In my last few posts I’ve been obviously obsessed with combining the ideas of art and business.
Do art and business always go hand in hand? Of course not! But there are times when they do. Everyone should have the ability and a safe space to self-express and business has little to do with that. (Self-expression is not exactly the same as being an artist or creating art – if you want to argue with this please feel free). Business is really an exchange of goods or services – forget the dollar sign if it makes you uncomfortable. Think of business as a way to fulfill a need that you have (instead of a want which is what we do in consumerist culture). Cool? Cool.
Artists and entrepreneurs share similar characteristics and our work has similar properties:
- We both have great passion
- We move from initial concept through stages of development to a final product or work
- We are constantly looking to explore and learn
- We have to deal with a lot of constructive (and not so constructive) criticism
- Financing or Funding our dreams is a hefty aspect of our work
- We find what we do very satisfying
- We are willing to invest emotionally, physically and financially into our projects
- If we fail (or deem something a failure) we will eventually get back up and try again or try something new
- We are risk takers (even if the risks seem small)
If you are a CEO or a COO or a HR Manager or a Team Lead (essentially someone who is allowed to make final decisions) you should consider hiring more artistically inclined people to your teams. Artists aren’t sensitive – we are critical and analytical. We synthesize great amounts of information and see patterns and themes in disparate ideas. Business leaders always tell their teams to think outside of the box and then put them in a closed bare walled boardroom to brainstorm. I have no idea why so many brainstorming sessions (even in creative industries) take place inside of board rooms – this is brainstorming not contract negotiation. You would actually have to be a very skilled artist to make use of a blank space like a boardroom to create brilliant ideas without external inspiration- and let’s be honest the vast majority of your staff are not creatively inclined. Alternatively you could provide time or encouragement for your team members to express their creative sides or propose ideas which are tangent to your business.
Artists – we need to be more business saavy – the world of the record label, large gallery, movie studio or television network, essentially the idea of big media business currently is in pieces and in future will be replaced by the Apples’, Googles’ and Yahoos’ of the world. These companies are not made for artists – they are entrepreneurs – they use art, music, literature to further their businesses – but they are not in the business of art. Google is not really interested in meaning – they are interested in information – these are very very different ideas. And in practice Apple is not interested in creativity – they are interested in facilitating creativity. Now of course, inherent in the Apple process are aspects of art and design – but they use these as tools for their software business (as discussed by Colin Gibbs in the post “As Always Mobile Music faces Uncertain Future” Jul 17 2010 on GigaOm.com).
The profitable and meaningful media future will require a hybrid in the media industry. A hybrid company that has the brains of a technology based corporation and the heart and soul of a community based artistic organization. Any thoughts on building the foundations or staples of the a sustainable new media ecosystem or the real ticket – the business model to support that ecosystem? If you have the monetization aspect down – I’d love to treat you out to coffee ;).