The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout. This is a relatively short book. Only 130 pages or thereabouts. As the name suggests, the book is structured into 22 laws, each with 1 chapter.

Got this book after I decided to learn a bit about marketing. Having been through an entire finance degree and retaining little useful information about finance, however, I opted to learn about marketing with a “lean” amount of information. Perhaps you understand why I chose this particular non-fiction from among other books of the marketing genre.

In order to crystallise and consolidate my own knowledge from the book and also to create a useful summary, I’ll briefly summarise each of the 22 laws.

  1. The Law of Leadership. If you are perceived as being the first to do something there is a psychological preference given in buying decisions. I think this is Apple’s main advantage over Samsung with smart phones, it’s certainly part of the reason I prefer Apple.
  2. The Law of the Category. “If you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in”. In other words, don’t try to beat Toyota in the car market, but perhaps try to beat them in a certain niche of the car market.
  3. The Law of the Mind. Closely related to the Law of Leadership. This states that it’s not so important that you are first in the market as you are first in the market in the minds of consumers. If you are first, people have to know that for it be advantageous.
  4. The Law of Perception. Marketing is not a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions. Often it’s not hard and fast facts which lead to marketing success, but rather working perceptions so as to influence consumer behaviour. It’s not so much about objective facts about products as it is about presenting products in a compelling way. In the long run, the best product does not always win.
  5. The Law of Focus. It’s a great victory in marketing if a company can own a word in the customer’s mind. FedEx managed to put the word “overnight” in peoples’ minds and their success skyrocketed because there was demand for that.
  6. The Law of Exclusivity. Two companies cannot control the same word in the customer’s mind. The one who already owns the word has managed to retain it time and time again.
  7. The Law of the Ladder. People tend to have a mental image of hierarchies between firms in certain industries, and if a company acts as if they are higher than they are they look upstart. Perhaps like they have no social intelligence. Thus the marketing strategy needs to take into account the company’s place on the ladder.
  8. The Law of Duality. In the long run every market becomes a two-horse race. I believe that this is due to the following law. Basically people tend to choose the product or they’ll choose the alternative. Think Apple and Samsung.
  9. The Law of the Opposite. If you want to be number two, present a popular alternative, don’t try to do what they do also.
  10. The Law of Division. Market categories divide over time. Thus the total number of categories tends to increase and become more niche.
  11. The Law of Perspective. These forces tend to occur over an extended period of time i.e. over the long run.
  12. The Law of Line Extension. It’s difficult to get a foothold in an established market so firms often leverage their existing brands. This weakens the brand in its key market category so this might not be smart in the long run.
  13. The Law of Sacrifice. The three things to sacrifice are product line, target market and change with time. Basically you need to say no to certain things in order to stand for something.
  14. The Law of Attributes. If the market leader is toothpaste that “fights cavities” for example, there are often other attributes which people will look for. “Whitens teeth” is another good attribute.
  15. The Law of Candor. A message of self-effacing honesty can make people drop their guards and be more receptive, there should be a positive message in there as well though.
  16. The Law of Singularity. It tends to be better to make singular definite moves than multiple unsure ones. Also, there is only ever one line of best practise, all others being relatively ineffectual. Not sure about that last part.
  17. The Law of Unpredictability. Peter’s law: the unexpected is always what happens.
  18. The Law of Success. “Ego is the enemy”. Success leads to arrogance and arrogance leads to failure.
  19. The Law of Failure. Failure is to be expected and accepted. Organisations should have the ability to accept failure. Japanese firms are good at doing this because they have a consensus approach to decision-making.
  20. The Law of Hype. The press often gets it wrong. The real story is often happening quietly, off the front pages.
  21. The Law of Acceleration. There are trends and fads. Trends last over the long term and accelerate slowly. Fads accelerate very quickly but don’t last long. Think Pokemon GO. Unless you have a way of cashing in big time from a fad, it’s usually better to hang your hat on a trend.
  22. The Law of Resources. Applies to business in general but regarding marketing, a good idea won’t have great effect if it’s not adequately funded.

The Paradoxes of Being a Single Male

At this moment I’m sitting in a bookshop cafe in central Melbourne. It’s my best effort at finding the most tranquil place within a 5km radius that one can work in. It’s barely tranquil at all, but at least other people are relatively quiet here as they go about their business.

This is a topic that’s not often spoken about. That is because the people who are apt to do so, single men, are discouraged in various ways. I don’t mean to complain, but I’m also not really in the mood to not express myself about it. Maybe drawing light onto it in public fashion will alleviate a few quanta of pain and resistance from my life.

The pain point is a simple thing. The sort of thing that would make most people shrug their shoulders and look at me askance. That’s how these conversations usually go when you’re an empath talking about perceptions, people have no idea what you’re talking about.

I’ll try to explain. Whenever I leave my apartment in central Melbourne I find myself surrounded by people, hundreds of them. There are many beautiful girls around. As natural as anything, my eyes are unconsciously drawn to attractive women, especially ones that I’ve never seen before. Lately I’ve been noticing that most often, as soon as I can sense there’s an attractive girl there they will do this reaction that really bothers me. It’s like a rejecting sort of gesture where they cover their breasts (even though I wasn’t looking at them) or touch their face as if I’m being unseemly. I hate that gesture. As I go about my day it feels like I’m copping dozens of rejections when I’m not really even doing anything. If I had a choice I wouldn’t want to be out of control like this, but I can’t help it.

Probably seems like I’m being overly sensitive to complain about a gesture. It’s true that I am a relatively sensitive, empathetic guy. I have a libido as well. And a fine eye for beauty. Can’t really change that.

I don’t recall this ever being a problem in the past. Feminist vibes were always what bothered me the most (by the way I am endlessly vindicated for that nowadays and it feels so good). Maybe it’s because I wasn’t noticing it, maybe it’s because society has changed or maybe it’s because I have changed so women respond to me differently. In any case, this is what’s bothering me lately.

I think I’m ok looking. 180cm, boyish features and better dressed than average. Probably a solid 5 out 10 all in all, 6 if you count the long hair, approaching 7 if I’m been working out a lot and wearing a suit. Have got an eccentric vibe going on which only appeals to old ladies. I try very hard to be the best Tom I can be though because it seems like just about the only factor that I have any control over.

I’ve tried to shift my mindset. Shift my behaviour. Tried to look more discreetly or not at all, that ends up feeling like unhealthy repression. Nothing works. I just can’t help creeping women out. I’ve tried to outsmart the system with mental gymnastics, the product of my ruminations, this doesn’t work at all because then you find yourself getting friendzoned. An irresistible suggestion to get your head back in the game. It’s not about mentality it seems, but what is it about then? Maybe it’s on the level of choices or an intersubjective plane. I’m currently writing this blog post partly to try and un-mire myself from this quagmire.

Having a girlfriend is the best thing on Earth at first. But “being out of the game” makes you soft which soon comes back to bite you in the ass. And there’s the pain and grief if you happen to break up. And what if one simply doesn’t want to have a girlfriend, because it just wouldn’t add to their happiness right now? You’re fucked, that’s what.

There’s the classic paradox of tattoos and edgy hairstyles attracting the girls that you’re attracted to, but they have clear drawbacks when trying to get by in other ways. Such as getting paid which ironically the same women go for in a few years time. Doing it all is an impossibility for most people. I happen to be one of the select few who have managed to get a university degree, good job/business that allows travel and have an edgy haircut (long hair). It does feel good I must say, but then the cause of pain simply transmutes into something else such as being the creep who’s doing it all.

The lion’s share of social pressure is to make sure you just never approach. It’s quite remarkable. Just to tuck your dick between your legs when you’re outside the house. Near everyone else is doing the same thing. But there’s also pressure coming from inside your heart not to live one long dry patch of a life. Not approaching and just using porn is the path of least resistance, but that leads to frustration and habitualised self-denial. See unhappiness. Not to mention the disappointment on the faces of women who seemed to want to be approached. Faces who I suspect would be instantly creeped out, covering their breasts and moving away if you had even a slight inkling to talk to her.

Having an attitude of being willing to approach is the worst of the worst. I’ve seen an old lady get up and move to the other end of the tram because I made small talk with a girl that seemed to be strongly inviting me to do so. Oh yes, a special and rarely seen intensity of disapproval is reserved for the man who is thinking of approaching a woman. Palpable. I suspect it’s something like the derision reserved for female promiscuity. It seems that strong human drives need particularly strong countervailing social forces to control them.

When your dick isn’t tucked neatly between your legs people can tell from a mile away, and you get treated like a creep with 10x the intensity. It makes you question everything. Most of all it makes you stifle that little voice that wants to talk to her and crawl back in line. It’s the greatest feeling in the world being above this social control, women even seem to accept you feeling good for a while afterwards, but not too long.

I honestly believe that it’s not ok to approach women in my country purely because I’ve been repeatedly conditioned to believe that. And yet paradoxically it’s clearly the thing to do, what men do. There’s nothing at all wrong with it. In theory it’s ok to approach because it’s only natural, but on the ground approaching is treated as taboo. Paradoxical.

Perhaps it’s apt to formulate a conclusion here: right or wrong, it’s socially taboo for a man to approach a woman, but a man sometimes ought to do it anyway as an expression of personal truth and freedom. This is consistent with principles of our liberalist society so long as he doesn’t unduly impinge on her freedoms. She has a right to not be harassed but simply approaching ought not to be considered harassment, harassment might happen a minute or two after being unequivocally told to leave. She ought not be physically impeded (she might have somewhere to be), but some casual physical contact is ok unless she says not to. This whole conclusion needs to be alloyed with the somewhat naturalistic, common-sense sentiment that boys will be boys and girls will be girls. This interaction is between the two of them and so long as it doesn’t break laws or unduly impinge on the freedom of others, third parties or society in general ought not impede two adults from interacting. On a humorous note I wonder if under this line of reasoning cockblocking would be considered properly unethical.

Anyway, you can shift your attention away from the game entirely. Not being interested in reproducing has low survival and reproductive value though so you get treated like a enuch. This is a life devoid of validation and I honestly find it incredibly difficult to do even for short periods of time. This is how I find myself simultaneously conditioned to be in the game and also to feel bad about it.

And then there’s the elephant in the room. Relationships. I can think of maybe half a dozen times in my whole life I’ve seen a middle aged guy looking happy as he walks around with his homely-looking wife. The times I did see it they smelled of spiritual-type love and transcendence. There’s an expectation of getting married and having kids by a certain age even if that’s not really what you want. I personally don’t feel any great desire to enter into a family any time soon, my drive is generally towards freedom and I suspect in turn a kind of creative actualisation.

What if what you want is just a casual relationship without the weight of society’s expectations? What is wrong with that? And what if (God forbid) you just want to hookup, because it scratches that itch and temporarily shifts you up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Well then my friend, sounds like you are in the game and it sucks to be you.

There are undoubtedly other paradoxes involved. My point is this though: you can’t win. Or rather, you can’t expect to avoid the pain of social pressure and be happy as well. Although you can to a point, which is usually exactly where I find myself in life. I honestly wonder if sex robots, drugs or genetic reengineering can make this sweet spot a bit sweeter still.

“The problem is women… I’m just going to be gay”, I imagine some of you are saying. Very clever. Indeed, certain needs will be better met in doing so, but I’m convinced that any sensitive gay man will tell you there is greater pain in other areas, such as marginalisation.

“I’m just going to cut my dick off and live in a monastery”. I see the logic in that. However I would argue that it would have a net negative impact on overall well-being. It may be better to move to a monastery without cutting your dick off. Is this what you would want to do regardless though?

Sometimes I do feel happy. I feel validated. Then I leave the house and women smell it on me and simply won’t have it. Cue getting devalidated and treated like a creep. Any possible thing that can bring my state down happens. Validation never lasts long unless you’ve achieved it through courage and pain it seems, go figure. Unless you’re travelling, which seems to change things a little.

There are a few conclusions to be made here. The one I really want to internalise is the one that makes me literally not give a fuck what people think. The one that reassures me that what other people think, despite how real it seems to them and therefore also the empath sensing them, doesn’t have any bearing on me or my place in society.

Another is to be grateful because in the scheme of things this isn’t so bad. At least we’re not struggling for needs even more basic than love and sexual validation, such as oxygen or security.

Another is to not look so much for happiness in the opposite sex. I struggle with this so I’m not confident giving any epigrammatic advice. Let the development of ideas thus far speak for itself, perhaps as a cautionary tale. Bring it back to the basics though. The principles of happiness. Transcending the ego and societal planes of being.

Being a White Male Contrarian These Days

I wrote a few quick paragraphs this morning, as the ideas for a possible blog post rushed into my awareness. Since I was at work I didn’t have time to polish it up so never posted it. It was about gender and society. Since then I’ve cooled off about it, been offended by members of the people I was trying to benefit and become somewhat cynical about humanity’s hope in general. So instead of posting the original ideas I would like to include them with the broader context and story of my day.
Firstly. I would like to make the observation that over the last few weeks there has been a seachange in society. Let me explain. 3 months ago feminist narratives were dominating the mainstream media. Barrack Obama was radiating charismatic cuckoldry throughout the world. People were being shamed for suggesting anything that was politically incorrect. Basically, it sucked to be a white male because every other group owned a stake in what you were allowed to do or be but not vice versa. The would-be strong were necessarily oppressed and short changed by the agenda of equality and progress. Voltaire said: “to learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise”. Well by this measure we were pretty much ruled by everybody else.
Brexit happened. Donald Trump won. These events are simply symptoms of a wider social movement, based on being justifiably angry at the left. These events of the highest global magnitude have come to legitimise certain sentiments: because the majority officially agrees. It justifies being able to speak in favour of being a man or conserving one’s country. I was certainly one of these people. I always hated feminists with the best of them, still do. Although now I’m starting to hate myself because I feel feminist sentiments taking root in me. I saw that western countries were giving so much on every level that they weren’t even winning anymore and too degraded to even call spade a spade or reject corruption. To my elation Trump won and as expected, the mainstream narrative has shifted to the right. The West is out of freefall. Common sense has become cool again. What I and others were always talking about to the derision of mainstream minds has now become the very thought process of those same mainstream minds. I have learned that most people simply don’t think independently, they just align with the mainstream and deride anything else.
Feminists have been most responsible for political correctness because they need it to control people. They need to be able to punish their enemies through shame and fear. They need big government to intervene intimately in peoples’ lives. They seem to want globalism for some reason. They want every other “disenfranchised group” to help them undermine heterosexual men and traditional institutions. They define and align with the left and absolutely loved Obama and Clinton.
What I’ve seen in the last 2-3 weeks is that critical mass has been reached and guys have given themselves permission to stop being walked all over by progressive ideas. I had a tram ride last night that felt like patriarchy on wheels based on the body language and vibes of fellow commuters. In Australia, there was a phenomenal Facebook page called “Yeah The Boys” which gave a public platform to vent all these pent up frustrations and it was deliciously offensive. The one rule it espoused was “don’t ever let me catch you dogging the boys”. Almost like an oracle that statement has seemed to become part of the fabric of Australian culture – and just over the last month. Although it does harken back to the WW2 value of mateship, though. To put it bluntly, guys have started running shit again like we mostly have for all time. The simple fact of the matter is that as a collective men are more powerful, and that’s what we’ve been seeing lately since they’ve stopped being marginalised by ideas.
Women seemed relatively happy and on board with it at first. Then not so much. Then yesterday you’d think they were in Saudi Arabia or something, the average woman looked completely depressed and angry. I felt bad. I felt I ought to try and not oppress them with my body language. While most mainstream types seemed to be behaving notably dominantly (whereas last year they were notably submissive) I resolved to behave, well, gentlemanly. In response to my feelings of injustice, the following ideas emerged. They are an attempt to think of a more win-win solution where guys would be empowered but women wouldn’t be completely depressed:
Feminism is suited for when women are being systematically oppressed or to systematically oppress men. Lately it struggles to justify its own existence in western culture and seems to unable to “back off” of its own volition or not constantly reaffirm itself publically. Personally I think its proper place in society is as a 1st and 2nd wave safety net.  But for the most part it belongs at the margins and out of mainstream media because it’s really quite weird.
It’s a shame really, the word feminism could refer to a positive philosophy about what it means to be a woman in this day and age. It would be nice if the ideaology known as feminism suggested even a little bit of femininity, personal accountability or duty. I can see the misdirection on a lot of faces because they simply don’t know what to be anymore – which institutions to listen to? Who to be most allegiant to? Same with guys as a matter of fact. These are fertile grounds for useful philosophical discussions.
There should also be a seperate philosophy of gender that isn’t owned by one gender but rather is owned by reason and is based on the greatest good for the greatest number. Feminism claims to be like this but its jsut public relations and in reality it isn’t. There are already positively connotated, gender neutral words for ideaologies like this such as egalitarianism.
However there also needs to be a counter argument to egalitarianism to represent that which egalitarianism disenfranchises. This would be politically incorrect by last month’s standards. The sentiments of this counter argument match what we’re seeing in alt-right  movements at the moment. Its tenets would include things like not intervening in peoples’ lives too much and respect for nature, tradition and religion. These ideas ought to be represented in public discourse because whilst they may not be politically correct, they are more objectively true than the alternative and people do care about them and will vote based upon them.
In summary there ought to be philosophies for what it means to be a man or woman, and philosophies for opposing equality and self-interest. I believe these represent the extremes and if they are allowed to flourish society may find a moderate balance based on the tension between them. Niches will also develop where more extreme views can find their homes. In addition to these positive philosophies there also needs to be some “negatives”. Directives such as “don’t dog the boys” are a good example.
Pretty innocuous right? Well, I don’t know if any of the readers know this but when you write something in the morning, the sentiments of it emanate off you for half a day or so. When I went on my lunch break I must have stunk of being a feminist or something because both women and men were treating me with disdain. I felt spurned. Like I was dogging the boys and was being cuckolded by women for it. Goddamnit, last year I was spurned for disliking feminists now I’m being spurned for sympathising with them.
That brings me to where I am now. Cynical. Frustrated. It’s not easy being a contrarian. But I’m a red blooded male that craves respect more than crave contrarianism. I endorse the above ideas because to me they obviously represent the best solution but as of now, I renounce any form of activism. I need more time to let who I thought I was ebb away with the changing climate.

Disconnecting From Internet Content

It’s been two days since I “disconnected” from the internet. I still use it for work but I’ve deactivated Facebook and blocked my usual meme websites using the Chrome block site add-on. I want to keep it going for at least a week and document the experience.

Memes have been my great addiction over the past few years. I would spend hours a day on Facebook, 9gag, reddit.com/r/worldnews and more recently on youtube looking at alt-right stuff. Not just a big block of several hours in the evening: more like 30-40 quick, compulsive checks during the day followed by a few hours in the evening. I’m sure many people can relate to it somehow because I see people constantly on their phones just like I was last week. Last week I wouldn’t have noticed that because I would have been on my phone.

I’ve tried to go cold-turkey in the past and it’s quite an ascetic experience, punishing even. That dopamine doesn’t replace itself. That’s why I believe it’s important to replace internet content with something else; preferably something more positive or useful. I broke out the old ps3 and started playing Skyrim again. At first, it felt painfully slow and didn’t give me any pleasure; but after I while I started getting into it and it was better than life itself.

Video games are a step up from memes I believe. This is because they’re active rather than passive, and it’s a more life-like tempo. Gratification is delayed somewhat. Importantly, I feel that since it’s “just one thing” rather than a multitude of successive things, it is conditioning one’s mind to hone in on things for a good while rather than frittering momentarily from one to another like a butterfly. I believe that internet addiction cripples the mind’s ability to think deeply, and hence having it under control is imperative for a writer.

Meditation is another thing that I would recommend to anyone undergoing this process. Although I would recommend that to everyone anyway (imagine a world where everyone meditated: utopia). Meditation takes the edge off. You don’t take any of it so seriously because you’re just a few steps back from what you do either way. I think it makes a person come off as less wanky as well; wankiness being a perennial issue with giving up anything in common usage.

My experience on the commute to work this morning was rather interesting. Ironically I felt more anxious or vulnerable than usual. This is because usually when I feel this anxiety I immediately “escape” into my phone. I have two parallel realities to inhabit: the real world around me and the virtual world in my pocket. The real world is scarily out of my control and yet mysteriously necessary to me. The virtual world does exactly what I tell it to and there’s no anxiety whatsoever. My anxiety is eased when I notice that virtually everyone on the train is on their phones, however.

There is a certain power in being the least withdrawn, the most present to a situation. Being present puts you at the centre of things, in the momentary “in crowd”. The “scarily necessary but out of control” nature of the real world is diminished when you are more in it than others, after all, it is people who are the most out of control part of it. I believe that being present like this is a leadership quality. The opposite is the need to withdraw from what’s going on while other people shoulder more responsibility for being present: someone has to be present don’t they? Yes, this is what a typical train ride is like for me: highly philosophical.

After a day or two without internet, one feels more interested in the other things of life. The feeling of a hand rail. The person walking down the street. Even just the special impression of a moment can be oddly satisfying. Dopamine by looking out a window. That seems so right.

On the other hand, there is a certain neediness to being interested in people. If there are ten people in a room and nine of them are on the phone every fifteen minutes; the one person who isn’t on their phone is “all in”. At once more in control, more interested and more invested. The others have one foot in the present moment and one foot in the virtual so they can quite happily withdraw from the present whenever they wish. They get their dopamine virtually. The person without internet doesn’t have anywhere else to go. My point is that it can often seem that you are giving more of yourself than other people and it’s a bit like being rejected.

Part of masculinity means being active rather than passive. I believe being active in an interaction necessitates being present to it. Since the one who withdraws is “passing” on various levels. On the other hand, neediness isn’t very masculine. If it’s a situation you want to be in then it’s not needy, though. It’s much easier to be “active” and therefore manful when your mind is conditioned to be continuously at home at places and with people rather than the virtual.

The Problem With Political Correctness

529a64e71605fb6361000428One of the biggest problems with western culture at the moment is that political correctness is mistaken for truth and progressiveness has been conflated with absolute good. Intellectual honesty, independence, and common sense are viscerally lacking.

It’s a reasonably objective fact that the best societies are moderate ones. That is to say, there are both progressive and conservative elements, free market and social safety nets. However, in western countries, the narrative has been hijacked out of compassion or pity for weaker groups. Ideas that were rigorously formed by our seminal thinkers throughout history and are the very roots of our culture have become stigmatised, edgy and even taboo in much of public life because of a minority of people who are offended.

When society and its institutions (particularly universities and the media) lose the ability to discuss the full spectrum of ideas maturely it loses its appreciation for nuance. That’s what we’re seeing. All too often black and white statements which are patently false or specious are being conflated with truth simply because they match the pattern.

In this social climate, it’s risky for public figures to undermine politically correct narratives and as a result, the only ones who seem to speak what we all know to be true are the ones whose livelihoods aren’t jeopardised by it.

The Life of Pablo by Kanye West

the-life-of-pablo-album-cover_art_nbmwim

I’m a fan of Kanye West. I haven’t listened to all his stuff but I do like his newest album: “The life of Pablo”. Having never tried to review music before this is likely to be clumsy at best, but I hope that whatever impression I can articulate will be interesting or useful to someone.

Let me begin by saying that his persona is a part of it. Just like the album cover. It adds greater depth of meaning to each song, because you know where it comes from. I know what Kanye is about and I like it, I tip my hat when someone is willing to offend the politically correct majority. I’m someone that likes to do things differently. So is Donald Trump, so is Kanye West. I like them because by being willing to break the rules they break the mainstream narrative and make themselves a target to naysayers. I’ve felt like an outsider to those safely in the mainstream my whole life, it’s just who I am. So when I see someone do it in front of the whole world it resonates very strongly with me and gives me confidence. It makes my world a slightly more comfortable place and conversely makes the world more uncomfortable for many. People with a tendency to do things differently are also responsible for humanity not still being in the palaeolithic. I believe that humanity evolved to have a balance of rule-breakers and rule followers, because having both creates the highest probability of survival and reproductive success in a population. You can’t have too much of either.

What does happen when you have only rule followers? To me it feels like a system which keeps on building more and more social pressure with no healthy way to release it or laugh at itself. As a matter of fact this is exactly how I see the dominating paradigm of political correctness. The natural balance is upset because the legal, social and economic systems can greatly punish those for saying things which frankly are true and only marginally offensive.

What do I really think about what Kanye does though? Well I think it’s pretty funny to be honest. And it certainly works if you want to sell records. There are hundreds of would be superstars waiting in the wings because Kanye has distinguished himself the most successfully. Made people feel something about him en masse. This isn’t even to speak of the music yet.

I liked the music because it was beautiful. It was harmonious. Many of his previous releases displeased the ear and created tension or low vibration energy. I don’t like songs like that. My favourite style of music is psychedelic precisely because it is by and for a trance-like mind. Does it come down to maths whether a song is pleasing or is it simply my taste? Yes.

Certain mathematical principles do apply to beauty. Yet merely following the equations of beauty would soon become obvious and displeasing, because it lacks the other important quality: creativity. Kanye has this quality, arguably more than any other A-list artist. Can we then conclude that his persona makes him A-list but his music makes him cult? I haven’t listened to all of his music, but I think he’s always been quite artistic about it rather than commercial.

Embarrassingly I lack the vocabulary to describe the music itself. Perhaps I ought to read some album reviews to see how the professionals do it. As a big picture kind of guy though, to me it’s not so important what’s happening specifically as is the story in broad strokes . The way I see it is that it’s a break-the-rules musician, releasing an artistically sound album which I happen to enjoy listening to.

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