13 Things I Can Do Without In 2013
This list is a companion to yesterday’s piece, 13 things I want more of in 2013. Today’s list is like a set of anti-resolutions, things I will aim to avoid in the coming year. 1. Artisanal – I love handmade, limited edition and traditionally created foods, drinks and products. But, while the artisanal movement promotes […]
This list is a companion to yesterday’s piece, 13 things I want more of in 2013. Today’s list is like a set of anti-resolutions, things I will aim to avoid in the coming year.
1. Artisanal – I love handmade, limited edition and traditionally created foods, drinks and products. But, while the artisanal movement promotes some great values, it is too often cloaked in excessive and self-aggrandising PR. It’s time to say yes to the amazing stuff and no to the hype.
2. The New Cafe – I enjoy drinking coffee in Singapore, by which I mean drinking the local style of rich, thick and sweet brew known as Kopi. But, finding a decent Espresso, my preferred drink, is a struggle. While a new cafe seems to open every other week, none of them can manage an Espresso of real character and substance. Trips last year to Adelaide, London & Hong Kong only served to remind me what a “God Shot” really tastes like. Time to give up on the overhyped cafes and either drink Kopi, or be thankful for my Nespresso machine.
3. Photography Magazines – Almost every photographer I’ve spoken to in the past couple of years has expressed disquiet over the state of many photography magazines. Many magazines feel like light editorial copy sprinkled over relentless advertising and the illusion that more gear will get you to a place that can only really be reached by hard work and perservance.
4. Clever T-Shirts – Popularised by both hipsters and the eternal post-adolescence of today’s adults, clever t-shirts with their ironic and occasionally humorous slogans have long since stopped being edgy or smart. Geeks might still rule in some ways, but this defensive and ironic moment in geek fashiondom is over.
5. Apps – 2013 will be the year of app-backlash. I remember when the internet first took off in the 90s, we bloated our hard-drives with free & shareware games and programmes. Then things settled down & we got used to doing more with less code clogging our systems. The same thing is happening with apps on mobile devices. People are getting more ruthless about deleting what they don’t use and clarifying what they expect to do with their devices.
6. Networking – Popular with faux startups, unemployed executives and those trying to pitch second rate business to business services, networking events are massively popular here in Asia. As part of my plan for 2012 I didn’t attend any and, quite frankly, I didn’t miss them. I’m not the only one in the creative sphere who is cynical about the hype around networking events (and the networker’s social media platform of choice, LinkedIn).
7. Debates About Race – There’s a lot I like about Singapore society and I believe this country has achieved so much because of a sensitivity to racial issues. However, in the popular press and online commentariate, it has become a fashion to turn every social issue into a question of race. And, to make matters worse, many debates about “identity” around the world have become safe harbours for racist and xenophobic opinions.
8. Acoustic Guitar Slinging Singer Songwriters – I like to spend a bit of every week checking out new music from unsigned and emerging artists. I’m always finding amazing new talent, but all too often the talent is obscured by poorly shot videos, with a singer performing in their bedroom and plaintively strumming an acoustic guitar. It’s a terrible habit because it makes talented songwriters, often with good voices and decent songs all sound the same.
9. eBooks – I love the idea of eBooks, especially the notion of carrying a whole library in a mobile device, like my iPad. Except, eBooks don’t really work for me. Although the eBook reading experience is improving all the time, given the choice I would always, always prefer to read a paper book. I’m not the only one.
10. Happiness – The current obsession with happiness in popular culture is the ugly step-child of the self-help industry. It’s also a pointless obsession because humans are neither predisposed by nature nor programmed by evolution to experience happiness all the time. Of course, we would all know this already if we lifted our heads from the facile self help books and scanned the thousands of years of deep reflection on human nature by philosophers, scholars, clerics, poets and dramatists.
11. Social Media – While a growing band of people are turning their back completely on social media, the much bigger trend is social media rationalisation. It takes so much effort to maintain multiple online presences that many are cutting back on the number of services they sign up for, or stick with. Expect to see more people making either/or choices amongst the major services (like Facebook, Twitter and Google+) and dropping more of the secondary services altogether (like Instagram, Pinterest and Foursquare).
12. Catalog Luxury – What is the point of shelling out huge bucks for a “luxury” good when everyone around you can do the same? So called luxury brands have done really well over the last decade and will continue to do OK with the emerging rich, especially in Asia. But, the emerging trend will see our notion of luxury redefined towards ideas of uniqueness which may, or may not be connected to price.
13. Advocacy – Like “evangelism” and “engagement strategies”, advocacy is a borderline meaningless zombie word that has marched with unrelenting inanity over our professional horizon. Don’t advocate, which literally means to call for help. Instead actually get off your arse and help, by building real foundations for change and maintaing a long term commitment to making them work.