TLF Gems Newsletter June 2023

Your monthly CX and insight newsletter from TLF Research

While many sets are good enough for a wide shot, in my mind, they should be good enough for close scrutiny, for the little details to show. You may not ever really see them all, but you’ve got to feel that they’re there, somehow, to feel that it’s a real place, a real world.

David Lynch

I think there's a lot of wisdom in that quote from David Lynch, and in business it applies to the customer and employee experience.

We can often feel the presence or absence of details that we can't really see, and I think that often explains the difference between organisations who stand apart for the way they treat their people and their customers, and those who try to get by on an experience that is only good enough for the "wide shot". Details matter, and the best organisations are obsessive about getting them right.

Thanks for reading,


Here are 7 things we think are worth your time this month

Authenticity & Diversity

This is a really interesting article from Forbes pointing out that "bringing your authentic self to work" is a lot easier for some people than it is for others. Authenticity is important, but you've got to do the work to address diversity and inclusion first. "To truly commit to authenticity, it's vital to ensure all employees, regardless of their demographic, are supported."

Read: Authenticity & Diversity

Why Blockbuster Lost To Netflix

I loved this post from Tom Goodwin on why the simple stories we tell about what caused incumbents to lose out to disruptors are almost always wrong. The reasons are often structural and strategic, and that's why I think tools like our CX Strategy Canvas are essential to get a clearer picture of how businesses actually work. "...sometimes, truth be told, you may just be starting in the wrong place."

Read: Why Blockbuster Lost To Netflix

Why Pandemic Bad Habits May Stick

Have you noticed any change in people's behaviour since the pandemic? This interesting article suggests that riskier driving was normalised during the pandemic (when more risk-averse people were more likely to stay at home), leading to a lasting change in the culture on American roads, and the same may be true of behaviour in other public places. "The sudden disappearance of risk-averse and rule-loving people from public spaces might also help explain other negative cultural shifts we’ve seen, from rising crime to air rage."

Read: Why Pandemic Bad Habits May Stick

Post Office Scandal

No doubt you're aware of the ongoing mess of the Post Office IT scandal. It's a shocking example of a corporation acting badly to cover up its own mistakes at the expense of others, and Nick Wallis' blog does a great job of holding them to account. "The main takeaway point is that time and again, the actions of those directly, tangentially or potentially responsible for any major scandal (be it Grenfell, Hillsborough, Infected Blood, Windrush or the Post Office) DO NOT CARE A SINGLE THING about victims or accountability. Not a thing. It is all about reputation preservation."

Read: Post Office Scandal

MIT Press Colophon Acquired By MoMA

I was pleased to see that one of my favourite pieces of design, Muriel Cooper's logo for the MIT Press, had been "acquired" by the Museum of Modern Art as part of its permanent collection. "For almost 60 years, the MIT Press colophon has served as the symbol of the Press’s distinctive design and innovative publishing program."

Read: MIT Press Colophon Acquired By MoMA

AI Risks & Benefits

I honestly tried to avoid any AI links this time, but Joshua Gans has a typically insightful newsletter reflecting on Geoff Hinton's pivot to AI alarmism, including a very rational economic approach to evaluating AI risks versus benefits. "...I am not sure we should leave the philosophy and AI policy to the AI innovators. If we are going to have a debate about these issues, we need to accept that there are no obvious answers and to work out carefully what risks we find acceptable to bear, given the upside of all of this. "

Read: AI Risks & Benefits

Top Reads: This Means This, This Means That

Semiotics is the study of how meaning is communicated. That sounds very straightforward, but it's a field with an aura of mystique that can make it very difficult to know what semioticians actually do. Semiotics has a lot to teach us about shaping the customer experience (we have a free webinar on that if you're interested!), and this book is a great introduction. "…every day we are faced with objects that have tacit instructions for their use…"

If you'd ever like to have a look at our list of past Top Reads, they're all catalogued on our website here - enough reading to keep anyone going for a while!

Top Reads: This Means This, This Means That