I have a confession to make. I couldn’t decide which Red Thread Swipefile to feature this week, as there were just so many good ones to choose from. So, I figured, why not do a lightning-round version of “How Could You Use it?” featuring my three favorites? Why not, indeed, friends. Why not, indeed.
Let the lightning round commence!
What Is a Neutrino? The Missing Key to Modern Physics Could Be a Ghost Particle
I get it, you might be thinking, “I have literally never asked this question about neutrinos, so why would I read this?” Well, here’s my answer: because (a) neutrinos are incredibly cool, which makes them incredibly useful as potential analogies and (b) the writing in this article is a model for us all.
How could you use it?
On the analogy and metaphor side, here are some concepts neutrinos and neutrino-related things could illustrate:
- How things you can’t see can play a huge role in the world around you
- How behaviors, ideas, people, etc. leave “traces” on the things they touch, and vice versa
- How some things are super hard to measure…but that shouldn’t keep us from trying
On the writing side, note:
- The extensive use of analogy (mentos!)
- How the author uses the reader’s natural order of questions as the organizing structure, and
- The layering of concepts to start simple and add sophistication as the article goes deeper into its subject (aka the “known-new contract”)
All three are techniques that can help make ANY message more clear, especially complex and technical ones (like neutrinos!).
She inscribed 120K NYC pennies with a pandemic message. Is one in your pocket?
This is a fantastic story of a public artist that had to reinvent what “public art” could look like when the pandemic hit. Rather than the typical approach of making a piece of art and placing it where the public see it as they pass by, she used something the public sees every day as the medium for her message.
How could you use it?
Her story in and of itself is a great one to tell when you’re talking about:
But the project itself is also useful as an illustration, I’d say, especially for concepts or ideas like:
- “Show, don’t tell”
- Integrity/congruence/alignment (since the art will travel through human contact like the virus she’s commenting on)
- Making your mark
- …and anything else you can think of!
As inflation soars, how is AriZona iced tea still 99 cents?
As opposed to the neutrino question, which may or may not have ever crossed your mind, this is one of those questions that, once you see it, you’re likely to say, “Wait, yes, how IS AriZona Iced Tea still 99 cents)?” And your reward for reading on to find the answers is an incredible tour through the business decision making, strategy, supply chain woes and managing profit margins, and even how the price of a different product—Coke—not only holds a record, but literally set how drinks were sold and packaged for YEARS.
How could you use it?
So many ways, for sure, but definitely as an example of:
- A company living its values
- The pros of not being beholden to shareholders and/or the freedom of family business
- Differentiation (through package design, price, etc.)
- How constraints drive creativity (in the sense of what they’ve had to figure out in order to keep the price down)
- With the whole Coke-was-a-nickel-for-70-years-thing, how ecosystems arise around powerful/popular products
- And seriously, the list goes on and on
But that’s the double joy of having and building a swipefile, isn’t it? You get the fun and fascination of learning something new and the challenge and satisfaction of thinking of all the ways that particular new thing or things could be useful to you or someone else in the future.
It’s kind of like building a patchwork quilt: each new piece that you add adds that many new edges and surfaces to add something else to. (That is, by the way, the way our brain works. Every time you learn something new, you expand your capacity to learn more).
Over time, you’ve built this incredible collection of interesting and useful things, that, taken all together, becomes something beautiful in and of itself—all, of course, woven together with the Red Thread of the what, why, and how that makes you, you.That's the double joy of having and building a swipefile, isn't it? You get the fun and fascination of learning something new and the challenge and satisfaction of thinking of all the ways that new thing could be useful in the future. Click To Tweet
Please note that many of the links are affiliate links, which means if you buy a thing I link to, I get a percentage of the cost, and then donate it to charity.
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