I fell crazy in love with Brazil when I was around 14 (1962). I soon became passionate about everything Brazilian, even obsessed, as teenagers often do. I had part time jobs before and after school and took my own money to buy records. I even paid for a course of Latin-American dance lessons on Saturdays at an expensive dance studio in Collins Street (oh dear!).

I think my first memory is the sounds of a film Black Orpheus. Which I just played and played and played. Luiz Bonfa and Antonio Carlos Jobim … magic. I think I must have re-wired my brain!

As my mother’s ancestors were Portuguese I was also naturally attracted to the language of Brazil and tried to find more records of this new wave sound, this bossa nova, and then the dam burst in the mid-60s. With timely Frank Sinatra patronage, Tom Jobim recordings became available in Australia and, for me, it was bliss. As the 60s unfolded others caught the new wave like Sergio Mendes’ Brazil 66 and my first live concert at 19 was at Festival Hall in Melbourne to see Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.

In the 80s I had the great delight of taking some close friends in New York to see Tom Jobim with his family play live at Carnegie Hall. So supremely cool! The most recent concert was seeing Bebel Gilberto in March last year at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

As all my friends will patiently tell you, I have never lost my love of bossa nova and I still get many hours of euphoria to this very morning.

For SOT, I have posted Tom Jobim playing his classic Wave at different times and, today, for a special treat I would like to share my 55-year passion for this gentle and sophisticated music with you. Please do let me know what you think and share your comment below.

I hope you can take the time to enjoy this happy trip, the story of how Bossa Nova became the bingeworthy sound from Brazil that seduced the world …

Why are the better thinkers getting the better jobs?

It’s because better thinkers are creating value.

They are getting the job done without creating a fuss. They are getting on with others. They are co-operating and solving problems.

They are mindful of creating opportunities. They use their brainpower to give their employer a much better return on payroll.

Better thinkers are more job-friendly. Employers prefer better thinkers.

On any given day in any given business there are value fountains and value drains.

That day the value fountains created value for the shareholders.

The value drains depleted shareholder value on that day.

The job of the CEO is to multiply the number of value fountains by ten. That’s why CEOs offer better jobs to better thinkers.

“What everyone in the world wants is a good job. A good job is a job with a paycheck from a steady employer with 30+ hours per week … however, in many cases there is no hope of getting one.”

– Jim Clifton, Chairman of Gallup

“We have no idea what the jobs market will look like in 2050.”

– Professor Yuval Harari





What makes certain content bingeworthy? Why is some content so much better at getting itself spread around by word of mouth? How do certain packets of information get themselves copied from brain to brain? From book to brain? From tweet to brain? From brain to youtube to brain?

In other words, some content not only survives but flourishes while other content, no matter how valuable, worthy or true, just dies in a day like a Mayfly.


As a cognitive scientist I’ve been interested in this for over 40 years—before the rise of the internet and since. My first interest was in the context of the brain. Why are some thoughts infectious? Why are some ideas more interesting than others?

In the days when jokes were told I used to marvel at how some jokes had great ‘pass-on value’ and thrived but others fell flat.

In advertising, marketing and selling—an important part of business—I was keen to observe the commercial success of some campaigns compared to the failure of others. I wrote about WOMBAT Selling (2006) (Word Of Mouth Buy And Tell) and how some offers got themselves spread around by word of mouth and yet most offers were never passed on or recommended to friends.

In culture, religion, politics and art we can see the same selection pressures. Some religions (or variations) survive and claim adherents by the millions while others don’t make it all. Even some gods don’t survive, by Jove!

Political fads, preferences, poll results, and politicians come and go with such monotonous regularity that the whole show is largely ignored by the majority of people most of the time. Some political fireworks flare up and fade away quicker than others. Some endure.

Entertainment has its hits, superstars, bombs and extinctions. Heaven’s Gate is a 1980 American Western film. It’s notable for being one of the biggest box-office bombs of all-time, losing the studio well over 100 million dollars. Did you see it? Once? Twice?

In the late 50s and 60s, the bossa nova emerged among a small group of middle-class, non-professional Brazilian musician-composers—hobbyists–playing for enjoyment in their home lounges. It was an intimate, sophisticated sound. They took to playing their guitars and singing their songs on the beaches of Rio. Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes, Leny Andrade, Roberto Menescal and friends. Today, every day and everywhere, you can still hear The Girl from Ipanema playing in cool cafes and high-rise elevators around the world.

In 2020 Netflix will spend around $10 billion on buying streaming rights for certain content. How does Netflix decide which content will be bingeworthy and which content, no matter how interesting, to ignore?

In most discussions about content the topic is discussed from just three points-of-view: the creator (writer/producer), the distributor (publisher/media) and the consumer (shopper/subscriber).

In Binge! we will do some lateral thinking and approach the topic from outside the box. We will explore a fourth viewpoint. We will look at content from it’s own point-of-view. From the content-eye. From the way content, itself, behaves. We will say things like, “This content was clever at getting itself copied here”. “Wow! This content has already acquired 4 billion brains!” And, “Sadly, this content was never able to survive its birth”. And so on.

I first wrote about this fourth viewpoint in The x10 Memeplex: Multiply Your Business By Ten! in 2000. It was based on research into memes and memetics and the viral or epidemiological behaviour of content in the information revolution and the internet. In particular, it was a practical book on how to apply these insights to business growth.

The bottom line is this: of the vast array of created content only a small selected amount ever survives long enough to get itself replicated, recommended and repeated.

So, with all this in mind, it will be interesting to observe the burgeoning bingeworthiness of Binge!

– Michael Hewitt-Gleeson,

Melbourne, 2019