The Age of Reason is over. The big learning that we can take from Trump and BREXIT is that the western world has had enough of carefully scripted, obviously highly educated leaders. Perhaps we should have picked up on the early signs like Berlusconi in Italy, but these warnings were deftly dismissed as being Southern European. That kind of stuff doesn't happen here. Complacency in action. We missed the 'Canary in the Coalmine'. Some say that we have fallen out of love with the elites. The D.C. swamp dwellers and the moneyed 'Londoners'. But that's not true, we have just found a new elite to fall in love with.
The principal characteristic of this new elite, led by Trump, with Farage lurking in the shadows, is unfettered emotion. An unscripted passion for the issues that real people are talking about outside the school gates and in pubs up and down the country. A gut-before-brain approach to topics that some might lurch towards in moments of weakness over a glass of red wine in the safety of their own home.
The irony is that these people are often just as elite as the old elite, but they hide it well. They offer hope. In a society where the gap between rich and poor is at extreme levels, a new elite that seems on face value to break the concentration of power, privilege and opportunity offers ordinary people something to dream about.
The Instagram/Twitter generation is not inspired by people who have prepared (sorry Hillary), they want to see and share real life, uninhibited by constant checks and balances. Boredom comes easily to us now, we are constantly distracted. Ping, that's a text. Boink, that's a Facebook update. Buzz, that's the more email. In that environment, long narratives and clever arguments don't cut it. We need to make our point really quick, we need to deliver a knockout punch in an image or a soundbite.
As I look out of my Uber window driving around DuPont Circle I can see despair and frustration marked on the faces of the Washington elite. But this is life ladies and gentlemen. We could blame others, or we could get back up and get with the game.
Sad as it may be, if we want to lead, inspire or compete in the multimedia world, we need to also entertain. If you can combine reason and entertainment, you would be a force to be reckoned with. Today it's the political elite that are drowning their sorrows at Starbucks, were I a betting man I would be putting my money on this wave of emotion coming to the business world sometime soon. Listen carefully, that's not your iPhone beeping, it's a Canary.
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