August 20, 2019

How Algorithms Replaced Gatekeepers and Lowered the Bar on Quality

The fall of last generation’s analog gatekeepers meant that everyone with an internet connection and the desire to create (and share) their work could potentially make a name for themselves. But the social media giants and the spate of algorithmically-driven content that comes with them may have caused more damage to creative expression than any stuffy executive could.

Pre-social media gatekeepers

Among others, these types of powerful positions would decide what works made it to the public consciousness, which remained in a slush pile, and which were rejected altogether. These titles included:

  • Magazine editors
  • TV producers
  • Publishing execs
  • Gallery curators

How things changed

  1. The Internet and especially Facebook democratized fame by allowing anyone’s work to reach a news feed
  2. Almost overnight, major outlets had to share more work to both keep up with the times and to shake the “bad” aspects of their gatekeeper image
  3. Aside from creatives getting their due, there was also a deluge of content of all types
  4. The social media giants introduced algorithms to sift through this massive amount of content, inevitably pushing the most popular, likeable and shareable content to the top

How that made things worse

For one, the rise of the IG artist and the boosted metrics their content brings has shifted entire marketing strategies to favor a very specific set of aesthetics and content. This means a lot of creatives are focusing on their social strategy over their craft to stay afloat.

This also means that in this new age of democratized media where everyone and anyone has a creative voice that can be amplified via shares and likes, there’s less room for critique. No one argues that content with tens of thousands of likes isn’t successful, but is it good?

The new “gatekeeper” is us

Unfortunately, short of creating our own platforms or opting for indie social media, the onus is back on us as individuals to gatekeep for ourselves. We’ve previously outlined this in the Creator’s Paradigm, but here’s a quick overview of some strategies:

  • Taking our own deep dives into that sea of content to find what’s truly meaningful to us
  • Re-evaluating our sources of content and realizing which ones are merely the “easiest” to digest
  • Concentrating all our preferred sources in one spot using apps like Feedly
  • Taking more time to digest quality content (and archiving the best stuff) rather than simply scrolling through forgettable content that’s recommended to us

Or if you’re feeling like filtering all of the internet, apparently there’s a program for that too.


August 13, 2019

Residuals for everyone—selling our data to teach AI


As more companies and organizations start relying on AI, more and more data will be needed to feed (and train) these powerful programs, but not all data is created equal. While some might be valuable, we might not be so ready to share it. But if there were a means of securing our data and earning for every time it was used, would we be more willing to part with it?

Medical researchers start dabbling in AI, but hit wall

Medical professionals are starting to tap into machine learning as a means of furthering their work, especially to find patterns that can help interpret their patient’s test results. Stanford ophthalmologist Robert Chang hopes to use eye scans to track conditions like glaucoma as part of this ongoing tech rush.

The problem, however, is that doctors and researchers have trouble gathering enough data from either their own patients or others because of the way those patients’ data is handled. Indeed, there’s a great deal of medical data that’s silo’d due to different policies on sharing patient information. This makes it challenging to share patient metrics between institutions, and subsequently to reach critical data mass.

Kara and Differential Privacy

Oasis Labs, founded by UC Berkeley professor Dawn Song, securely stores patient data using blockchain technology that encrypts and anonymizes the data while preventing it from being reverse engineered. It also provides monetary incentives to encourage participants, who could be compensated for each time their data is used to train artificial intelligence.

It’s not just the promise of money that’s making them more willing to submit their data. Song and Chang are trialling Kara, a system that uses differential privacy to ensure the AI gets trained on data (stored on Oasis’ platform), but the data remaining invisible to researchers.

Quality Matters

For the medical industry, having access to quality data will become increasingly important as the reliance on AI increases. Quality doesn’t mean individual data points (a grainy eye scan could throw off the machine’s learning) but rather the entire data set.

In order to prevent biases, which AI systems are prone to depending on what data sets they are fed, a system will need particular segments of the population to contribute data to round out its “training.” For this to happen, incentives will need to be carefully weighed and valued. Training a medical AI designed for a general population, for instance, would require samples from a diverse group of individuals including those with less common profiles. To incentivize participation, compensation might be higher for this group.

Otherwise, the designers of the AI could simply choose not to include certain groups as has happened in the past, thus creating a discriminatory AI. In this case, it’s less a matter of the machine that’s learning and more of the people initiating the teaching. That said, the resultant discriminatory AI has the very real power to change the course of peoples’ lives such as by filtering out their job applications.

Data ownership, Dividends and Industries

Despite these drawbacks, a combination of monetization and secure storage of personal data could signal the beginning of a new market where individuals can earn a fee for sharing data that wouldn’t have been shared in the first place; in essence, royalties for being ourselves, assuming we’re “valuable,” that is.

For the creative industry, the consensus is that for all its strides, AI has yet to evolve beyond being a very powerful assistant in the creative process. At present, it can create derivative work that resembles the art it’s been fed, but still lacks the ability to absorb what we know as inspiration. For example, IBM used its Watson AI to create a movie trailer for a horror movie after feeding it 100 trailers from films of that genre with each scene segmented and analyzed for visual and audio traits.

For now, the emergence of a data market doesn’t seem lucrative enough to birth a new class of workers (lest we all quit today to become walking data mines), but supposing the incentives were enticing and a company like Oasis could guarantee that data privacy was ensured, could we see more creators willing to give up some of their work? Perhaps even unpublished work that would never been seen? Would quick file uploads coupled with a hassle-free “for machine learning only” license mean an influx of would-be creators hoping to make data dividends off work they could license elsewhere too?

On one hand, it would provide a way for creatives to earn residuals off their work given that AI needs thousands if not millions of samples and other sources (such as websites for stock creative assets) might not be as lucrative. That said, just as different data sets are needed for different purposes, we might see the emergence of a metrics-based classification system to objectively grade subjective work and assign value to it.

And if those works can be graded, so too can their creators with all the opportunities that follow a “quality data” distinction. Maybe one day when a program like Watson reaches celebrity artist status, we can brag to our peers, “yeah, I taught it that.”

July 15, 2019

What are the immediate benefits and challenges of remote and distributed teams?


Now that it’s easier than ever to assemble teams of talented people across the world—without having to even share an office—what are some of the benefits and challenges faced by these technologically-enabled work arrangements?

 The new normal

In 2013, Scott Berkun authored a book called The Year Without Pants in which he shared his experience working remotely for WordPress. Since then, these non-traditional work arrangements have become the norm at many companies. They are categorised within 3 broad groups:

  • Fully Distributed: Where team members rarely come into the office and work almost exclusively through the Internet, such as WordPress when it first started.
  • Semi-Distributed: Where some of the roles such as leadership or management are staffed at a headquarters that manage distributed team or teams (Hashicorp, Mattermost).
  • Small Offices: Often new offices can be created to start and host functional teams such as support or sales development.

The challenges

While versatile, there are certainly challenges with having an arrangement like this. This includes ensuring good communication strategies across geographies, especially in cases where the team is distributed. In addition, it’s important to share valuable knowledge or decisions made in person by one part of the team across the network. Finally, the largest challenges can sometimes center around hiring and compensating contractors and employees in these teams, especially ensuring that a company’s practices comply with local laws.

Speaking from experience

While technology and global connectivity have made previously unheard of work arrangements possible, the versatility for both the company and the individuals involved (who often enjoy flexible schedules) does come at a price. For distributed teams in creative companies especially, one of the biggest challenges is creating and maintaining a passionate work culture despite a lack of in-person face time with which to exchange ideas on the fly.

What’s more is where dedicated operational personnel is lacking, this chemistry and synergy needs to be maintained through reliable systems that can account for complex detail-oriented creative work. This doesn’t just mean individual programs (such as if a team is sharing an Adobe CC license) but how the myriad of programs in a team’s chosen tech stack play together. In short, for these distributed creative companies to thrive, they must properly use location-freeing technologies. The tech must have limited energy-sapping snags to keep creative juices flowing.

– Nate Kan

May 23, 2019

Breaking down the science of beauty and how it influences creativity


In his 2013 book, The Aesthetic Brain, neuroscientist Anjan Chatterjee discusses our brain’s ability to have aesthetic experiences—those deep “magical” moments that leave us in awe. While these responses have evolved out of the same chemical and emotional pathway that helped us survive, they now help us understand why we like the things we like.

What makes an experience aesthetic?

According to Chatterjee, there are certain configurations of sensations and of objects in the world that produce an experience that is qualitatively different than just straight perception.

But what differentiates “aesthetic experiences” from pleasurable ones such as having a good meal or seeing something or someone attractive?

He believes one way aesthetic experiences distinguish themselves is by being self-contained: the experience doesn’t go beyond your own immersion and engagement with experience and it doesn’t come with an impulse to act such as a desire to purchase an object or show it to a friend.

Liking over wanting

Neuroscientist Kent Berridge refers to two systems that work together as part of our brain’s reward system: that of liking and that of wanting. In short, we tend to like the things we want and we want the things we like. Chemically and anatomically, however, they work differently in our brains.

Dopamine’s role in learning is key to helping us get what we want, whereas the “liking” system is purely about pleasure and is mediated by our opioid and cannabinoid receptors. These two systems can be disassociated, however, as in the case of addiction where we want something we don’t necessarily like anymore.

As far as aesthetic experiences go, the liking aspect takes precedence over the wanting aspect; we like for the sake of liking.

The aesthetic triad

Chatterjee and his contemporaries involved in neuroaesthetics believe that there are three means in the brain through which we can have an aesthetic experience and can help understand how our brain is being engaged.

  • Sensor motor circuitry: traditional beauty and scientific sense of “pleasing” aesthetics
  • Emotional and reward circuitry: the wanting and liking system
  • Semantic conceptual circuitry: refers to messages, cultural background, and contextual knowledge

This means that someone could have an aesthetic experience with a piece of art that is not necessarily “beautiful” in the traditional sense but by means of their knowledge of the nuances and concepts behind it and vice versa.

Context and culture

What we consider art and even what is likable to us changes with time and context. Despite our brains having remained largely the same for 150 years, our perceptions of objects that could move us toward an aesthetic experience are fluid and susceptible to influence.

In one Danish study, people were shown abstract images and in one condition, they were told the images were computer-generated with an algorithm. In another, they were told the exact objects were hanging in a gallery. Both the subjects’ verbal responses and imaging of their brain activity suggested they liked the images they thought were in a gallery more.

Our thoughts

Chatterjee’s view of creativity is essentially reconfiguring the problem and seeing it in a different way. He says our current culture emphasizes productivity and a brute force analytic approach to creative solutions without allowing for unstructured downtime—periods of low arousal such as showering or winding down before bed—for organic creative insights to emerge.

For creative people, our perceptions can become our references and our aesthetic experiences our inspirations. But because they can both be shaped and triggered by external contexts, our creativity—that is, our internally derived original thoughts—may very well depend on allocating more of our lives to said downtime. Otherwise, we risk investing more in consuming prevailing narratives instead of writing them ourselves.

May 17, 2019

Adobe Tells Users They Can Get Sued for Using Old Versions of Photoshop


In a move that shocked—or didn’t shock—Adobe users, the company announced that customers could face legal consequences for using old discontinued versions of Photoshop, warning them that they were “no longer licensed to use them.”

This week, Adobe began sending some users of its Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, Premiere, Animate, and Media Director programs letters warning that they weren’t legally allowed to use software they had previously purchased.

“We have recently discontinued certain older versions of Creative Cloud applications and and a result, under the terms of our agreement, you are no longer licensed to use them,” Adobe said in the email. “Please be aware that should you continue to use the discontinued version(s), you may be at risk of potential claims of infringement by third parties.”

How we got here

In 2013, Adobe moved away from its original business model, whereby users could purchase hard copies—and continue to use them regardless of later versions being released. The new subscription-based service Adobe Creative Cloud resulted in notably higher revenues due to the constant stream of monthly fees from users. Naturally, requiring users to regularly sign in online to confirm their paid subscription also curtailed the use of pirated or cracked versions of Adobe’s software that became widespread with the previous business model.

Everyone’s gone insane with subscriptions

Adobe’s transition to subscriptions isn’t necessarily new nor unusual. From video games and mobile apps to delivery-based health food plans and even clothing, business models based on subscriptions are extremely common now to ensure the companies providing them have regular cash flow. But the issue with software and other tech is that they are by their nature modifiable via wireless updates, meaning that features can be added, disabled or removed simply by going online. Worse, some companies can make these modifications mandatory and in Adobe’s case, make accepting the modifications mandatory to continue using the software or service.

And as you might have guessed, we’re also complicit in continuing this behavior because the stipulation that the company is free to do so is buried but clearly written in those End User License Agreements we unashamedly skip through and agree to. This gives companies—pardon the pun—free license to modify products that we don’t own in any concrete way and this most recent move extends to products people thought they owned in perpetuity.

What’s to be done?

Seeing as Adobe’s software serves as the industry standards for many creative fields (Premiere for video, Photoshop and Illustrator for graphic design and InDesign for publishing among others), it’s hard to peel away from that software we might have trained on, are used to or the rest of our collaborators are using. For established creatives, that’s a business expense that can certainly pay for itself (assuming you earn over $60 USD a month on projects), but it’s a big upfront cost for artists that are starting out or looking to go digital.

The solution for them? Draw a line in the sand and stick to open source or free programs that are actively maintained and have a community. There’s no Photoshop equivalent industry standard for creative writing work (as much as Microsoft Office wishes) because people care more about the end result more than the software it was produced on. If you have talent or willingness to create good work, even if it means a few more steps to do with free software what some of Adobe CC’s cutting edge technologies could do better and quicker, the portfolio will speak for itself.

For those tired of getting nickel-and-dimed? You might need to take stock of and start Marie Kondo-ing your monthly and yearly subscriptions and decide whether you could put those savings towards more permanent solutions you own (such as making your own NAS in place of regularly paying for cloud storage).

May 3, 2019

How Slack and the open office layout ruined productivity


Advanced workplace communication technologies and a return to humanistic office design were meant to make companies more innovative, making us both happy and productive. They did neither. Where did we go wrong and how do we come away from it?

Productivity Software

Software like Slack, Workplaces and Teams were meant to facilitate communication and get us away from the dreaded overflowing email inbox, but they also brought something just as bad in their wake:

  • The low barrier to entry of communication software means that people share information more frequently and with a significantly decreased quality of content.
  • Work communication becomes its own sort of social media, complete with its distracting allure as a time sink.
  • Rise in performative messaging and information sharing from remote workers to show that they were in fact working at their desks

Open Offices

The open layout of offices where workers are seated within eyeshot of each other or visible behind glass partitions allowed companies to both save on their leases by reducing square footage allotted per employee and give the impression that they were forward thinking and innovative. But this lack of barriers produced some unfavorable results as well:

  • There is no separation from other peoples’ in-person interactions, meaning you’re in earshot of all conversations but even when you have earbuds in, you also aren’t completely focused when things are constantly catching your eyes.
  • 65% of creative people need quiet or absolute silence to do their best work, an environment open offices can’t provide, especially if workers are required to be in office at all times.
  • At many companies, there was an increase in anxiety for women who not only felt personally more pressured by “being on display” all the time, they actually found male coworkers evaluating other female colleagues on their attractiveness, some of many factors that prompted women to seek “hiding spots” where they could find privacy.

How It All Adds Up

When the time lost to distractions in both digital and physical spaces adds up, that subtracts time from normal working hours, which prompts people to multitask hoping to recover that lost time.
The issue is that the length of distractions can increase with the given co-worker(s) and amount of distractions can scale with the size of a given team or department.
This far outweighs a single worker’s capacity to work faster and multitask, which is not actually a thing—it’s the inefficient switching between tasks.

Regardless of the nature of the job (9-5 versus flexible work hours), this almost always results in work being done far beyond regular work hours. While this is certainly fine for the occasional sprint, over time it means an eroded barrier between work and life. And the least productive our best hours of the day are, when we are at our peak focus and energy, the even worse our work is in our off hours.

How We Can Learn From This

Where the individual box-shaped cubicles of the 20th centrury were derided as isolating and alienating us from our coworkers to make mindless drones of us, open offices have made machines of us in different ways: as constantly online, aware, engaged and performing. That said, both styles of work have inherent advantages that can be leveraged to make our time in an office as rewarding as it is productive so we can all go home on time.

  • People are not gears, but we absolutely have them. We need to be able to switch from being inaccessibly focused on our tasks to produce the best work in a given period of time while also being open and attentive to interactions with other people. But we can’t do both at once and we can’t remain in one gear indefinitely. If the space can’t be physically structured to allow us to switch gears, the daily or weekly schedule must.
  • While the romantic notion of the grind and the hustle has simply changed vocabulary and style, in its very concept it means to work harder, but not necessarily smarter. Systems and metrics for KPIs can be oppressive if improperly or unfairly implemented, but these unsexy methods have their place in keeping us focused on what’s important as much as what’s urgent so that have work “diet” that is healthily balanced without too much junk (making office memes, anyone?)
  • For leaders and managers, recognize that provided there are specific measurable goals and deadlines agreed on in advance to measure everyone against, the quieter seemingly distant workers might not necessarily be less committed or involved in a project and the more vocal and active communicators might not necessarily be the most productive either.
April 18, 2019

Coworking spaces have positively shaped our professional identities

The Harvard Business Review conducted research with WeWork to find how coworking spaces have positive impacts on the workers that use them.

Coworking spaces then and now

Over 14,000 coworking spaces have opened worldwide since the first one appeared in 2005. They provided an environment with the amenities that most dedicated hospitality spaces couldn’t or didn’t provide such as at least power sockets and fast internet.

The concept caught on to the point that other types of businesses, ones that especially need to pay rent and deal with slow periods during the day, began converting to coworking spaces in some aspect. Today, these spaces support the needs of larger organizations, and not necessarily those launching coworking spaces as a retail estate play by providing a more economical location for their remote teams to meet, work and network.

Harvard’s research

Over the past several years, Harvard studied how amenities, branding, aesthetics, and unique cultures created from diverse people and companies working together under one roof impacted individual workers. They found workers benefit coworking spaces more than traditional offices, experiencing greater levels of flexibility and thriving (defined as vitality and learning at work), better networking, and a stronger sense of community.

Their latest study attempts to understand how highly curated coworking cultures impact the professional identities of members and their organizations and to what extent members of these more exclusive coworking spaces identified with the culture of their space and whether this changed how they identified with their company or employer. Here are some quick facts about that study:

  • Conducted with WeWork between 2017-2018 with 1,000 of their new individual members based in the United States
  • 71% worked full-time for companies either located in a WeWork office or used WeWork for remote teams and individuals
  • 29% were business owners, contractors, sole proprietors and part-time workers
  • The surveyed asked members to show their level of agreement with statements like “I have a lot in common with others at WeWork,” and “I have a lot in common with others in my organization.”

The findings

Overall, the study found that members still strongly identify with their work organizations and that the WeWork brand identity doesn’t dilute the identity of the organizations housed in their space. Instead, it suggested that workers are positively impacted when their work environment aligns with their company’s values and brand.

Further, coworking spaces gave some members a sense of community and legitimacy they might not have gotten from working at home or from a coffee shop. What’s more is those with company-subsidized memberships felt that their employers took their needs seriously and valued them as much as non-remote workers.

Devil’s advocate: could coworking spaces become the CrossFit boxes of productivity?

Like the open office layout heralded for breaking down the barriers cubicles built in the Yuppie era, we wonder if coworking spaces could eventually resemble little slices of the heaven we’d associate with massive millennial-friendly corporate HQs like the Googleplex: replete with amenities, an inspirational work culture, interior design from the future but also a potential honey trap in terms of work-life balance.

Like the CrossFit gyms that became popular for their supportive, if addictive fitness cultures, there could be similar consequences to coworking spaces that like gyms, are also membership-based spaces where cultures can begin. Where CrossFit “boxes” whipped tons of people in amazing shape, they also broke a lot of them due to overtraining and improper to downright unsafe exercise practices. Similarly, we know the obvious implications of an office that looks and feels much better than our favorite coffee shop or home.

April 16, 2019

AI is improving, not taking journalists' jobs

While the fear of AI replacing human jobs in certain sectors might be warranted, those in the journalism field can breathe a sigh of relief and even rejoice, according to journalists from the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, WIRED, Dogtown Media and Graphika.

Earlier in March, five journalists from those publications met with and spoke to over 1,000 students across the Missouri School of Journalism, the Trulaske College of Business, the College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Science on March 18-19 as part of the Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Innovation Series.

The overall message was that AI is bringing positive change to the news field such as through customized content, improved user relationships, moderating comment sections, and creating more efficient workflows.

Some key takeaways

  • Artificial intelligence is a tool to allow journalists to better understand readers. “Can we make a story more personally relevant to a user, to the reader, watcher or listener? If we can do that, that’s what makes people establish trust. Not just that the information is believable, but the information is believable AND it matters to ME.” (Jeremy Gilbert, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Washington Post)
  • We must recognize what AI is and is not capable of in order to make it work for us. It is certainly an imperfect tool, but has allowed Conde Naste publications to make more strategic spending decisions with advertising thanks to data that provides a better understanding of its users. (Jahna Berry, Head of Content Operations, WIRED)
  • AI offers a means for journalists to re-imagine and better leverage their skill sets. The issue that has always existed for journalists that “there’s always been more data than (journalists) can sift through, You just have to know how to ask the right questions (of) the data, the records, to get (to the) relevant story.” (Nick Monaco, Disinformation Analyst, Graphicka)
  • Journalists need to know who writes the algorithms behind AI, understand their intentions and ultimately hold them accountable. (Steve Rosenbush, Enterprise Technology Editor, The Wallstreet Journal)
  • AI is useful to journalists in allowing them to work smarter, faster and more efficiently. This will then free up more time for journalists and other knowledge workers to think creatively on problem solving and apply themselves to what they do best. (March Fischer, CEO and Co-founder, Dogtown Media)

We’ve been here before

In an episode of MAEKAN It Up, we discussed the potential impact of AI on the creative industries and the workers in them. As with journalism, the importance of human intuition will remain a key factor that prevents the complete replacement of human creative jobs, but it will at least replace a number of human tasks—hopefully the least desirable ones.

Regardless of the job nature, there will always be tasks that are important but time-consuming and that require significantly less creative thinking. And it’s these tasks that we would be happy to allow AI to “have” so that it frees us up to do other things that utilize more of our skill set. Or even better, it can do several rough but usable first passes or concepts that we can then tweak or re-iterate from.

Overall, like Monaco and Fischer above, we remain confident that for now, AI has a welcome role to play by doing our tasks, but they won’t be taking our entire jobs.

April 9, 2019

VSCO is suing PicsArt over reverse-engineered photo filters. Is preset armageddon approaching?

VSCO is suing PicsArt, a photo-sharing platform and editing app, for allegedly ripping off the company’s presets.

VSCO’s business of presets

While VSCO isn’t the only company to offer presets for sale (as well as free ones), they’re undoubtedly the best example of a company that has married community and photo editing. Early in VSCO’s existence, they offered a series of presets based off of classic film emulations that worked in tandem with Lightroom and Photoshop. Since then, VSCO has turned the corner to focus primarily on mobile and with it, a subscription service called VSCO X. VSCO X offers exclusive presets, transformative editing tools, and educational opportunities. To that point, VSCO’s presets are what draw in followers, but they stay for the community. To date, there are 187.5m #vsco and 197.6m #vscocam hashtags on Instagram.

What’s the VSCO and PicsArt beef?

  • VSCO alleges that 17 or more PicsArt employees made accounts on VSCO
  • PicsArt then reverse engineered 19 of VSCO’s presets, and then integrated them into their own platform as PicsArt exclusives under their Gold subscription plan
  • This is in direct violation of VSCO’s terms where users “agree not to sell, license, rent, modify, distribute, copy, reproduce, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, publish, adapt, edit or create derivative works from any VSCO Content.”

Is there actual merit or do they just look really similar?

Actually, there are cold, hard numbers that suggest they’re direct rips:

“VSCO’s color scientists have determined that at least nineteen presets published by PicsArt are effectively identical to VSCO presets that are only available through a VSCO account. Specifically, VSCO determined that those PicsArt filters have a Mean Color Difference (“MCD”) of less than two CIEDE2000 units (in some cases, far less than two units) compared to their VSCO counterparts. An MCD of less than two CIEDE2000 units between filters is imperceptible to the human eye and cannot have been achieved by coincidence or visual or manual approximation. On information and belief, PicsArt could have only achieved this degree of similarity between its filters and those of VSCO by using its employees’ VSCO user accounts to access the VSCO app and reverse engineer VSCO’s presets.”

Why is it a big deal?

The photography influencer community has relied upon alternative revenue streams outside of their actual craft which includes workshops and presets. Some personalities like James Popsys are adamant against presets based on creative principle, but the general sentiment is that many photographers are using preset bases such as VSCO to which they make small tweaks, repackage, and sell them to their followers.

Notable court cases like VSCO bring to light that the gig might be up for repackaged VSCO sellers who are moving the highlight slider ever so slightly and desaturating a photo.

March 23, 2019

What It Takes is a book by MAEKAN Community's Dillion S. Phiri and focuses on Africa's young creatives

Creative Nestlings Whatever It Takes Book Dillion S. Phiri

What It Takes is a book that documents the emerging creative class in Africa. The book published by Dillion S. Phiri, founder of Creative Nestlings, serves as a tool to connect Africa and beyond. The multi-faceted Creative Nestlings platform focuses on “nurturing a curious, creative, innovative and entrepreneurial mindset” across Africa. For the book, Whatever It Takes, Dillion and his team captured the story of 60 young African creatives and outlined their processes and challenges in an emerging world. It’s an exciting time for the continent of Africa and its diaspora. The intersection of global network and connective tools are resulting in some exciting opportunities ahead.

What It Takes is available now via hardcover for USD 48.63.

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