Ambient intimacy and the rise of the selfie

Rise of the Selfie

This month, the Oxford Dictonaries announced 'selfie' as their word of the year, noting that usage had increased 17,000% since January. A 'selfie,' as you know, is a photographic self-portrait, usually shared over social media, usually shot on a mobile phone (here's a handy infographic). One poll in the UK found that 30 percent of ALL photos taken by 18- to 24-year-olds were selfies. And, of course, there's already an anti-selfie movement. … [Read more...]

Build, buy, or bolster

Build, Buy, Bolster

There are a slew of confusions for nonprofits, and their supporters, that blur the difference between operating money and capital. Even though we may know instinctively that long-term investments and daily operational expenses are different things, we flow them together in our accounting statements, in our planning, in our strategy, and in our brains. Unfortunately, the outcome isn't just about semantics. It's about solvency. … [Read more...]

Express-ercize

Express-ercise

We already know that stories and music can move us emotionally, and get butts in seats at the local performance space. But of course, stories and music can also compel us to move, literally, and get our butts out of seats. Two stories suggest that we've only begun to explore the connections between expression and exercise -- beyond the techno-pump music that drives our current workouts. … [Read more...]

Poking and prying with a purpose

Sherlock and Watson

During the Social Theory, Politics and the Arts conference last week at Seattle University, I got to hear dozens of scholars and practitioners share their research about the arts in social and political context. STP&A, for those who don't know, is the oldest established permanent floating crap game of academic research in arts and culture, founded almost four decades ago by a ragtag cross-disciplinary cluster of curious people. … [Read more...]

The crazy world of capital

SOURCE: Flickr user PT Money

For reasons that elude me, I've been thinking and reading about capital in the nonprofit arts more than anyone probably should. Capital is both tedious and terrifying as an area of study, because the theory behind it is measurement and math (tedious, at least to me), while the organizational consequence of it is agony, ecstasy, or chronic malaise (terrifying). … [Read more...]

Positions, interests, and empathy

A Line in the Sand

One of the basic elements of successful negotiation is a clear distinction between 'positions' and 'interests'. Both sides of a negotiation have positions, of course -- the terms they want or expect from an agreement (pay, benefits, ownership, control, rights, and such). Both sides also have interests, the underlying needs or goals that led them to those terms, either consciously or unconsciously. Positions tend to be binary, win-lose, zero-sum. Interests are usually not. … [Read more...]

What I’ve learned

Question Mark

I have learned that a question is almost always the best approach: to begin something, to welcome someone, to unlock a stubborn problem, to enlist enduring support, to launch a difficult conversation, or to become a part of a community rather than standing apart. … [Read more...]

Please touch that dial

iTunes Radio

Apple's latest iTunes update launched a streaming music service called iTunes Radio intended, most likely, to recapture the music-lovers now listening through similar services like Pandora,¬†Spotify, or iHeartRadio, and to reconnect them to iTunes purchases. While the system is a late-comer to the genre, it brings with it some expected elegance from the Apple design cabal. … [Read more...]

The fast ‘no’ or the long ‘maybe’

SOURCE: Flickr user Horia Varlan

In the constant search for resources, arts leaders are understandably eager to get to 'yes'. Quite often the journey to get there is a long one, through building relationships, trust, and shared understanding of value and purpose. But could there be a circumstance when you want a faster path to 'no'? Venture capitalist Anthony Tjan thinks so, in this classic post from 2010. And he's happy to help you get nowhere quickly. … [Read more...]

Philanthropic equity

Philanthropic Equity

The nonprofit organization has always had at least one missing hammer in its toolbox, both by design and by definition. That missing tool is equity capital, the kind of investment and investor that provides economic resources in exchange for ownership. … [Read more...]