Under the Current tells the stories behind the life and work of creative people who come at things in unconventional ways.
#6 - Andrew Hutton: what emerges in early stage companies, discovering founder identities, and launching and relaunching
Starting a new company? Let's be honest - it's hard.
In the midst of a global pandemic? Yep, definitely hard.
Compared to a decade ago there are now far more places to get support in those early days, but Andrew Hutton and the team at Day One feel there are still some gaps that urgently need to be filled.
With the belief that entrepreneurship is going to be the most important skill of the 21st century, Day One are seeking to rethink the way early stage companies get built, going beyond the narrative of venture capital as the be-all and end-all, and to support all kinds of founders who are focused on outcomes, not just achievements.
In this conversation we get into challenging the conventions around building early stage companies, the identity shift when becoming a founder, how to focus on outputs first, and understanding which game you're really playing.
06:30: The conventions around ‘early-stage’ startups
14:00: Conforming to typical milestones and points, and what’s shifting
20:30: What emerges during the early stages, and the questions of identity around being a founder
32:30: Chasing dreams with rigor, and the shift from inputs to outputs
40:00: What Andrew rewired in himself as he became a company founder
47:00: The meta game of running a business that helps other businesses
52:00: Building a community and education business that isn’t built around a guru
55:00: Launching, relaunching, and what happens when the energy starts to dissipate
61:00: Pockets of influence and figuring out the game you’re playing
64:00: Underestimating time
#5 - Zoe Scaman: non-linear careers, sharing work in public, and dealing with self doubt
Back in 2008, Kevin Kelly wrote a now legendary article on the long tail, and the concept of 1000 true fans. It's a concept that's gained ground in the 12 years since it was first posted, and in 2020, those trends around fandoms and the wide creator economy are - like a lot else in the world - accelerating.
Today here are many new voices and platforms. 1000 true fans becomes 100. There are Macro trends in micro communities and micro payments. The way we create and consume content of all kinds is changing at an extraordinary rate.
In the middle of all this, both as a guide for brands and creators, and as a creator building a brand of their own, is Zoe Scaman.
Zoe's spent time at some of the world's leading brands and agencies - from Naked Communications and Droga5; to Adidas and Ridley Scott's Creative Group.
Today she runs the strategy studio Bodacious, helping develop and define compelling brands of all flavors.
Unafraid to share what she's learnt, and shout out the successes in public, she's built a significant following over the past 12 months in particular. But it's not all been an upward curve.
We talk about the ill-fitting nature of the word 'fit' when organizations are looking for talent; rejecting linear progression and social conventions; the deep fear held by many people in the advertising industry; and the value - and challenges - of putting yourself out there in the world.
04:00: Why ‘fit’ is dangerous for many businesses
08:30: The vindication of having ‘Range’, and rejecting the linear path
16:30: Who was missing for Zoe when she was at school
20:00: What it means to ‘bang down the door’
22:30: Persistence vs. Confidence
28:00: The Phoenix and The Magpie
32:30: What 22 year old Zoe would make of Zoe today
34:00: The shift from employee to owner
40:00: The bit before Bodacious, and dealing with the self doubt
45:00: What happens when a full-time gig comes along… and making a vote of confidence in yourself
50:30: Putting yourself out in the world, and managing energy
57:00: The anger and fear held by others
64:00: Homesteading, and staying curious
69:00: Culivating fandoms - for others, and for yourself
#4 - Taneshia Nash-Laird: how cultural institutions help shape cities, creating platforms for others, and rediscovering deferred dreams
Taneshia Nash Laird is a social change agent and community developer with a pretty incredible resume.
She's served as the Executive Director of the Arts Council of Princeton, notably as the first person of color in that role. She's been the Director of Economic Development for the city of Trenton New Jersey; and co-founded Legendary Eats in LA's Staples Center alongside NBA legend James Worthy. With her late husband Roland, Taneshia she also co-founded MIST Harlem, a popular entertainment center in New York City.
She was also a special government employee during the Obama Administration, and her nonprofit board service has included the the Advocates for New Jersey History, Artpride, and the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation.
Today, Taneshia is the President and CEO of Newark Symphony Hall, a historic performing arts center, currently undergoing a $40 million renovation, including a huge neighborhood revitalization project called Symphony Works.
Widowed in 2013 and a pink lady warrior since an early stage breast cancer diagnosis in 2019, above all these achievements Taneshia is most proud of being a mother to two young daughters.
In this conversation we talk about lessons from The Great Depression that can help move today's world forward; how to stay resilient when selling; the misconceptions around arts organizations; her hopes for the next generation; and how to come back towards a dream that's been deferred.
02:30: The city of Newark, its history, and its cultural institutions
07:00: What it’s like to take over running a 90+ year old arts organization
13:00: Taking ideas from recovery after The Great Depression and mapping them to 2020
21:00: Misconceptions of the operation of a nonprofit arts organization
24:00: Life’s a Pitch - how to sell, and stay positive and resilient
31:00: Seeing, touching, and deferring dreams
37:00: 4 parts of a daily practice, and coming back to the work each day
47:00: The meaning of purpose, impact, and legacy
55:00: Lessons from 2020
61:00: Taneshia’s peak moments to date
69:00: The importance of bringing others into the room
#3 - Dave Clarke: The next chapter for the electronic music scene
From his first release on XL Recordings in 1990, through to being called 'The Baron of Techno' by legendary BBC Radio 1 presenter John Peel; to his most recent project with classical musician Mathilde Marsal, and continuing to eschew trends in an industry that has a new flavor of the month almost every week - you can't pin down Dave Clarke as just another dance music producer and DJ.
Shaped by punk, rap and acid house in a youth where he ran away from home, sleeping in car parks and on beaches, today he plays techno with the flair and ferocity of a hip-hop turntablist, hosts his own stage at the enormous Tomorrowland festival, and is close to publishing the 800th episode of his White Noise radio show that has dozens of FM partners around the world.
He's opinionated, erudite and - by his own account - has an anarchist streak a mile wide. All of which shine through in this wide-ranging conversation.
We get into what punk represents, building long-lasting relationships, what the future looks like for new artists in the electronic music scene, and why he's maybe a little misunderstood.
04:00: The current mood in Amsterdam, and the Dutch approach to tackling Covid-19
08:30: Dave’s shift in focus in 2020, and taking the time to recover
15:00: Engineering as procrastination
17:30: Working with classical musicians
23:45: Professional environments
27:00: Long-lasting relationships, and staying consistent over a long period of time
30:15: What does punk does - and doesn’t - mean
34:30: What happens next for electronic music
38:30: The path forward for the younger generation of artists
41:00: The draw of radio
45:45: Following technology, and improving the work
50:00: Managing the balance of introvert and extrovert
54:00: Untangling hard work, skill, talent, and luck
57:00: Hope for the future - politically-driven music, and shifts in social media
#2 - Luciana Rozenberg: Form and function in fashion
Luciana is the founder of fashion brand Naissant - a womenswear line that takes a modular approach to female accessories.
Coming from a family of Argentinian architects, Luciana has a unique perspective on product design, and balancing form and function. We talk about the importance of the women in her life, going from prototype to products, and why big cities matter.
03:45: The first few weeks post-launch
06:00: Conversations around the family table
10:00: Growing up in a architects’ family in Argentina
18:15: Feeling different, and the impact of big cities
21:45: Understanding London’s fashion hub
38:30: Being underestimated by the institutions, and underestimating NYC
43:00: Dealing with uncertainty of being a founder
47:30: Balancing creativity and business
52:00: Aspects of architecture in fashion
57:15: How do you know when something is working, even in prototype phase?
64:00: The importance of the muse
69:00: The impact of women on the work
- Naissant Instagram
#1 - Joey Cofone: Tools for thinking, and mindsets for building
Joey Cofone is co-founder of Baronfig - a company that makes tools for thinking.
We talk about the mirage of failure, recognising the spectrum of what’s difficult, and alternative approaches to rebranding. Joey also explains what designs means to him, and why he doesn't identify with most of today's design industry.
02:15: Learnings from two Luigis
10:00: Developing a love of books
13:00: Rebranding Prince - in an unexpected way
21:00: What design means, and the fracture between two types of design
28:30: Bringing literature into design school
36:00: The catalyst for Baronfig
39:30: Dealing with the unknown between Kickstarter and a ‘real’ business
42:30: What failure really means
48:30: The spectrum of difficult, and dealing with tragedy
52:00: Are things fated? Exploring fate vs. free will
56:30: Framing lack of fate in an empowering way
57:30: Going remote in 2020
65:00: What a notebook does for its owner
70:00: Why video games are the ultimate form of creative expression
73:00: How school needs to change post-pandemic
- Joey Cofone