15 Mar 2012 - Maria Kivimaa


Lesson from banking. Bashing greedy bankers is like a national sport these days. This NY Times article is quite intriguing, as it presents a different angle, an insider’s view: an honest letter from Greg Smith, Goldman Sachs executive director, who resigned yesterday. The reason? Loss of true leadership, integrity, honesty and culture in the company. Putting making money before your clients needs. Which one happened first? There’s something to think about. “Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence.” (While we are at it…Brett Easton Ellis is potentially working on a sequel to American Psycho, at least based on his slightly frantic tweets from last weekend.) And, inspired by Mr Smith, we also have Darth Vader now resigning the Empire. Thanks to Alvaro for the link!

From Russia, with love. Siberia has a reputation of being seriously bleak. That’s why the photography of Evgenia Arbugaeva is quite striking: there’s something inexplicably joyous, delicate and beautiful in the way she presents her childhood memories from that corner of the world. Goes to show that with a hint of child’s imagination (and some serious photography skills) you can make even Siberia a magical and indeed a heart-warming place.

Infographics made awesome. Yes, it is possible. Have a look at this new book by Taschen that will be released next Tuesday and be prepared to actually be amused by some of the charts. Be it economy, science of sleep, pet ownership or the influences of Edgar Allan Poe, they look like small pieces of art. Or better yet, small pieces of very clever art, as they convey (dull) information as well. A bit like good advertising? If you fancy giving it a try, head to which opened its beta version a few days ago and now lets people create their own infographics for free.

Ben & Jerry’s nailed it. You have to love it when a brand makes a statement, an actual statement. Like Ben & Jerry’s who named their new ice-cream flavour in order to support gay marriage in the UK. Taking the risk of alienating potential customers by being brave is unfortunately still quite rare; most brands obviously exist to make profit and are afraid of anything that might cause controversy. But what is still surprisingly often forgotten is that when taking a stand you will also strengthen your brand and make profit in the longer run. Or, sometimes, immediately: what ice-cream brand do you think a lot of gays will be buying from now on? I certainly will buy a tub. And I’m not gay, or even like ice-cream.

The gig. The Sex Pistols gig in Manchester in June 1976 is one of the most influential gigs of all time, if not the most influential: the audience was small, only 30-40 people, but of whom most went onto form a generation of legendary bands – The Fall, The Buzzcocks, Joy Division, The Smiths. Needless to say, this bunch pretty much defined the Madchester era but also the independent music scene that we know today. Quite a few people have claimed to have been there, but what’s the truth? This BBC documentary about the mystical and life-changing gig reveals some secrets. And you don’t have to love punk to get into the atmosphere.