Everything Everywhere All at Once

How to understand Everything Everywhere All at Once 

Will Clothier

Everything is continuously evolving all the time and the rate of change is getting faster. You are not just imagining this – in many respects it is a matter of fact.

This is why the absurd whirlwind Everything Everywhere All At Once became a word-of-mouth hit and went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture. It is a film that captures this aspect of modern life. It is about the overwhelming array of information that it is possible to absorb on a daily basis, the apparently endless possibilities for experiencing and interpreting reality that are now available, and how that makes it harder, not easier, to make sense of anything. A film like this couldn’t have been made twenty or even ten years ago.

Future-focused business strategies are driven by a constantly evolving understanding of the market and operating environment – at the current rate of change, how can we understand everything everywhere all at once?

“I’m confused too. All day… I don’t know what the heck is going on.” – Waymond, Everything Everywhere All At Once

Adjusting to the pace of modern life

Studies indicate that we are experiencing the passing of time at a faster rate than we used to. This is because many aspects of the real world are indeed changing more quickly, as technological innovation and globalised communications pull everything in their wake.

The lifespan of the average British business is getting shorter. The length of time that companies stay in the S&P 500 is reducing. Customer loyalty and retention rates are declining. Attitudes towards social and workplace norms and values are shifting quickly. The amount of obtainable data is increasing exponentially on all fronts.

Even the production of Everything Everywhere All At Once has something to say about the pace of modern life. Its breakneck editing style is part of a pattern of art imitating life. Over the past century, the average shot length in English-language films has become shorter and shorter. These shorter shots contain more motion than before (and they have also become darker).

“The universe is so much bigger than you realise… We only get a few specks of time where any of this makes any sense.” – Joy, Everything Everywhere All At Once

Information overload – how to see the wood from the trees

The explosion of speed, information and potential should make things easier but instead it often feels like it is making things harder. It feels harder than ever to assimilate all the data at your disposal, harder to see the wood from the trees, and harder to predict what will matter tomorrow let alone today.

To make sense of the world you are, in other words, required to process and understand everything everywhere all at once, rather than some things, some of the time, in isolation from each other.

“Now, you may only see a pile of receipts, but I see a story. I can see where this story is going.” – Dierdre, Everything Everywhere All At Once 

Cutting through the noise

Future-focused, customer-driven businesses need to avoid two very common pitfalls to keep up with the pace of change. On the one hand, there is the temptation to gather more and more data to help you make decisions. This feels comforting and productive. But it can lead to choice paralysis – too many options and too much evidence that points in different directions. This often results in no decision at all. On the other hand, there is the tendency to jump to spurious conclusions based on one strand of data without considering how that data fits into a broader picture. This leads to different business units pulling in contradictory directions – all with an apparent grounding in the data – and the absence of an overarching single strategy driven by the market realities. We see both of these happening all the time. The first guarantees a slow death while the second can lead to a fast one.

When used in the right way, the explosion of speed and information can transform businesses for the better, drive innovation, and ensure growth.

Over the past decade, we have been developing a way of helping organisations cut through all of this noise – it’s called Yonder Clockface.

Our analytics experts are too modest to say it but it is an eye-opening way of layering together macro and micro data all at once about your audiences and operating environment, which we visualise on the face of a clock. It can show you how you are positioned in the market, who your audiences are, what drives them, what issues are affecting or will affect your operating context, how you can avoid risks and spot new opportunities. It clearly lays out the patterns influencing the modern world better than any other framework or analytical system we’ve come across. We use it with leadership teams to inform their strategies. 

Image showing distribution of film audiences on Yonder Clockface

Let’s imagine you’re a cinema chain, a film distributor, or a production company. Yonder Clockface can map out the types of people who watch films like Everything Everywhere All At Once and which cinema they watch them in. Then imagine being able to tie those patterns to how those people live, think, and behave, what their town is like, what media they engage with, and how other brands deliver for them.

The constant flow of information and transformation can lead to anxiety and loss of control. But we want businesses to be excited by the challenge and the opportunity to confidently translate this mass of data into a strategy for growth. Almost by definition, where there is change there is the opportunity to capture relative advantage. As Waymond says in the final act of Everything Everywhere All At Once, the only way of moving forward is to find the positives hidden in the chaos.

“We’re all running around in circles. I know that. I’ve been on this earth just as many days as you. When I choose to see the good side of things, I’m not being naive. It is strategic and necessary.” – Waymond, Everything Everywhere All At Once

Confidently predict how audiences will respond to your business initiatives.