After years of misinformation, security breaches, abhorrent labor practices and election meddling, politicians have decided it’s finally time to regulate the major tech companies.

It’s almost impossible to think that, as recently as a decade ago, large technology companies were considered agents for democracy that would usher in an era of unprecedented transparency and civic engagement. Their devices and platforms were built (and marketed) as bastions of free expression and the unfettered exchange of goods and ideas.

Recent history has taught us that these companies’ platforms are too susceptible to bad actors, disinformation and illegal data tracking to go unchecked…

Animation of the cover photo for Martin Lind’s album Metanoia.

“Wow! Where did you get that?” he asked, pointing to my shirt, a white tee with their album cover emblazoned on the front.

“I.. I uh.. I made it myself,” I responded.

I was just a shy, long-haired, 14-year-old kid, backstage with Boghandle — Denmark’s coolest grunge band.

Ever since I heard their second album, Step on It, I was hooked. I was a big fan of Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains at the time, but most Danish grunge was too soft. Too pop. Too Danish.

Boghandle was different.

Raw, edgy and real, it was a breath of fresh…

Photo by Amos Bar-Zeev via Unsplash

As I’ve written before, change is not accelerating.

Yes, the world is changing. But the change is not accelerating.

In modern history, the most accurate graph to illustrate societal change consists of continuous or overlapping S-curves.

Like this, more or less:

Photo by Pawel Janiak via Unsplash

What will the future of business be like? One way of finding out is arguably to focus on future challenges in society at large.

In 2017, Geoffrey Jones, professor in Business History at Harvard Business School, published Profits and Sustainability. In the opening lines, he wrote: “The degradation of the natural environment presents the greatest challenge faced by humanity.”

He has continued to pursue this theme and has just published a follow-up book, Varieties of Green Capitalism: Industries, Nations and Time.

After my first conversation with Geoffrey regarding lessons from business history, I therefore returned to speak with him again…

Photo by Bill Gates via Gatesnotes

In earlier posts, I’ve argued why companies need to play the long game and leave their short-term focus behind. Why they need to be system builders. And why they even need to be boring.

But do companies need to be companies?

As odd as this question might sound, there’s actually a great deal of thought behind it. And the answer is… No.

For some reason, we take for granted that businesses are driving economic progress and innovation in our societies. But it’s not the case. It’s not that simple.

The state matters

First of all, it’s clear that the state matters. Both 9/11…

Photo by VGrigas via Wikimedia

In this day and age of Trump, tech and anti-trust, it’s easy to forget the quiet Internet miracle that is Wikipedia.

I will argue that Wikipedia — the no. 5 most visited website in the world — is the best thing on the Internet. It’s free, there are no ads, the knowledge is so vast, and it’s user-generated.

With Wikipedia, we witness what the Internet can also be. That’s really important to remember, not least amid the so-called “tech backlash”.

Therefore, I was pleased when Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, agreed to talk.

In recent years, Jimmy has been very…

Photo by Alessio Jacona on Flickr

Some of us are old enough to remember the halcyon days of social media, when we genuinely believed it would be a force for good in the world.

The early evidence was promising. There was the Arab Spring, in which citizens across the Middle East used Twitter and YouTube to organize mass demonstrations against oppressive regimes in their respective countries. The Occupy movement, a populist response to the greed and corruption that caused the late-’00s financial collapse, was largely a product of social media activism, as were the anti-austerity protests that took place in Greece and Spain in the early…

Some background first. I’ve been working with digital strategy and communication for more than 10 years. Among other things, I was the person behind Maersk’s success story on social media back in 2011–13.

I have always believed — and have been quoted saying — that you should not use social to sell, but to communicate. You can sell your products elsewhere, via platforms where it’s what people actually want from you. Via your newsletter, for example.

But things have changed. Social media is not social media any more. From a marketing perspective, social media is first and foremost paid media…

“I was pretty much afraid of everything. Afraid of the world, afraid of speaking — a really, really shy kid. And music was a way to speak. As simple as that.”

These words belong to Metallica’s James Hetfield, from the opening lines of Guitar Center’s most popular video on their YouTube channel.

The video does what many other corporate videos fail to do: It opens on an emotion soon followed by a promise to the viewer. Also, there’s a main character who’s got something at stake and is not trying to hide it.

Whoever edited this sure knows the key…

Jonathan Wichmann

Co-founder of Wichmann/Schmidt. Digital creative and strategist. Author of "Leth and boredom".

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