Selling Time

Day 320 Week 44 Q4 Thursday, November 16, 2023

Have you ever finally completed a work, which could be a product that represents who you are in the world and what you want to be, and that you are proud enough of the result to go out and really sell it? And to also have the understanding that you are also selling yourself with this product.

It is a glorious feeling. All creative outliers have to earn a living along with everyone else unless they have inherited wealth or have a patron. I prefer the stakeholder path, where a group of people helps you, and you also try to make sure they get something in return for helping you. Just as I do not want to receive money without turning it in, which is why I am no longer interested in running a nonprofit. I am not comfortable asking for money, but I am comfortable earning money.

This is not so simple. I am not comfortable earning money doing something that I either do not want to do or do not think is producing any value in the world. I had no problem going out and selling the acoustic wave piano because I knew that it would positively change people’s lives, and it did. It also created a brand new mark for the self-contained electro-acoustical piano, which to this day sells at least in the hundreds of millions of dollars per year, if not billions internationally.

That product came into being almost 40 years ago, and it was the last product. I was really excited about selling. I was also excited about bringing audio to the computer world and selling it while working at Apple.  But this is a different feeling. This time, I am not working for a large company. I am working for myself. I own all of the intellectual property, rights, and credit; although I had a lot of help, it is indisputably my work, and I can finally say that to the world, and this will not be the last one. This is the first of many.

This is clearly the path for me. I do want to have a me-sized company with a single person; although there could be contractors, there will not be people with equity. There is a single person in charge, and it is me. I very much like this feeling, and I am very much up to accepting the responsibility to make it succeed or fail.

The democratization of technology has reduced the barriers to entry to commence new enterprises. You do not necessarily need to have a manufacturing plant or a laboratory, or even a studio. You can have an idea and some skills and judgment and some capital and a lot of hours of work, and you can make something happen.

And as my father-in-law says, Go Forth Mightily!

Chaperoning and Championing

Day 310 Week 44 Q4 Tuesday, November 7, 2023

When we have new ideas or create new inventions, processes, music, art, or literature, we have to champion whatever it is, we created to get it out in the world until the world begins to ask us for our input, which usually doesn’t last very long, unless you become very famous and even that doesn’t have a long have Life usually.

Entrepreneurs have become so used to having to champion their ideas that we get locked into transmit mode and sometimes stop listening. This is not a good way to convince anybody of anything but when I am speaking of here is a different although related issue. Many people know they have to champion as well as to listen, but there is another function that we get to play because after all, these outputs are in someway our children, and they require parenting in the form of being a chaperone once in a while.

For example, you have written some thing which is getting into print and can assume that what we see on our screen will also be what we see printed on physical media like paper. This is never the case. Things look different on the surface, which is reflecting, light as compared to a screen, which is emitting light. Colors change, contrast, changes, darkness, and hue change. And if you really want to have some fun, try to get gradients to come out on paper the way they do on the screen.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

This is why you have to do to press checks. Will you look at a printed out proof of something before you begin to replicate it and make many copies. It sounds so simple to send a file to a printer and expect what comes out to look like that file. But all experienced graphic designers and artists know this is not the case.

Authors, on the other hand, may be surprised if they are more in tune to the actual words, then the colors and shading and spacing of what they have written, all of which can be subject to change in ways that you did not expect. In general, the result is worse than you expected not better.

This is why, before mess producing anything printed at all, you must get a press proof, which is actually printed on the materials that you would like to be printing upon. The same holds true for prototyping and pilot runs before attempting to mess produce anything.

I called this to your attention, because even if you have convinced everybody that they want you’re out, but your job is not done you still have to chaperone it to defend the integrity of your creation, or it will be altered in ways that may not please you. Don’t leave this to chance. Try it out.

Do you have to be both a champion and a chaperone, especially in this difficult age.

On Being Different

Day 172 Week 25 Q2 Thursday, June 22, 2023

You cannot be better if you were the same. My ex boss, Amar Bose, the founder of Bose Corporation used to illustrate this by taking two bills out of his wallet of the same denomination that look the same and asking which one is better.  Many people who worked for him in the past, began to use this example when addressing others, and it still holds true.

If you want to strive for excellence, and to be better than the main stream, then you also have to be different. It does not matter how good of a copycat you are, if you don’t write original material, you were just a cover band. I’ve heard it said, there are currently 5000 Grateful Dead cover bands right now and the United States. This could be fun but what an insane thing to do if you want to earn a living.

There are so many copy cats in art, music, literature, theater, and in television. And why does anyone want to do this at all? Because it seems less risky to do something already popular. I cannot imagine as a creative person, wanting to do any of those things, because they had already been done, and what’s the fun of that.

I guess people think if they do the same thing that has already done, they will be safe, avoid risk and life will be smooth. I’ve never craved a smooth life. I’ve craved an interesting life.  This may not be the most sensible thing to do, but for me, it has much greater meaning than spending my entire life recapitulating what somebody else is already done.

I guess this is why, as a creative outlier, I eventually became an involuntary innovator. The very act of bringing into the world new manifestations, of new concepts, is what gives my life meaning. For me, imitation is not emotionally relevant. Therefore it is not emotionally engaging. I am disinterested in engaging what does not matter to me.

I do not think that it makes sense, for one to work to be different. You either are different, or you are not different. For me, I would have to work to be the same. Being different is an effortless part of my DNA. Just because you were different, does not mean you are better. In fact, most of the time being different, means being worse. It is extremely demanding to be both different and better at the same time. But it can be done, because everyone who has made it big in the world has done this.

Take the road less traveled. When you come to a fork in the road, take it. When faced with the repetition of zero risk, avoid it.

And finally have a point of view.  Preferably one that is different.