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Be gentle to yourself during these long dark winter months. Illustration ©James Bareham

Why you should be less ‘Hoorah’ and more ‘Hygge’ this winter.

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In the animated excellence of Ratatouille, the weary food critic, the aptly named Anton Ego, wants only one thing when he visits Gusteau’s eponymous restaurant. He tells the waiter: ‘I’d like some fresh, clear, well-seasoned perspective.’

At the beginning of a new year, we could all do with that. And it’s something where older people in business or indeed the business of life have a lead. They have perspective, decades of it, that younger people don’t have. And now is the time to deploy that perspective.

In his incredible meditation on his life, Oliver Sacks says in Gratitude that he realised he had much greater perspective on his life at 80 than he had at 60. I don’t have that many decades under my belt yet, but even I’ve noticed how the holiday companies start to ramp it up in January, how magazines will soon be telling us to get ‘beach ready’ bodies, like they do every year. …


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Melina Krause and a random green heart. Photo ©Hal Shinnie

How model Melina Krause founded her own business — and found herself

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Melina Krause has been through a lot of changes in her life, some of them pretty hard. But if you had to pick one moment that shows how the human spirit is not dimmed it would be when she hit 50 and decided to become a model.

Soon after that she decided it was the right time for her to set up her first business, on her own. Hitting 50, with all the experience and knowledge that can come with that, has some real upsides.

Seeing her walk through a fashionable part of London, immaculately turned out, on her way to a casting or a meeting with an interior designer, shows how far she’s come. From Kenya in fact. Her Indian-born parents moved to Kenya but then, when she was about 11, they all had to leave Africa because of Kenyan independence. Melina and her brother Jason had British passports and their parents weren't about to give those up. …


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Not a wicker basket in sight. Neil Franks at Athlete Lab in Cannon Street, in the heart of the City of London. Photo ©Hal Shinnie

Why retiring at 50 meant Neil Franks could enjoy life — and start working again

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From the age of 24 until he was 55, Neil Franks sort of disappeared from the Western world. As he puts it: ‘I was transferred from London to Singapore at 24. I arrived on a Sunday night, and the next morning I went to the office. About 31 years later I left.’

Those years weren’t spent in some sort of sweatshop slavery. Instead they were spent working for one company, Glencore, which was one of the earliest pioneers, back in the 1970s, of freely trading oil as a commodity. Now it’s a massive multinational PLC but back then it was where people worked hugely hard with vast responsibilities and who were rewarded in equal measure. …


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Carla Diana with her 3D printed self from her book ‘Leo The Maker Prince’. Photo ©James Bareham / Vox Media

Carla Diana Is A Maker-Futurist

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In its 2015 Diversity Report, just published, Google announced that women made up just 22% of any leadership roles. The tech industry has long had a problem with women, and it doesn't seem to be getting much better. Some suggest quotas and affirmative action. Carla Diana doesn't need any of that. She’s a prominent player in the tech industry as designer, speaker and teacher, and has been for years.

Carla was raised in the Bronx, in the depths of New York City. She went to high school across the street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which she loved. Neither of her parents were remotely interested in fixing things at home, so it was left to the young Carla to take things apart and see how they worked. With a spell in Mechanical Engineering as an undergraduate, then Industrial Design for graduate school, the mix was there for someone who could be a creative designer but also someone who makes things hands-on. …


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Kalashnikov AK47. Photo ©James Bareham

How An Ancient Philosophy Can Empower Warriors, Detainees — And Us

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I am writing this at a lovely wooden desk, with a glorious early summer country landscape out the window to my left. It’s a place of peace and contemplation. John Cantlie is a prisoner of Islamic State. I can’t really imagine how he feels or what he is looking at right now. I don’t really want to.

Rewind a couple of decades and our lives were much closer.

We both worked for SuperBike magazine in England, testing 180mph motorbikes for a living and having a life of freedom and excitement. It wasn’t an entirely safe occupation. But compare that to now. We know John has been waterboarded, tortured, starved and beaten for well over two years. We think and hope that he is still alive. …


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Chic Child: artist, designer, tattooist, black-belt. Photo: ©Seven Sins Tattoo

Painting, drawing & ink on skin. How a former magazine designer and part-time musician became a renowned tattooist and business owner.

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When Chic Child was coming up 40, he rang some friends. Could he come and stay for a bit? A father, designer and coming up to middle age, he turned up at his friends with his entire set of possessions — a motorbike and a rucksack.

He stayed with friends for over a month which, he points out, ‘was nice of them since I was sleeping on a camp bed in their dining room, and they were in the middle of a divorce.’

Behind him he left a wrecked marriage. His second. His first had ended the same way some years before. ‘Yeah’, he says, ‘it was the second time I’d done that. Gone back to where I started. The first time I just got in a mess between two women and so I fuelled up the car and just left, and drove, and ended up in Spain. Then I sold everything, the car, the guitars, and flew to the States, where I was supposed to be doing some music recording. …


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Photo Illustration ©James Bareham

Why We Are All Steampunk Now

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MacBook Air run by a steam engine. Ancient, very long hunting rifle with the latest electronic telescopic sights. A futuristic car with the driver in brass goggles and long gauntlets. Welcome to the world of Steampunk. The relevance to the ‘Googly’ World? Because this is how the world in the West is rapidly going. A mix of manly Victorian and uber-tech. Think those heroic Victorian moustaches blending into Hipster facial topiary.

Everywhere you read about how technology is the tsunami that’s already broken over industries like publishing and marketing, and now it’s sweeping away everyone’s jobs except for the elite few who get bussed in specially to their gleaming towers of the future. …


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Just keep swimming. Photo: ©James Bareham

Don’t just take my word for it, listen to others who have worked this out for themselves.

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GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLL!

It’s that moment of release in a football match, the culmination of the rising tension and expectation, the final shot. The moment the player throws his arms into the air and screams, the crowd explodes, the commentator takes leave of his senses. It’s the money shot.

But goals are for losers.

Which is strange because we’re taught that goals are important. Goals for losing weight, getting a promotion, learning Tagalog. How are you going to move forward if you don’t have goals? How can you mark your progress without ticking off the goals? …


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One deep fried MacBook. Photo ©Henry Hargreaves

How the same technology that put me out of work inspired me to start again

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YOU CAN LOOK AT THIS IN TWO WAYS: VIEW ONE

My career went down the tubes when I was approaching my half century. The publishing and creative industries have not been decimated, since that’s a Roman phrase that means one in ten men were killed. What happened to the creative industries was more like a massacre. Let’s not be melodramatic, I didn’t die, but I was shocked, broke and one finger nail was definitely torn. I lost my career, my marriage and my home.

FEELING SORRY FOR ME YET? LET’S TRY VIEW TWO.

I’m writing this from a big villa in the hills behind Malaga, southern Spain. If I lift up mine eyes from my laptop, I see my big pool at the edge of the terrace, with a massive panorama leading down to the Mediterranean in the distance. This is where I’ve been working for two weeks, with another week to go. The sun is shining, everyone else is in their office hutches and cubicles, and I’m going to have a swim before lunch and then work again this afternoon. …


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Connecting the dots, silicon style. Photo: ©James Bareham

As Steve Jobs said: ‘You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards.’ But the result of those dots is that I find myself now not only talking the talk but also walking the walk. I wish I didn’t have to do both.

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FELLOW HQ

About a year ago I launched Fellow HQ a personal site aimed at ‘men who have lived and learned’. A year later the site has become a business, and pivoted so that’s it’s aimed at ‘men who have lived and learned – and are ready to start again’. It’s a critical difference.

What I saw all around were men losing their jobs and indeed careers and industries in all the creative fields from design to photography to editorial and marketing. I could empathise because it happened to me.

But the key was noting how many of them, often but not exclusively aged 40+, were thrown on the scrapheap by digital technology and how many were destined to stay there because they couldn’t use that same technology to get back up. …

About

Graham Scott

Writer, journalist, co-founder of Fellow HQ and reluctant convert to the world of digital media. My views are most definitely my own.

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