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OOH …Here’s One Thing

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OOH …Here’s One Thing

by Jim Johnsen,
Managing Director, Johnsen, Fretty & Company




Feeling rested and relaxed this week after several days doing the Camino in Spain.  So if this post comes across more as a riff, you’ll know why.  Too many things to convey here, so I just leave it at as picture and a YouTube. 
Travel does have a way of handing out gifts.  I had the good fortune to bump into a professional Croatian cellist while on “The Way”, who when I said “what a great day” she said “every moment is perfect”.  Huh. I wasn’t sure what she meant by that until a half hour later when she discovered a cello lying around in the back of monastery and shortly thereafter she was ripping a solo that would make the Boston Pops proud.  Or maybe think of this way.  Your sitting at a dive bar.  Mark Knoffler just so happens to be there as well.  And there just so happens to be a guitar in the corner and he’s got the urge to stretch the chords. 

Anyway, maybe she was on to something.  Lest you think the U.S. has a patent on talent,  here are videos of her super power rock star kids (talent begets talent!)




I will say this.  The Europeans leave nothing on the table. 

Speaking of superpowers,  I just listened to a review of a dude that won one of 20 TED Talk “Fellows” this year.  Just to give you a sense of how hard that is to win they select only 1% of all the TEDTalks presenters that apply.  Have you ever seen a bad TEDTalk?

Now that you know how special you need to be to achieve a TEDTalk Fellow, wrap your head around this.  This guy, Mundano, is a Brazilian street artist (yup graffiti) with no formal training.   As he executed his craft in neighborhoods in Rio and Sao Paulo he began to realize how many “invisibles” there were out there.  With gratitude and compassion, he decided to do something about it.  The invisibles he refers to (as he points out there are many invisibles out there) are the catadores.   These are the men and women/boys and girls that pick up recyclables, put them in their carrocas (or carts) and bring them to a recycling center in exchange for a meager existence.  You ever give much thought to a guy pushing a cart full of returns as he passed you by?  Me either.  But it turns out, at least in Brazil, these people are responsible for 90% of the waste that gets recycling.  The plastic problem would be much worse without them.  As he puts it “Catadores provide a heavy, honest and essential work that benefits the entire population”.  So with that in mind he set out to turn them into Superheroes.  How did he do that?  He “pimped out” as many carts as he possible could, not only in Brazil but in places like Argentina,  Chile, Bolivia, South Africa and Turkey.  He also has his eyes on the U.S. and Japan.  What do I mean by “pimped out”?  Well put it this way, you think your car would get noticed if you let Jackson Pollack do it over?  He has also painted some excellent messages into the artwork on this carts including “recycling respect”,  “my work is honest. Is yours?” and  “My cart doesn’t pollute.”  Needless to say his efforts blew up on mass and social media.   People now notice and pay respect to these invisibles, which in turn has elevated their self esteem.  He’s also set up an uber like app to more efficiently connect the catadores to their customers and increase their income in the process. 

Johnsen, you still in vacation mode?  What’s the point?  Not much other than if one guy can make this happen, should WE (collectively) be able to make something happen?  Instead of just nodding when we’re sitting with the Coke and Pepsi people and they say “ya we really are trying to do something about the environment…blah blah blah”, why don’t we say hey you have an entire army out there with blank billboards (aka shopping carts), if you really want to do something let’s bring it to the streets.  How about “brought to you by Coke” on every cart, with some cool street art?  Or better yet why don’t we replace their shitty carts with better branded ones.  How about we then just amplify the message through the avails we have?   Not sure about you but taking garbage off the streets and helping people gain enough income to get a roof over their heads seems like it could drive some serious brand value.  Just saying. 

Ps…if you want the real Despacito… check it here.  It’s good with coffee. 


Pss – full link to the Mundano article here: 


Try to see the world as one, without boundaries or frontiers. Believe it or not, there are over 20 million catadores worldwide. So next time you see one, recognize them as a vital part of our society. (Speaking Portuguese) Thank you.

Not sure about you guys but next time I pass a guy or gal pushing a shopping cart with a bunch of empty bottles and cans in it,  I’m going to thank him for making the world a better place.  



Securities transacted through StillPoint Capital Member firm FINRA/SiPC

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