Yes, we live (again) in the "age of conversations." There is something reassuring about listening to smart people having cultured conversations. When I was young, I would listen for hours to music-free radio programming that sounded like black-and-white movies.
Today, Monocle Magazine brought some of that magic back by launching Monocle Weekly, a 30-minute audio podcast. Hosted by editor in chief Tyler Brûlé, the short-form show extends the publication's monthly print content by offering fresh angles on stories in current and past issues, discussions, previews, field reports, and interviews. The light conversations on serious issues are entertaining and informative, and the old-fashioned stereo split of voices evokes the coziness of good old vintage radio.
Highlights of the first issue include FT markets correspondent Rachel Morarjee revealing why 'under the mattress' has become a favorite place to keep your savings (at least in the UK), and philosopher Alain de Botton explaining why happiness will be more important than watching your salary in 2009: "There is no wealth but life, so concentrate on your portfolio of life, and not your portfolio of cash."
Well said. Although this may not be the most effective response to someone who just lost his or her job, the longing for new meaning in private and public life ("why exactly do we work?") will likely be an overarching theme in the forthcoming year. This presents a huge opportunity for brands of all kinds and industries: they are the arbiters of meaning.