School of Athens 59 | What I learnt about our industry while playing beach volleyball with Plato.

school of athens newsletter Aug 06, 2021



Hi, it's David here.

The School of Athens is fittingly coming to you from the island of Zakynthos in Greece this week where Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Pythagoras, Archimedes and I are enjoying some well earned rest in between semesters.

Well, I say rest, but I'm not the only one who finds that due to the changes in ways of working over the past few years, a few of us have been seen to pull out the laptop and make hay while the sun shines.

No wonder the old agency business is struggling to attract talent back into their old ways of working.

An article this week in Campaign, entitled Agencies Scramble to attract talent amid shortages, discusses how creative and media agencies, which laid off thousands of people during the pandemic, are now desperate to fill openings as clients start to spend again.

For years these agencies and holding companies have treated staff as disposable assets and all the talk lately of new values, diversity and flexible work is hiding the fact that we have moved from an employer to an employee centric world where the Premier League of talent holds the power.

We created BeenThereDoneThat six years ago to create ways of working that work for everybody - and it's not surprising that we have been inundated with calls looking for work from some of the best in the business, at a point where we've been doing the best work since we started.

Fast Company released their 100 best workplaces for innovators report this week and Moderna came out at number one.

Moderna accomplished this at a time when, like every other company, it was forced by the pandemic to shift to a distributed workforce that grew from 800 at the end of 2019 to more than 1,300 by the end of 2020.

Remote work, the company learned during its epic 2020 sprint, offered unexpected benefits for its innovators - access to leadership, a more level playing field for introverts, and an expanded talent pool due to the elimination of geographic limitations.

In another Fast Company article (never has the name of this publication been more relevant) entitled "Your brain has limits. Here are some simple ways to extend your mind", Annie Murphy Paul shares 5 tips from her latest book.

Forget about thinking outside the box, this is all about "the power of thinking outside the brain". It turns out we gain access to reserves of intuition, memory and attention that are not available to the "naked brain" when we engage our whole body, tap into the power of nature (working by the water) and socialising with other smart curious people (choose your resort wisely).

Interconnected, a blog by Matt Webb, a writer who is certainly curious, featured a piece this week entitled, "Horsehistory study and the automated discovery of new areas of thought."

It's the type of unstructured, rambling free thought piece that you often only get time to read when you’re sitting on your deck chair waiting for Socrates to finish his swim, but is so rewarding when you do, and opens the mind to so many different ways of thinking.

As always, we are curious to hear what you think.

David Alberts
Co-Founder at BeenThereDoneThat



1. Agencies Scramble to Attract Talent Amid Shortage

Read Time: 7m 

Do legacy agencies have the remotest idea about remote working or have they missed the boat?




2. Fast Company's 100 Best Workplaces for Innovators 2021

Read Time: 5m

A celebration of companies who continued to foster creative cultures during a period of unprecedented global disruption.





3. Your Brain Has Limits

Read Time: 4m

Your brain has limits. Here are some simple ways to extend your mind, according to science.





4. Horsehistory Study the Automated Discovery of New Areas of Thought

Read Time: 10m

Free thinking blog that makes you think.



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