The Monday Media Diet with Murray Bell
On Iger, Surfline, and the Chateau.
Murray Bell (MB) is a new friend. He runs a very interesting studio in Sydney called Semi-Permanent. We’re pleased to have some Antipodean representation on the page today. Have a great week. -Colin (CJN)
Tell us about yourself.
Job title listed on travel visa: CEO
Job title I most relate to: Creative Director
Business: Semi Permanent - An Australian-founded business that was built on hosting large-scale creative festivals globally (which interestingly had the elusive artist Banksy as their first guest) but has more recently evolved to include a design, strategy & production studio that calls Meta, The International Olympic Committee, NIKE, Gucci and Google as close clients and creative icons such as Radiohead, Bjarke Ingles, Sia and Virgil Abloh as collaborators.
Everyday traits: Optimistic. Big thinker. Quick.
Argument traits: Stubborn. Emotional.
Last domestic flight: Sydney to Melbourne
Last international flight: Honolulu to Sydney
Drive: Porsche Panamera
Color preference: Shades of black or white
Last surgery: Six stitches, right temple
More at: https://murraybell.com
Describe your media diet.
Consistent. Trending upwards, but increasingly sporadic patches of nothing.
Movies - Cinema: 90 mins
Movies - Computer: 90 mins
Online articles: 4 - predominantly NYTimes and Stab Mag
Physical books: 2 chapters
Physical magazines: 3 articles
Social media: Almost exclusively Instagram - 18 hours average
Video - YouTube etc: 4 hours
Video - Sports streaming: 3 hours
What’s the last great book you read?
I’m within a business evolution phase, so I’m really enjoying understanding how different people approach and manage creativity, scaling, geography, building team culture and ambition.
I did recently finish After Steve, which I think was well written, yes, but fell a little short in some aspects. That said, I loved hearing Jony’s (Ive) journey, especially held up against the growth of Apple. Although the scale and weight of his job was radically larger than mine, I can empathise with the fatigue and engagement waves that one goes through being in a position like that. Juggling person pursuits and general happiness with the responsibility of running a business and a growing team.
What are you reading now?
I’m juggling. We’re currently creating a hardcover book for Semi Permanent’s 20yr anniversary - It’s less about our milestone and more linked with gathering perspectives from some of our friends on 20 years past and present, but I’m reading my way through each of the interviews and stories. I recently finished Radiohead’s resident artist Stanley Donwood’s story and have to read Virgil Abloh’s Harvard Law Degree curriculum tonight.
To break this up though, I’m reading the latest issue of Pin Up. Emmanuel Olunkwa recently took the helm and he’s writing some great pieces.
What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication?
It is strategic in its own right - need to wait for the opportune moment to devour. I have two kids and a partner that each just love to chat, so I wait for a private silent moment - which is usually whilst traveling, which I do a lot.
I also must avoid early evening reading - I’m the kind of person that after waking up, I start running through the day (or at least my mind does) non stop so reading when the sun has gone down is a recipe for falling asleep, fast - regardless of how good the content is.
Who should everyone be reading that they’re not?
For the business leader inclined, try reading Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger. It could have been twice as long, but I appreciated what he shared.
What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone?
Checking the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and the Surfline apps simultaneously is fun as it likely means I’ve secured a few free hours and I’m looking for waves.
Plane or train?
Unquestionably plane, although I feel a few long-distance train trips could be on the horizon.
My family and I are based in Sydney, Australia which means plane is the only viable mode of transport. I spent nearly 9 months away from home the year before the pandemic, and that’s starting to ramp back up now.
I took my then 8yr daughter on a business trip to Singapore and San Francisco, and loved the experience. She sat with me in every meeting, reading and listening in. Was an amazing experience.
What is one place everyone should visit?
Interesting question. What is everyone looking for? Context and company should be taken into account.
In the sand at Ehukai Beach Park on the North Shore of Oahu at the foot of Pipeline in January.
The seat closest to the kitchen on the bar at the Flower Shop NYC after 8pm.
Opposite someone you love on a garden table at the Château Marmont in Los Angeles, burger on the way.
Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into
Fun question. The Taika Waititi hole. I don’t know him personally (although he has spoken at a Semi Permanent event) but I’m on the bus. Happy to watch any of his films, study any of his scripts, read any profiles, hear any stories, follow his IG posts. (MB)
WITI x McKinsey:
An ongoing partnership where we highlight interesting McKinsey research, writing, and data.
The office of the future: A whole new (floor) plan. Revisiting your talent strategy for a hybrid world? A carefully redesigned office space is one way to tempt employees back through the doors.
Thanks for reading,
Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Murray (MB)
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