Extended Adolescence

Tumblr founder David Karp said that the publishing of social stats was ‘really gross.’ But it was less a ‘swipe,’ as the Guardian put it, and more of a reassurance to the creative community. Karp’s mission in Cannes was to woo the creative community, pouring on the love in the hope that the ad biz starts to show some back.

No comments means no hate. But it also means no criticism, no need to fight for what you believe in, and no means to protest that which seems wrong. Creatives rely on rubbing up against something (especially this week) in order to generate sparks. Is the relentless informality and positiveness of our workplace at fault?

We’ve catered to the creative work space, architect Rem Koolhaas pointed out in his talk. When he compares today’s campuses to the linear, ordered workplaces of the Man in the Grey Flannel Suit era, Koolhaas sees extended adolescence at work.

Are today’s workers any less creative than the buttoned-up creatives of the Mad Men era? Is our slavish love of that show not just nostalgia for daydrinking but also a crie de coeur for a little more order?

Look at Warhol’s Factory. No special furniture, warm cedar paneling, or meetings on the floor. And look what he got done.

Do, D’do D’do, Do D’do Do

And speaking of Warhol, Lou Reed thinks:

He was an astonishing person in every way. I hung out with the greatest artist of the 20th century. Although we didn’t know that at the time of course.

He’s less bullish on the talent of today: “There’s a dearth of talent today.” Except for Kanye who, “knows he’s that good.” And so does Reed. “Man,” one seminar attendee was overheard to say later that night, “being treated like a rockstar for so long must do something weird to you.”


It’s a good thing Lou Reed came of age when he did. The Factory of today is more likely to be underwritten by a brand.

Personal and ethical discretion are watchwords in an era of vastly increased transparency. Consumers are in charge—as has been said a bazillion times by now—but with that authority comes responsibility, and it’s a dictate that artist Shepard Fairey urges consumers to follow. “Consume with discretion,” he says.

Pete Favat of Arnold Worldwide, Fairey’s co-panelist, points out that consumers are doing exactly that. They are, Favat, says paying attention to how a company behaves, what the brand stands for, and how it contributes to the greater good:

If the company is participating in a worthy cause, it strikes a strong emotional chord with people. If a company is up to no good, like back in the Fifties when they were dumping chemicals into rivers… people find out about it right away.

Work Hard, Play Hard

McGonigal, a celebrated game designer and bestselling author, sees heavy gamers as having the tool set tailor made for corporate success.

The more games you play, the more motivated you are to tackle tough challenges in real life. You become more optimistic about your skills and abilities, and you’re more determined in the face of setbacks.

Gamers are not just tolerant of failure—they manage to remain optimistic in the face of it. The agency PHD has brought that ethic into the office by injecting the spirt and practice of gaming into agency life. “Work,” says PHD’s Mark Holden, “becomes play.”