Photographs by Ben Perreau

Ben Perreau

Words and Pictures and stuff.


  • Mon, 06 Mar 2017 03:11:37 GMT

    Behold, the Innovation Economy

    Our workplace, and our society is changing. It’s time to rewire our ‘Societal Operating System’, and it’s going to take work.

    After the enlightenment and the industrial revolution, we reinvented our Societal Operating System to focus on Industry. Quite right. Reading, Writing, Basic Science, Math and processes led to standardized tests and systems — the end goal was to get a manufacturing job. Steady. Dependable. Systematic.

    Then, during the 20th century, we became a knowledge economy, where knowledge was prioritized over anything else. Getting into a top university like Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard or Stanford, became the priority and from that people got the best jobs in tertiary industry.

    But here’s the twist. Now we are entering an age where limitless computational power is being baked into our Societal OS, where knowledge (Thanks, Google) and computation (Pretty much everybody, including Google) are just going to be standard. An ‘Innovation Economy’. This is about more than just education — it’s the foundation of our society.

    Now computation is going to take care of figuring out how to find out the problem to solve, and the solution. We will need to leverage all of this for the better, and accept it as standard to evolve our society, and the way we engage with ‘productivity’ again.

    To progress, we’ll need to leverage a different way of thinking: systems thinking, creativity, problem solving and imagination. We need to train leaders who can deal with a set of vague inputs and synthesize from complex decisions matrices. We need to understand how to work together effectively with diverse thinking, backgrounds and mindsets. We need a radical reinvention of our societal operating system in order to move along. We have both an opportunity — and some might say a requirement, to evolve.

    Where do we do even begin to change our behaviors as leaders, organizations, as people in society to reflect this?

    Whatever tools we might need in the future, whatever behaviors we choose to engage with — should take this into consideration.

    This piece is a prototype — expect it to evolve. Special thanks to many, including Mark Suster and Rebecca Kantar for the inspiration to think about this.

    Behold, the Innovation Economy was originally published in Unverified Thoughts on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

  • Tue, 15 Dec 2015 19:17:20 GMT

    Hear Ennio Moriccone’s rousing opener for Quentin Tarantino’s ‘The Hateful Eight’
    Kurt Russell and Samuel L. Jackson in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘The Hateful Eight’

    ‘L’Ultima Diligenza di Red Rock’ is the composer’s first Western score in decades.

    Few directors can level both the ambition and gravitas of Quentin Tarantino. His latest, ‘The Hateful Eight’, is no exception — Tarantino is having nearly 100 cinema theaters refit with Ultra Panavision 70 projectors, the first time the super-widescreen format has been used in nearly 50 years.

    With a Tarantino movie, there is always a great soundtrack, every one of his most iconic moments is accompanied by some razor-cut audio— whether it be during Michael Madsen’s brutal ear-cutting scene in Reservoir Dogs to Stealers Wheel’s ‘Stuck in The Middle With You’, during the opening of Kill Bill to Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Bang Bang’ or to Chuck Berry’s ‘You Never Can Tell’ during that iconic dance scene in Pulp Fiction.

    For his latest work, the director has commissioned legendary composer Ennio Moriccone to score the opening track to the movie: ‘L’Ultima Diligenza di Red Rock’ is a blistering, tough, rousing piece which cements ‘The Hateful Eight’ amongst Moriconne’s classic western soundtracks, ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’, ‘My Name is Nobody’ and ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’. Here’s a sneak peak.

    Due out on December 25th, ‘The Hateful Eight’ looks set to be another full-on Tarantino epic, having worked with his longtime collaborator, Music Supervisor Mary Ramos. The movie is accompanied by a soundtrack which includes the likes of The White Stripes, David Hess and Roy Orbison and Moriccone’s score.

    Synkio makes creating soundtracks for advertising, movies and games easy, and makes it easier for music professionals too. If you’ve enjoyed this, or have anything to add, please recommend (or comment) below.

    Hear Ennio Moriccone’s rousing opener for Quentin Tarantino’s ‘The Hateful Eight’ was originally published in Synkio Music on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

  • Mon, 14 Dec 2015 23:09:23 GMT

    One of my favourite pieces of storytelling this year is an Ad.

    Yep. One of my favourite pieces of storytelling this year is an Ad.

    As many Journalists have to learn, the role of Storytelling in any medium is perhaps the most important, but one of the most unfairly overlooked (and sometimes maligned) methods is in advertising, where creative work and a message are combined for maximum effect.

    Some might wince at the apparent commercial agenda, but it represents a tight, specific set of creative boundaries for any storyteller — this short ‘speculative’ film, ‘Dear Brother’, from student directors Daniel Titz and Dorian Lebherz, has been gathering plaudits and is probably my one of my favourite pieces of storytelling all year.

    The film features two brothers, and a somewhat familiar twist (I won’t spoil it), but it’s how the various components come together in just 90 seconds that really makes this work shine, the cinematic backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, a heartfelt script and a perfectly fitting score from fellow Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg student, Renée Abe bring this work together. As we’ve discovered at Synkio, the audio is what really drives the emotion, whilst the visual provides context.

    ‘Spec Ads’ (‘speculative’) usually come without a brief, or the involvement of the client at all, and are used to showcase your abilities to a would-be client. Film-school directors Titz and Lebherz will have been required to produce some work to showcase their skills, I imagine they’ll have picked up a phone call from the people at Johnnie Walker with this one.

    Feel free to recommend (or comment) below if you’d like others to find this.

    One of my favourite pieces of storytelling this year is an Ad. was originally published in Unverified Thoughts on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

  • Sun, 13 Dec 2015 17:59:33 GMT

    I was at this too. Great show.

    I was at this too. Great show.

  • Tue, 08 Dec 2015 01:53:34 GMT

    Adele has just sold 4.5m albums. You’d be daft to try the same.

    So where does that leave the rest of us?

    Anybody living above ground in the last few weeks won’t have missed Adele’s impact on music. In the first two weeks, ‘25’ has sold 4.5 million albums, the first album to sell a million copies in two different weeks since Nielsen began tracking in 1991.

    It’s a huge achievement by music standards. But let’s put this into perspective: Computer Games, like GTA V, which cost 4 times as much and sold 6 million copies in week 1, and the final Harry Potter book sold 15 million copies on it’s first day. We might not be comparing similar fruit, but even Apple’s iPhone 6 sold 4 million copies in 24hrs, and that cost $649 USD.

    So whilst this is remarkable, it’s not time to pick up the guitar and resume working on your psych-goth concept album just yet. You’d have to be crazy to assume that making albums is the main way to build success nowadays. In fact it is the opposite, especially when we begin to investigate the ‘profitability’ of selling albums versus other routes.

    What’s really changed is the way in which you can have ‘cultural impact’ and build a career. Adele’s success was driven by a mysterious spot in an ad-break on the UK television show X-Factor, followed by some judicious promotion by the likes of SNL and the BBC, and in the weeks that led up to the release Adele was everywhere. She still is.

    Cultural impact for most artists doesn’t mean re-igniting a lithe cohort of music fans with a tantalising song like ‘Hello’, but delivering a consistent campaign. Buying a ‘one-hit’ advertising spot costs $$, but there’s more opportunity in areas where you can reach people. Your ‘X-factor’ break is on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Radio, Reddit and Snapchat. Therefore your goal is to be as present as you can in the minds of the would-be fans, as often as you can, in the hope that some of them may share your ‘releases’ to other people. Some will engage in streaming your music, a fraction of those will convert to give up cash for your recordings, merchandise or hopefully— a concert ticket.

    Let’s put an album into context. 12 tracks, painstakingly recorded over many weeks in a studio with your most trusted collaborators. It’s an expensive undertaking, and ultimately — though it might make you money-it’s just one area of your creative capital that has potential.

    Start a list.

    Write down everything you can produce that people might find interesting enough to share or engage with.

    • Photos
    • Lyrics
    • Videos
    • Lyric Videos
    • Concert News
    • Talking about subjects you feel passionate about

    Your list is probably not long enough. Don’t just think about the content, but participating in the conversation it provokes.

    Now put ‘Music’ at the bottom of the list.

    Your music is just another piece of collateral. Something else you can use to engage with your audience.

    The goal is to create a conversation, every day, and to tell your audience what you are about, what you are interested in, in the hope it resonates. Your music will do the same thing.

    Most people’s subconscious perception of music is one of two elements: the recording, and the connection. For anybody to succeed, you have try to offer the best in both spaces. That means consistent, interesting, authentic engagement as both a personality and a musician.

    Given all that, when you’ve spent weeks poring over your beautifully created album, why would you drop it all in one go? In the future, huge megalith artists (of which there are few) will drop one off ‘albums’ and leverage massive media placements to get there. Everybody else might well release 10 or 11 tracks, and then finally, weeks later, an album with a final track on it. 12 releases, 12 conversations.

    It’s time to shift the perception away from just audio releases, into releases of ‘anything’. Some of these will make you money (concerts), some of these will not (photos on Instagram).

    So, write another list — of all the areas where you might be able to make some cash.




    I’m sure there’s more. Then try to work out how much work it is to create each one. Think about how long it takes to rehearse and play a show, or how long it will take to design and produce a t-shirt. Then, think about how much money you might make from each one sold and how many you might sell.

    Mix the lists into one, in order of how much work it takes to produce one ‘release’ and write down the amount you expect to make from 1 ‘release’ of each. In many cases it will be zero. In some cases you might be able to make money from people outside your audience, for example synch in movies, games and advertising.

    Some of these items are interrelated; if you don’t release music, you can’t play shows etc. But the internet has broken down many of these relationships. You can release merchandise without playing a show. You can build a profile without any music (nb: this generally means you are not actually a musician). You can make money from advertising without releasing any records. You might want to understand which of these your audience likes most, and produce more of it.

    This is the point I am trying to make: if you intend to make a career out of music, an holistic approach to your output, rather than an obsession on the album, is the way to go. Don’t worry about saving up for X-Factor TV advertising spots until you’ve made your first $300k, because that’s how much it costs. There’s more to music than breaking records.

    If you found this interesting, useful, or it irritated you thoroughly, hit ‘recommend’ (it’s the ❤) or comment below.

    Adele has just sold 4.5m albums. You’d be daft to try the same. was originally published in Unverified Thoughts on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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