I Am Having An Existential Moment Here! A Reflection on Dystopian Threats And Cultural Cures.

Over the last 5-10 years, I have morphed my learning focus away from the straight and narrow of MarComms. At first, it was through the lens of “Enterprise Social” – I saw an opportunity for collaboration tools to unlock new value inside the enterprise.

I sponsored it and fought for it. I went hardcore, I kept the deep bruises as reminders.

Thereafter, the last 3-5 years, my thoughts went higher level, to the “Future of Work.” Where are we heading with all this technology and change agency / management?

The investigation has been mostly optimistic – an unfolding of the personal opportunity for those who actively seize the day. Personal branding is the sharing of the skills within the network; it says “I can help you!”

share-your-workThe downside of change, of accelerating change, is an unpredictable future for those not permanently on their toes. Automation, outsourcing, machine learning, AI…a generic stat seems to be 30-40% of jobs are under threat.


My very active initiative in this field is a highly personal one. I want to see the future of work as that optimistic opportunity, not a looming threat.

However. However…

This year, I have spent a lot of time reading about and watching the world on a more existential level. What is our experience of the world? How do I orient my expectations against that which goes on around me?

It started with Brexit; then the Trump train; #FakeNews; now the #RussiaGate geo-political games; heck, even the Oscars debacle turned my gaze, had me scratching my head.

I have found myself drawn to more conspiracy theories as I try to determine WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?!

I think a Jessica Hagy cartoon

My media consumption has moved away from light social (FB, IG etc.) towards the tumult that is twitter. I am devouring strange, disturbing, agnostic drama like Humans, Black Mirror, Legion.

How we get more people interconnected through an enterprise social network just doesn’t seem at all interesting when there are existential threats hither and thither! The global narrative is stormy, uncertain. To stay grounded (and sane), I am turning to my own narrative instead, my company’s too.

How can we determine and define and showcase our culture through the stories of our people? This seems the only way forward for me, when strategy is proving to be suspect and subverted so quickly and easily by the shifting sands of geopolitics and market incongruence.

Culture is my new North Star, not collaboration. I want to tell more, better, deeper stories. I want to unlock more meaning amidst the uncertainty.

Firstly, as always, for myself, so I can remain upright and attentive. I need to reflect on what goes on round here and feel some solid ground – of gratitude, wellness, of healthy endeavours undertaken by good people. I need that strength.

I can only then hope that others will get the benefit too. Culture is a subtle behemoth, creeping up oh so gradually until it belly flops all over you. I feel that I can guide its journey in the right direction, towards the deep blue sea, away from the crashing, crushing surf.

It is difficult for me to ask others: are the walls compacting in on you too? Do you smell that fear? So I am making a guess at the best course of action. To reach out and touch my strong, brave, noble brethren and let them speak their truth, righteous and true.


In their reflection is a possibility that counteracts all this global stuff. It is relevant, purposeful, adding value, nourishing. And in those small reactionary steps, I can again see the wood for the trees.

I can also return to my foundational question: how can I help?

Here is more about marketing’s solution to structural issues, and how I am addressing them.

←This Much We Know.→


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