Brilliant Reads: embracing failure, Instagram Stories and floating cities

Welcome to Brilliant Reads. This week we’re discussing how business can learn from failure, why founders aren’t always the best people for the job and Instagram’s ever changing news feed.

Moving the focus from founders to teams

Startup founders have always been placed on pedestals by the business community. From Facebook to Google, young entrepreneurs build confidence with skills and enthusiasm. Founders build success with feverish energy, but their inexperience can cause problems as the organisation grows. Founders often build businesses that embrace ideals of tolerance, equality and opportunity – yet can be ill-equipped to deal with future challenges.

What if we replaced this focus on the sole founder of the company with a reverence for well balanced teams? With a variety of different ideas, creativity and experience startups might be more prepared for growth, and the potential impact of what follows.

The end of the cult of the founder
Wired, 5 Mins

Could Instagram Stories steal the throne from the Feed?

Stories, Instagram’s ephemeral photo and video sharing tool, could overtake the social platform’s standard news feed very soon. Video watch time on the platform is up 80% year-on-year, which is an encouraging figure for the two million advertisers currently working with Instagram. According to Instagram’s CEO, Stories is “largely video”, which creates a huge opportunity for businesses to reach an increasingly interactive audience.

Brands should take note as Stories marks a prominent shift in the content consumers spend their time on. In this article a potential future Instagram layout is demonstrated that combines a Stories-focused screen with a Stories-first approach.

Imagining Instagram Stories First
TechCrunch, 8 Mins

How apprenticeships could make marketing more socially diverse

The marketing industry has many diversity challenges and social diversity can often be overlooked. The Marketing Academy Foundation aims to change this by raising awareness of marketing as a career among people who wouldn’t otherwise consider it an option, through their new apprenticeship scheme.

These apprenticeships are an excellent opportunity to find previously hidden talent and broaden diversity throughout organisations. Expanding the pool of potential employees not only makes recruitment easier but also broadens the experience of the workforce and can give your organisation a better insight into diverse audiences.

Making marketing a career option for people from socially diverse backgrounds
Marketing Week, 5 Mins

Learning from failure: the right way to be wrong

Businesses must move past the fear of failure to develop and grow new ideas. There will be times that ideas and projects fail, and that is ok. It’s important that leaders and their organisations continue to learn at the same pace that the world is changing.

Some of the most successful CEOs from organisations including Amazon, Netflix and Coca-Cola are encouraging their teams to take risks. The goal is to encourage innovation, even if it comes with a higher chance of disappointment (such as Coca-Cola’s infamous ‘New Coke’ mistake).

That may leave you thinking, is there a right way to be wrong? You must change your perception of failure itself. It’s not an obstacle of learning, it’s an integral part of the learning experience.

How Coca-Cola, Netflix, and Amazon learn from failure
Harvard Business Review, 4 Mins

Could Waterworld become a reality?

Entire self-sufficient cities built upon the surface of the ocean (seasteading as it’s officially known) may seem like a farfetched futuristic idea – but we may be closer than we realise. The San Francisco based Seasteading Institute is aiming to have the first structures afloat by 2020 with entire cities built by 2050.

These floating cities are designed to give people a chance to reconfigure society and government in neutral international waters. There are obstacles; pirates have emerged as a threat in certain regions and no one knows how governments may react to miraculous offshore neighbours popping up.

The team are currently focusing their efforts in French Polynesia as the government has granted a 100 acre beachfront special economic zone for them to launch the first project. Could this be the future of societies as we know them or will the project end up stranded at sea?

Floating Cities, No Longer Science Fiction, Begin to Take Shape
New York Times, 5 Mins