If you’ve been with us from the start, this week marks the one-year anniversary of our weekly digest of customer experience, organizational theory and brand thinking, which we had dubbed ‘The Socialist Reader’.

Today, we’ve relaunched it as ‘Dark Matter’ — a nod to the intertia, politics, bureaucracy and chaos that stifles organizational change and creativity, as described by designer and author Dan Hill.

We promise the same great content, culled from the same far-flung sources, delivered weekly. As always, if you enjoy it, please pass it along to someone else.


If you pay attention to nothing else:
Norwegian strategist and writer Helge Tennø had a great, brief post this week on three key sources of research error in a customer-centric marketplace, worth reading, printing and hanging over one’s design-thinking supplies.

In short, Tennø argues that we frequently construct research to avoid Rumsfeld-ian unknown unknowns, that we frequently focus on users relationships to us at the cost of understanding their lives and routines, and that it too frequently assumes that the first question posed is the right one. Read it, bookmark it, but do get to it.


It’s not often that you trip across cultural metatrends in the comings and goings section of the ad trades, but a transition in the upper offices of Coca-Cola is noteworthy because “Coke is a 20th century success story that will find it difficult to survive the 21st century.” That’s a particularly intriguing thought.

Dark Matter favorite John Willshire had a great post this week on a question raised (peripherally) by Thomas Piketty in his runaway global bestseller Capital in the 21st Century, namely: Is the best way to grow attention to have lots of attention in the first place?

Free-market types can raise their blood pressure with this piece from Bloomberg on the manner in which the Chinese government has set up Alibaba for success.

Wait…what is this Alibaba of which we speak? Allow wsj.com to explain.

If you somehow missed the Japanese game show footage of 50 fencing novices attacking 3 Olympic fencing masters this week, the brilliant Marginal Revolution blog posted it framed as a classic economic Free Rider Problem. Be sure to read the comments.

Finally, a rather novel idea: UK soap opera Hollyoaks is sharing a photo on Snapchat each day at 4pm as an episode teaser. This, of course, on the heels of Taco Bell’s episodic Snapchat short film.


In the event that you’ve not seen the UStream high definition feed from a camera mounted on the International Space Station, it’s both visually mesmerizing and indicative of the kind of glanceable experience that’s increasingly binding people together — from Reddit threads that have sprung up in its wake, to stories of people who’ve devoted an entire second screen to it. This is a new way in which we’re consuming new forms of ambient information, and it bears watching.