SPEAR is an insight & strategy agency with 20 years experience helping marketers across categories discover a deep, intuitive understanding of their customer and their brand.

Through creative conversation and immersive observation we provide unique access to the motivations that drive behavior, emotions that shape the customer experience, and meanings that create culture, to inform, not dictate, decision-making.

The Week of October 16, 2017

The origins of the memory palace & the lost art of brand optics.

"One walks through the rooms of a palace in one’s imagination. In each room one fixes the image of an item that one wishes to remember. One can then retrieve these items at will at any later date by walking back through the palace in one’s imagination, finding the appropriate room and reactivating the memory. The technique is still taught today."

The Maximalists are Coming 

Our obsession with design has had some unfortunate side effects. I have felt the boredom this is correcting for. "I found at a certain point that things got so clean that they projected nothing."

Interview with Christian Madsbjerg

"So what we did was we infiltrated fraud networks in Queens and in Boston to challenge a big bank on whether they really knew that much. And what we did was we lived with the fraudsters for awhile, and we learned how their business works."

Also, watch this


Krista Tippett Interviews with Daniel Kahneman


"We shouldn’t be looking for rationality so much, because by using the word, we seem to expect it to happen. And I think that’s just not the way the mind works."


Like a moth to the flame I am attracted to things just beyond my grasp. Each week I will do my best to share topics and academic research papers from the social sciences that are way beyond me. If you know of any good academic research, please share!

"Hypocognition, a "Sense of the Uncanny," and the Anthropology of Ambiguity: Reflections on Robert Levy's Contribution to Theories of Experience in Anthropology" By C Jason Throop

The first time I came across the word hypocognition was in George Lakoff's "Why it matters how we frame the environment." He defined it as "the lack of the ideas we need." Man, that's good.


My friend passed away Sunday, October 15th. He edited for Vibe, XXL, and SPIN, wrote for the Awl and the Guardian. He loved music and food more than anyone I've ever known. He wrote a beautiful book called Public Apology. Check out the video below, from PUBLIC APOLOGY: THE COLLECTED SHORT FILMS.