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Out of Scope: Issue 01
This week’s non-required thinking on reputation, business, and culture
Hello and welcome to our very first issue of Out of Scope: the week’s non-required thinking on reputation, business, and culture from Hirsch Leatherwood.
Behind all the work we produce for our clients is an abundance of reading, listening, and thinking to make what we put out into the world a step above what you come across on your daily feeds. All this extra work helps us stay current and creative (plus, we think it’s fun), so we’ve decided to put our top finds from across the World Wide Web and cultural commentary to better use by sharing it here.
On to the good stuff!
📡 ON OUR RADAR
This Black History Month, Fortune examined the history (and lack) of Black CEOs in the 65 years of the Fortune 500. The problem certainly hasn’t been under-communicated and calling it a pipeline problem for more than half a century seems more like it’s been a priority problem. But after 2020 brought renewed interest in racial justice, it might just become an issue of reputation in the years to come.
“Of course, it’s difficult for your brain to focus on a book when it’s constantly scanning for threats so it can keep you alive.” Communicators take note: Add fight or flight to the long list of factors keeping us from reading long-form content.
We promised we’d limit Steve’s baseball mentions here, but even for the Mets, the amount of controversy they’ve faced recently is hard to ignore. Shall we run down the list? Their general manager was fired after two months for sending explicit images to a reporter, their new owner was caught in the middle of the Robinhood firestorm (which led) to a contentious back-and-forth with Barstool’s Dave Portnoy, and it was revealed their former manager was accused of lewd behavior by five separate women. Can’t wait for Spring Training!
Content is more important than ever before as the race for grabbing consumer attention gets more and more crowded. (Can you believe this piece was written in 2019?)
What’s missing from this Axios piece about who gets to monetize outer space? That it’s not just a question of which firms get approval, but which ones stay popular enough to use it.
Nextdoor, the latest replacement for local news, has become a rampant source of disinformation across smaller communities.
🏆 REPUTATION FAIL OF THE WEEK: Japanese Olympic Committee
The International Olympic committee find itself embarrassed again. Debate about whether or not the Tokyo Games would go on this summer was derailed this week when the organizing committee’s president, Yoshiro Mori, suggested that women talk too much during meetings.
“On boards with a lot of women, the board meetings take so much time,” Mr. Mori, 83, said to laughter, according to a report in the Asahi Shimbun, one of the country’s largest daily newspapers. “Women have a strong sense of competition. If one person raises their hand, others probably think, I need to say something too. That’s why everyone speaks.”
Yes, because the thoughts and musings coming out of men these days can definitely be defined as brief and not crazy.
🏅 Honorable mention to the SoulCycle instructor who billed herself as an educator in order to skip to the front of the vaccine line.
💡ON OUR MINDS
Will Bezos Go The Full Gates?
With even high-minded outlets like The Economist riffing on Jeff Bezos’s resemblance to Dr. Evil, the bumbling supervillain from the Austin Powers franchise, it’s clear there is a serious question for Amazon’s shareholders. What will a post-Amazon Bezos do for the firm’s reputation?
Bill Gates’s steady avuncular presence has been a backstop for Microsoft’s reputation and helped it seem like a source of stability among other tech giants, whether led by recluses in the case of Alphabet, or eccentrics, like Elon Musk’s one-man show at Tesla.
So, what’s the signature cause for Bezos? Will there be a foundation to coordinate philanthropy? Or will he (literally) set his sights on the stars or even weirder projects like the Clock of the Long Now?
Like former US Presidents, there is no playbook for retired industrial titans.
Is This Our New News Normal?
After four years of normalizing the hourly bombshells, the relative slowdown has re-established the more traditional trajectory of a story from start to finish, which is why we were treated to so many glorious days of the Bernie Sanders meme, or why Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev can’t seem to escape the spotlight.
We suddenly find ourselves with at least a bit more time to invest in journalism longer than 280 characters. We’re all feeling a bit more well-rounded and a lot less inclined to fall into a never-ending doom scroll. It’s a welcome feeling.
Being our first newsletter, we’re trying things out! If there’s something you loved (or hated! Be honest!), let us know by replying to this email.
We’ll see you here next week! 👋
The fine print:
This newsletter brought to you by a brainstorm that went on for way too long.