We hope you are enjoying the beautiful spring!
As a member of our community, you’ll be receiving this Letter at least every month going forward. (You can always unsubscribe here — hearts will be broken, but we’ll hold no grudges). The Letter will feature regular updates on all House of Beautiful Business activities, including upcoming dinners and salons in Europe and the US, and our soon-to-be-announced program for our flagship event in Lisbon on November 3-8. We also aim to spark conversation and insights on all things beautiful business, so we will share essays, blog posts, and other content found at the intersection of business, technology, and humanity(ies).
Two weeks ago, we attended the TED Conference in Vancouver where we co-hosted a dinner together with our partner, the BCG Henderson Institute. We invited 50 select TED attendees to explore “The Amazement Cycle” with us, from intrigue to inspiration to boredom to annoyance to worry and back. Toastmasters included Beth Comstock (former vice chair of GE), Frida Polli (CEO, Pymetrics), Tony O’Driscoll (Head of Duke CE Labs), and Shelby Jiggets-Tivony (Executive Creative, Disney Parks). The soundtrack was composed and performed live by “musebots” — creative AI that was riffing on each of the Cycle’s moods.
The dinner was a nod to the theme of this year’s TED conference, “The Age of Amazement,” which begs the question — in light of the recent Facebook crisis and overall techlash — of whether what we really need is less amazement and more beauty in business. If anything, here are “4 things business must do to make the term 'amazing' meaningful again.”
The original meaning of amazement (before it became trivialized as "awesome") was bewilderment, and bewilderment seems to be an accurate description of our current global sentiment, as we find ourselves in a deep transition that is both painful and enthralling. Existing narratives are feeling old, and we are in dire need for new ones.
This is what we’re trying to accomplish with the House of Beautiful Business. As our friend and advisor, INSEAD professor Gianpiero Petriglieri, put it, “every vision is a place.” Ours is a house, designed to collectively craft, embody, feel, taste, and smell new visions for the future of work — and humanity. Gianpiero, in his new essay on the importance of tribes for one's career, articulates the very essence of our House: to be a safe and a strong space.
To get you into the mood for November, here’s our preliminary floorplan...
WORTH A READ
“Can Bots Help Us Deal with Grief?” by Evan Selinger / With his invention of a chatbot simulating his deceased father, Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad sparked a discussion about the “digital resurrection,” the ancient idea of tricking death, and the consequences on human feelings.
“Can the World’s Largest Dictionary Survive the Internet?” [The Guardian podcast] / The magic of dictionaries, the smell of old paper and collected wisdom — and the efficiency of online translators. One of our favorite podcasts about the future of things that should remain.
“How We Can Teach Computers to Make Sense of Our Emotions” / In his TED Talk, Raphael Arar explains how art teaches AI to understand complex feelings such as nostalgia and intuition to reach the ultimate goal of creating future technology that is both intelligent and human.
“Here’s How to Win at Monopoly, According to Math Experts” by Hannah Fry and Thomas Oléron Evans / The heart beats faster, the level of frustration reaches new heights. For the ones of you who still like to play board games (and want to avoid the negative side effects), here's a bulletproof way to outsmart luck in any upcoming Monopoly game.
“The New Power Structure” by David Brooks and “New Power” by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms / Old vs. New Power, hierarchies vs. movements, and a glimpse behind the scenes of the structures that shape our world (and the human beings who thrive in them).
“Embracing the Robot” by John Danaher / What makes a great relationship, and will we be able to create robots that understand the definition of love? What sounds crazy to most is already a reality — and John's approach a refreshing and optimistic one we think the world needs.
“Ideas, Emotions, and Innovation: Riding the Amazement Cycle” by Martin Reeves, Tim Leberecht, and Jack Fuller / When worry turns into the feeling of intrigue, and curiosity fights the initial fear of something new, it energizes us to play and take action. For leaders and innovators especially, being aware of the idea-journeys can be essential to creating more value and harnessing the perfect timing for things that might change the world.
“The End of Wow, The Beginning of Beauty” by Tim Leberecht / “The difference between wow and beauty is the difference between useful and precious, between merely engaging customers and truly touching them emotionally.” Read Tim’s take on the current Facebook affair, the meaning of trust in times of a fundamental digital crisis, and the outcomes we hope for that would make our businesses, relationships, and ultimately our lives, more beautiful.
Ps. Worth listening to: the Soundtrack of Beautiful Business on Spotify.
With warm regards,
Your House of Beautiful Business team