[These are some of my favorite Hughcard drawings from 2015]
Here’s great talk on how to run a creative business, by MailChimp CEO Ben Chestnut.
My big takeaway: Ben quotes Steve Jobs’ famous line, “Creativity is just connecting things”. But, says Ben, this only works if you *actually have THINGS to connect*.
And if want to have THINGS to connect, first you have to MAKE them.
You. Have. To. Make. Things.
You need to create a culture where people are actually spending their best hours actually building stuff, not just going to meetings and discussing “strategy”.
The other thing I came away with was how in order to have results, first you have to have order. The bad news is, in order to do that, you also have to have chaos. It’s what’s called the Laws of Entropy.
Yet managers spend their whole lives trying to do away with chaos and uncertainty, even when they know they need it.
It’s a bit like the accountant who tells the publisher, “You should only publish bestsellers”, or “You should only write songs that will turn into hits records.”
But bestsellers and hit records are the RESULT; they are not the THING itself. And in the result-based world of business, that’s an easy thing to forget.
Anyway, in a world where most business talks are UNBELIEVABLY DULL, here’s one I hope you’ll find really inspiring. Thanks, Ben!
[From the gapingvoid blog, 2005:]
Right now I’m converting “How To Be Creative” into a book.
For the benefit of any potential publishers out there, this is roughly who I think the book will appeal to:
It may be modest, it may not be. It could be a little candle shop; it could be a software company with the GNP of Sweden. It doesn’t matter. Meaning Scales.
1. THE SLEEPER HAS AWAKEN. We are entering “The Creative Age”. We have started to look for meaning. We are hungry. Meaning is the prey.
That doesn’t mean we suddenly quit our accountant jobs and go back to film school, or give up selling real estate and start cranking out our first novel. Some of us might, but not all. That would be far too predictable.
It means we’re starting to recognize that our work is just as much part of real lives as our evenings and weekends, that our jobs are not mere economic units that pay for “our real lives” outside the office.
Our jobs ARE our real lives, dammit, and we’re going to fight like hell to make sure that people recognize and respect this, not just our colleagues, but even sometimes ourselves. We’re not quitting out jobs in droves to go open organic bakeries and internet startups because we’re too lazy to go get a real job in Corporate America.
No, we’re leaving Corporate America because “real” is EXACTLY what we want our jobs to be. Real to us. And maybe we’ll stay within the corporate structure. Maybe we’ll just go find a better corporation. One that’s getting with the program. One that doesn’t take its own strength or its people for granted.
Or maybe we’ll just stay with the jobs we already have. Maybe the change that’s required just needs to happen silently, from within.
Maybe there’s more than one way to crack this nut. Maybe that’s what being creative is really all about.
We are turning off the TV. We are using the internet, reading books, attending museums, buying paint, taking night classes and purchasing art in unprecedented numbers. We suddenly feel alive and excited about life in a way that would have seemed crazy a generation ago.
We are learning to sing. We are starting to write in record number. We have discovered blogs. 40,000 of us start new ones every day. Will it make money? Who cares? This isn’t about money; this is about getting our thoughts together. Our thoughts are coming together because we are no longer asleep. We’re not even sleepy.
2. MEANING SCALES. Our eyes are open, and now we’re looking for fun things to do with them. As Buddha says, there is no one road to Nirvana. Enlightenment is a house with 6 billion doors. While we’re alive, we intend not to find THE DOOR, not A DOOR, but to find OUR OWN, UNIQUE DOOR.
And we’re willing to pay for the privelege. We’re willing to give up money and time and power and sex and status and certainty and comfort in order to find it.
And guess what? It’ll be a great door. It’ll add to this life. It’ll resonate. Not just with us, but with everybody it comes in contact with. The door will useful and productive. Alive and kicking. It’ll create wealth and laughter and joy.
It’ll pull its own weight, it’ll give back to others. It’ll be centered on compassion, but will be intolerant of dullards, parasites and cynics.
It may be modest, it may not. It could be a little candle shop; it could be a software company with the GNP of Sweden. It could involve politics or working with the elderly. It could be starting a design studio or opening a bar with Cousin Mike. It could be a screenplay, oil paints, or discovering the violin. It doesn’t matter. Meaning Scales.
3. I INTEND the book to be bought and read by people who connect with what I wrote above. I believe their number to be extremely large, and growing larger. I want to make a book for these people, to read while sitting on the john.
[P.S. The book was published eventually under the title “Ignore Everybody” by Penguin Portfolio, the same cats who publish Seth Godin. It was a minor success, ending up #11 of the Wall St Journal Bestseller list.]