonian’s web site.
A friend of mine, David Perry, has released a book Diary of a Successful Job Hunter on the App Sumo to help get the country back to work. It costs merely $1.
This week’s podcast is about a bluegrass band that bucked the odds. While the average band is lucky to last 10 years together, with 2-3 years the average, the McClain family band sustained itself for 18 years and toured 62 countries. What was the key to their group chemistry? Mutual respect, and the right ratio of positive to negative interactions. Drawing on a half-century of analyzing the characteristics of loving, stable marriages, John Gottmann and his colleagues at the Love Lab have concluded that a 5:1 ratio of positive/negative interactions is the key to a good marriage. And an in-depth study of work teams at EDS (Ross Perot’s old company) took that ratio even higher. That study found that high-performance teams had a 5.6 positive/negative ratio versus a 0.4 ratio for low-performance teams.
Paul O. Jenkins is the university librarian at Franklin Pierce University and also the author of Richard Dyer-Bennet: The Last Minstrel and Teaching the Beatles.
This episode covers a band that defies expectations. Formed in 1968, this band ran counter to the era twice over. First, they were intergenerational with their dad a key figure despite the slogan “don’t trust anybody over 30” being common then. Second, while the then two-year-old National Organization for Women (NOW) could only boast of 1,035 members across America, the McClain family band had two women playing prominent roles. The episode explores how bluegrass music varies from country music, and how musically inventive the group was. Finally, comparisons to the Beatles close out the episode.
In America, since 1900, over 100,000 coal miners have died in industrial accidents. Lately, though, Appalachia has been seeing far worse. The opioid crisis hit the region hard. Black lung, a disease that Congress tried to curb in 1969 by passing legislation meant to force coal barons to do a better job protecting the miners’ health, has increased. Pitting the miners’ pride and fear against the greed of wealthy coal barons, this is a story about a hard-pressed region struggling to stay afloat.
Chris Hamby is an investigate reporter at the New York Times. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting in 2014 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting in 2017. A native of Nashville, he lives and works in Washington, D.C.
This episode explores the experiences of a workforce, primarily male, that has long been exploited by those in power in West Virginia’s near-feudal economy. King Coal rules, and miners’ health and lives have been shortchanged in the process. Hamby documents how a few good-hearted people have fought for justice against mine owners, lawyers, and doctors only too eager to dismiss the miners’ legitimate health claims. It’s a parable that fits our era of looming economic inequality.