Daniel Kjellsson

I tell other people’s stories. Founding partner @SydneyStockholm

September 10, 2014

Saturday Group spill the beans

For years I’ve considered Saturday Group, the creative mothership of Jens Grede and Erik Torstensson, to be one of the most interesting companies in the fashion, advertising and marketing dump.

With an annual turnover of £60m, more than 200 employees, Saturday Group’s umbrella business interests range from a clothing-distribution company (Tomorrow), a fashion communications division (RMO), a digital creative advertising agency (Wednesday), a talent-management company (ITB360), a trade-focused, glossy fashion fanzine (Industrie), a denim brand (Frame Denim), and, launching in February 2014, a womenswear label (Grace).

Jens Grede:

At the intersection where entertainment meets fashion you have one single 24-hour period through which to make your mark. If you get your 24 hours where the work – an ad, an image, a piece of promotional activity, a music video – spreads from newspaper columns to websites, to blogs, trending Twitter feeds, to TV, radio and social media channels, then you’ve succeeded.

British GQ has got a profile worthy of your time: Saturday Group: You’ve been framed!

September 3, 2014

The end of the printed newspaper

Print ad revenues have fallen 65% in a decade, 2013 saw the lowest ever recorded, and 2014 will be worse. If you are a journalist at a print publication, your job is in danger. Period. Time to do something about it.

When the Tribune Company recently got rid of their newspapers, the New York Times ran the story under a headline “The Tribune Company’s publishing unit is being spun off, as the future of print remains unclear.” The future of print remains what?

Clay Shirky:

Try to imagine a world where the future of print is unclear: Maybe 25 year olds will start demanding news from yesterday, delivered in an unshareable format once a day. Perhaps advertisers will decide “Click to buy” is for wimps. Mobile phones: could be a fad. After all, anything could happen with print. Hard to tell, really.

Also:

This disconnection between the business side and the news side was celebrated as a benefit, right up to the moment it became an industry-wide point of failure.

Read Clay Shirky’s piece Last Call on Medium.

September 3, 2014

The rise and fall of Abercrombie & Fitch

Interesting read on the rise of H&M, Zara and Topshop – and the fall of Abercrombie & Fitch.

The Abercrombie & Fitch logo is no longer a marker of popularity and, in fact, hasn’t been one for years. Why should a teen send subtle signals about her identity by dressing in a certain brand when she can define herself explicitly on Facebook and Instagram?

Read the piece Abercrombie & Fitch knows it’s not cool anymore on The New Yorker.

July 19, 2014

A letter to Microsoft: Cut Once, Cut Deeply, Cut Quickly

I’m not going to pretend to fully understand big corporate restructuring but you don’t have to to sympathise with anyone, anywhere currently being held in the line of layoff fire. Mini-Microsoft writes from within the Seattle giant (currently looking to cut 18 000 jobs), highlighting the stress and anxiety hitting the workforce.

First, the selfish stress about whether my job is affected. Then personal circle stress. Then partner collaboration stress. Then way out there general concerns about the company. And guess what: when folks are stressed and gossiping, they are not effectively – er, excuse me, productively (?) – implementing the latest strategy. Physiologically, they have increased cortisol and this time will turn into a fog.

And then…

That’s why I hope that Cut Quickly happens. With constant worries and concerns and doubts about engaging in new ideas due to expectations those would be the easiest to trim during ongoing cut-backs. When is it over? When is the “all clear” signal given?

All clear.

June 15, 2014

Jimmy Iovine: The billionaire who smell blood

I knew very little about Jimmy Iovine prior to the first “Apple is buying Beats” rumours. Embarrassing but true (I had even bought a pair of headphones from the guy, for christ’s sake). Now the deal is done ($3.25B, ka-ching) and I have caught up on my homework.

One of my favourite archive pieces is the Rolling Stone interview from April 2012. It’s a glimpse into who Iovine is and how much he cares. It’s a tale of how to turn your obsession into big business.

“JIMMY HAS THIS TERM: ‘I SMELL BLOOD.’ WHEN HE SAYS THAT, I KNOW HE’S ON TO SOMETHING.” – Dr Dre

 

Before you head into the text, a word from Iovine’s dad:

Once, he overheard his dad, a longshoreman, talking to a friend outside. “The guy asks my dad, ‘What is it with your son, with the music and the headphones? What is this shit he does?'” Iovine recalls, laughing. “My dad goes, ‘He’s got magic ears. He can hear what you’re thinking.'”

Here it is, Rolling Stone’s “Jimmy Iovine: The Man With The Magic Ears”.

 

June 8, 2014

Jeff Widener on his iconic Tiananmen Square photo

tank-man

When Jeff Widener looks at the most important photograph of his career, it makes him think about failure. Like most news photographers, Widener is often worried that he will be absent during a critical moment and miss a critical shot.

Like many of the most important photographs in history, Widener’s “Tank Man” almost didn’t happen. “I don’t have it on my wall,” says Widener, “because every time I look at it, it reminds me how close I came to messing it up.”

In 1989, Widener was a picture editor for the Associated Press in Southeast Asia. As political turmoil and student protests heated up in Beijing that spring and summer, Widener was dispatched to China cover the melee. Day after day, he would leave the AP bureau inside the U.S. diplomatic compound in Beijing and ride to Tiananmen Square to shoot pictures. At first, the assignment seemed relatively safe.

Time has got Jeff Widener – in text and video – talking about the picture that made him famous and the world a little better.

June 8, 2014

Brands like Atari don’t die easily

For many people, the Atari name lives on as little more than a retro cool brand name affixed to T-shirts. All but the most dedicated gamers are probably unaware that Atari is still alive as a company.

Early last year, the company filed for bankruptcy protection, with the goal of selling off its portfolio of games in auction. Atari parted with a few of the games through that process, but most of them did not attract high enough bids. So the company held on to them. It emerged from bankruptcy protection in December and since then has been piecing together a plan to resuscitate its business.

Leading the turnaround is Frédéric Chesnais, a French game industry veteran and former banker, who became a major shareholder of Atari and its chief executive. Mr. Chesnais said the company was now focusing on mobile and Facebook games, rather than on the far riskier console market, where development budgets are much higher. Atari has announced plans for a social casino game that will exploit vintage Atari games like Asteroids, Centipede and Breakout within slot, poker and blackjack games.

As Warren Buffett once said, turn-arounds seldom turn, but on this very occasion I wouldn’t mind if the “Oracle of Omaha” was proven wrong.

Read “Snatching Atari Back From the Grave, Again” on The New York Times.

June 1, 2014

Rupert Murdoch’s most trusted lieutenant

Ken Cowley was once one of the most powerful men in Australia. He used to sit at the right hand of billionaire media baron Rupert Murdoch and was one of his most trusted lieutenants.

Yesterday (May 30), Financial Review published an interview with Cowley, now 80, with the man reflecting on life, death and his career. It’s a good read for anyone interested in global media empires in general and the Murdoch family business in particular.

It is spectacular to learn how Cowley looked at the responsibilities of the conglomerates various newspaper editors, decades before buzzwords such as “native advertising”:

Cowley saw the editor as a person who could work with him to make a profit and involved them in briefing advertising agencies, customers and clients. He got editors involved in budgets and made it clear that any initiative they wanted to pursue had to be costed and demonstrated it would make money.

Read the full story “Ken Cowley’s judgment day” on Financial Review.

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