The last 6-8 weeks have been a series of personal uncertainties, mostly due to a deep introspective look at what interests me today, how much these things interest me, and what could interest me even more. I soon came to the realization that my current set of opportunities and experiences lack that ability to impact a decision meaningfully.
I used to think that brands themselves should be unwavering and rarely change beyond periodic updates; I don’t subscribe to that anymore. Brands that can find a way to maintain your trust while evolving and changing with the times are perhaps the most interesting and resilient. Looking back, I wish we had taken ourselves less seriously, earlier, but it’s not too late is it?
One thing that’s really exciting for me as of late is a new-found energy around the whole MAEKAN editorial wing. We’ve been quiet the last little while and with Charis’ bandwidth opening up, her and Nate have done an amazing job around reconfiguring our whole process. Process and procedures are an interesting thing that most creatives don’t think that much about. At a small scale and as a small team or individual, we don’t think about how we arrive at a particular outcome. I’ve pushed everybody around us to think more about documentation and being more process-focused, not because it detracts from the serendipitous creative outcome.
I often look back at the things that we’ve done at MAEKAN and wonder “what if.” What if we had not been so stubborn about investing massively diminishing returns into stories that only a handful people would see? What if we had spun up a creative services business way way earlier (Adam Studios) and generated revenue? But looking back, this solution only appeared after we’d made some distance in our journey ahead. Just as we did, many startups go out and create their version of something as a reaction — the internal belief that they’re offering a solution to a problem.
Charis and Eugene talk about a single topic inspired by “Nike’s End of Men” by Ethan Strauss. Their conversation covers a shift in Nike’s values (whether internal or what they project to the public), target audience, and marketing strategies.
Eugene and Charis talk about the illusory nature of tech solutions for the climate crisis as well as personal responsibility in the face of it. They also discuss the artistic merit of the release of Kanye West’s DONDA.
Eugene and Charis discuss “Ghosts” by Vauhini Vara, a creative writing piece written with the assistance of the language AI GPT-3 (Generative Pre-Trained Transformer 3). They also talk about sexism and double standards in sports as seen in recent discussions around uniform requirements in women’s sports.
Charis and Eugene talk about the factors that lead to the prominence of curators and curation. They also discuss the trend, as WGSN calls it, of “genuinfluencers”, who interact with their audiences differently and share content that is a departure from the traditional influencer fare.
Eugene and Charis discuss why elite female athletes are turning away from formerly major sponsors in favor of alternative options. They also talk about the launch of the Culture Pass in France which gives all 18-year-olds €300 to spend on a selection of cultural offerings.
Charis and Eugene talk about how our memories of the pandemic will differ and what narrative arcs the stories we tell of our lives usually take. They also discuss the term “wang hong” (Chinese for internet famous) as written about in Chaoyang Trap.
In a different format to the usual Making It Up episodes, Eugene and Charis announce the launch of the online MAEKAN Shop. They discuss the process that lead to this point and talk about the products that are available.
Charis and Eugene talk about Naomi Osaka’s essay in TIME magazine that elaborates on her relationship to the press and the subject of the mental health of athletes. They also discuss an article about “the inner ring” of the internet and how that affects the creative work you do.
Eugene and Charis do an episode completely on sports. They talk about the new NCAA ruling that allows student athletes to make money in whatever way they like: co-founding businesses, as YouTubers, as country singers, etc. They also discuss Australian cyclist Lachlan Morton’s attempt to ride the full Tour de France route on his own with no support and to beat the peloton to Paris.
Charis and Eugene talk about new Kotaku editor-in-chief Patricia Hernandez’s letter to readers on the subject of the future of video games and video game writing. They also discuss erratic sizing within the fashion industry and the sustainability as well as psychological issues that creates.