Kevin Spacey: 3 Elements of Storytelling


  1. CONFLICT. Conflict creates tension, and tension keeps people engaged with your story… This kind of conflict between who we are and what we want to be and what others may expect of us is the central thread of the human experience. Look into your own lives and you’ll see that kind of tension everywhere… Our stories become richer and become far more interesting when they go against the settled order of things, to really achieve something different and unexpected.
  2. AUTHENTICITY. I think a lot of content marketers need to be mindful of falling into the trap of looking for keywords or quick hits to boost their ranking on Google. [Applause] Stay true to your brand and true to your voice, and audiences will respond to that authenticity with enthusiasm and passion.
  3. AUDIENCE. Possibly [the] most important element of any story… The device and the link are irrelevant to the story, which is an essential concept that content marketing has learned and embraced better than anyone… It’s no longer about who you know, or how much you can afford, but what you can do, and audiences have spoken: THEY WANT STORIES. They’re dying for them; they’re rooting for us to give them the right thing — and they will talk about it, binge on it, carry it with them to the bus and to the hair dresser, force it on their friends, tweet, blog, facebook, make fan pages, silly GIFs, and God knows what else about it. Engage in it with a passion and an intimacy that a blockbuster movie can only dream of. And all we have to do is give it to them.


Agent Query offers writers a literary touchstone. We want every writer posing as an accountant, office manager, bus driver, police officer, housewife, flight attendant, or juvenile delinquent to know that their story has a chance to be something more than a shameful, indulgent escape— pages hidden in desk drawers that only see the light of day in whimsical dreams of publication.



The Return of Jobs

The Apple Revolution: 10 Key Moments, #4

“He had become a far better leader, less of a go-to-hell aesthete who cared only about making beautiful objects,” wrote Fortune’s editor-at-large Peter Elkind of the co-founder’s triumphant return. “Now he was a go-to-hell aesthete who cared about making beautiful objects that made money.” In time, he became recognized as one of the company’s most valuable assets.

I have the same likes (both soundtracks are superb, both casts are great) and dislikes (both screenplays are lousy) with Jobs as The Social Network. Robert X. Cringely nails it for Jobs (as John Hagel did for TSN; cinematic tropes fail Storytelling 101 with these type of tech stories):

Ashton Kutcher’s Steve Jobs somehow misses the whole point

something happened during Steve’s NeXT years (which occupy less than a 60 seconds of this 122 minute film) that turned Jobs from a brat into a leader, but they don’t bother to cover that. In his later years Steve still wasn’t an easy guy to know but he was an easier guy to know. His gut for product was still good but his positions were more considered and thought out. He inspired workers without trying so much to dominate or hypnotize them […] at some point Steve did change. It was subtle but real and it set the tone for the last 15 years of his life — the most productive 15 years of his life or that of any American executive.

Everything in italics is Cringely’s emphasis, mine is bolded — because it’s the most significant point he makes (but I’d also add, with NeXT, Pixar). I also give Ashton Kutcher big points for acting, but question the inaccuracies used. The art of cinematic biographical storytelling — condensing a lifespan into a two-hour frame — fails. However, John Debney’s score actually tells the story. Watching the movie when Track #33.- Think Different started playing captured something. It made me watch Jobs’ introduction of this ad campaign, 8-10 weeks (September 23, 1997) after returning to Apple.

Jobs notes the “poetic” first airing of Think Different on The Wonderful World of Disney that Sunday during the television premiere of Toy Story {11:00}. The permissions needed, and granted, to show the images of everyone appearing in this ad: Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Branson, John Lennon (with Yoko Ono), Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali, Ted Turner, Maria Callas, Mahatma Gandhi, Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, Martha Graham, Jim Henson (with Kermit the Frog), Frank Lloyd Wright and Pablo Picasso. Until Think Different, most of these people never appeared in this type of advertisement and Jobs adds, “and never would until we asked them”.

It’s been an incredible moving experience for me that these people, both living and dead (their estates), have felt so strongly about Apple that they were willing to let us do this. I don’t think there is another company on earth that could have done this campaign. And that to me is something very special.

Think Different Rosa Parks Poster

In 2005, when Rosa Parks died, the Apple website had a photo of her on their first page with the Think Different logo. Many, unfamiliar with the 1997 campaign, thought this was tasteless.

Do you know who that is? Rosa Parks. They’ll be five buses running around five major cities like that.

Apple Vs. Samsung

Or, the quick and the not so quick.

Surprise, read the whole thing: David Margolick’s The Judge that Apple Hates (Judge Denise Cote), and Kurt Eichenwald’s The Great Smartphone War: Apple Vs. Samsung.

The startup I worked for called it ramping up — the amount of time and effort to effectively perform a job or task. To give you a sense how steep this ramp was, a non-industry professional told me her ramp time was two years. That’s when she expected her hires to perform autonomously without feedback. Startup ramp times, in the mid-90s, hit the burn rate, and 90 days was too slow.

There are a variety of computer language, development, and testing ideologies. Rapid Application Development (RAD) = burn on steroids. Development “throws” code over the wall, like a volleyball, with QA spiking it back with a bug. Showstoppers create the necessary QA interrupt when a development trajectory gets hopelessly tangled. Then, things got hashed out, face-to-face, with lots of whiteboard.

QA Lead, on my first and one and only testing project, created a strange, weird timing sequence. My Dev team on RAD and the rest of the developers — well, we’ll just call it slower. Very much slower.

Samsung is RAD on steroids, mainlining burn rate. Right after reading Eichenwald, got a text message from a brand new Samsung Galaxy.

Livejournal got bought by a Russian media company. Except for DDoS attack downtimes and needing an American Cyber Embassy to translate my Russian spam, haven’t noticed that much different. Things, however, get interesting when bodies reside in nation-states, and debit cards span the globe with strategically placed fulfillment hubs.

Hello Alibaba.

Postmodern Utopianism: Deleuze and Guattari and the Escape from Politics
Millay Hyatt

Deterritorialization, one of the most powerful concepts Deleuze and Guattari came up with together, is understood as a generalizable thrust or basic tendency of life itself. It is the performative desire to move from fixed necessity to mobile flux, from cohesive organicity or structurality to molecular disintegration. This impulse is read and affirmed across a wide variety of social, philosophical and scientific phenomena, and is finally equated with the quest for and the production of freedom itself. Deterritorialization can certainly not be confused with the utopian mechanism as a producer of predictable, desired effects, or with the utopian voyage away from corrupt reality into an idealized state. What I am arguing rather is that the Deleuze-Guattarian concept shares with the utopian motifs a kind of inevitable propensity, an unambiguous capacity for creating the desired state — a state that could, for simplicity’s sake, be called freedom. Deterritorialization, infallibly — even axiomatically — produces incalculable and unharnessable liberation, ecstatic lines of flight. Reterritorializations may follow on the heels of deterritorializations, fascist desire may haunt revolutionary desire, but these counter-revolutionary tendencies are, precisely, neatly separated from the pure flux of desire by designating them as reactionary and attributing them to the nefarious forces of anti-production. “[L]e désir n’est jamais trompé” [“Desire is never deceived”], they write in L’Anti-Oedipe (Deleuze / Guattari, 1972: 306). And while most deterritorializations are, as it were, brought back down to earth, reterritorialized in some way, the authors insist on an “absolute deterritorialization” that is beyond any reactionary reduction to a particular territory. A more conventional utopia might think in terms of the ultimate or final territory; Deleuze and Guattari postulate a complete absence of territory, the ultimate freedom from all territorial restraints, a total lack of fixity, what they call flux. This conjuration of a pure state of detachment is frequently accompanied by explicitly political formulations, evoking, for instance, “une nouvelle terre, (…) un nouveau peuple” [“a new earth, a new people”] (1991: 95). While the authors consistently insist that this new earth is here and now, not in some elusive future or in some unattainable locale, it is the investment of a particular function with the capacity for producing absolute freedom that has them participating in the “utopian imaginary”. When in L’Anti-Oedipe, the authors accuse psychoanalysis of misunderstanding the fact that reterritorializations occur onto people and places, whereas deterritorializations occur onto machines (Deleuze / Guattari, 1972: 378), it is evident that, for them, not all objects are subject to the potential ossification of a reterritorialization, but that, as befits the “utopian imaginary”, certain kinds of objects are immune from reactionary coding. It remains then a matter of identifying or deploying these objects or forces to achieve the desired ends, no matter how much the authors polemicize against any kind of determinism or calculability. Their incalculability, I’m suggesting, is calculable.

Is Nick Land a Racist?


As a black woman my situated knowledge, standing (as it were) upon a somewhat wobbly non-academic, but Pisces-moon-and-mother-English-teacher axis, who has, upon reading her Jane Austen, and, therefore, knowing the MAOA count (as such) of white privilege — Dashwood et al (1811), Darcy et al (1813), Bertram et al (1814); the, somewhat (admittedly) bewildering, complexifications presented by the Heathcliff disambiguation (Wikipedia en masse 2013); also, considering (but definitely not jumping into fully) the Moldbugian conjecture (the start, the beginning, the all that is reactionary); come to a, quite naturally because I’m black a woman and… me, a considered, thoughtful, you-better-listen-to-me, fisted-hand-raised, black-power-fight-the-power conclusion.

I am a Land realist. Let’s get real here people: we must be willing to approach the unapproachable, assail the mighty — the moldy, aging (Stella and Groove 1998) — edifice and be willing to call a white guy an Englishman. Capturing all that is solid — all the melting cultish bollocks of Maoist self-criticism (Phil 2013); setting a plate (with every fork, spoon and glass properly apportioned) for the “rose-tinted, soft focus moral paragon, the very personification of philanthropic Capital” (Fisher 2006) — but, yet, running alongside, as Couroux 2014 so aptly noted, the algorithms capitalism deploys to track and control the contemporary dividual subject; thereby, and only then (Promise? 2004), technoablating “with an affordance model calibrated to the putative operational boundaries of a given technology in order to exceed the latter (what the system affords) by the stealthy application of shell-game-type modalities which paradoxically (impossibly) simulate (audibilize) various functions. The excess engendered by such an exploit— that which is skimmed off what is apprehensible—is held in subconscious abeyance until it can be put to future use” (Couroux 2014); and openly discuss the Cathedrical undiscussable.

My paper exploring expanding explicating elluminating these e-thoughts, “Reflexing the MAOA and Gothic Oedipus: God, the Paradrome and Nick Land” has been accepted for publication June 2014! yai me. I’ll post PDF here later.

Setting Up a New Twitter Account

Originally posted at The Obama Diary, read my About page for more info.

1. Go to:

Sign up instructions are also here w/ screenshots

2. Note the “New to Twitter? Join Today!” boxes

3. Enter Full Name, Email and Password

Enter your name. If your Twitter account should not be associated with your work or other email, then set up a free email account at Yahoo!, Gmail, or another email provider. Make sure the new email account is confirmed before setting up a new Twitter account. Think of a strong password for this account (Twitter verifies the strength on the next screen and, if you need to, it can be changed to something stronger).

4. Click “Sign Up” button

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