The Life of a Creator

(This post is the 5th and final segment of a five part series about participation in the world of Social Media)

As someone who’s made it my life’s work to create things, I often wonder:

  • Will anyone care about what I am creating?
  • Does my creation matter?
  • Will anyone read my blog, watch my show, join my community, buy my service, appreciate my design, listen to my speech, share, comment, or care?
  • What happens if I invest an extraordinary amount of time into something and it fails?

Creators live in a difficult position.  If they invest their life into something that fails, they are considered a failure by many.  Creators and their creations are often grouped together.

Creators must be prepared to be a failure.

Think of the inventors, writers, designers, and artists who spent their life working on their creation, only to come up short.  Just think about all the developers that developed something that no one used, bought, or shared. For every Facebook, there are hundreds of social websites like Legacy 110.

There is great personal risk to any creator.

As I’ve said many times, there is a place for bravery in a modern world.  Just look at the creative process.  If no one was brave enough to risk total failure, we’d have no internet, no computers, no electricity.

Someone had to risk wasting their life.

It’s the only one of the 4 C’s of Social Media that regularly faces a do or die situation. If consumers don’t like what they consume (fail), they can easily find something else. If curators share something unpopular (fail), they can move on quickly to share something new.  There is an unlimited supply of things out there to consume or share.

Creating just isn’t that simple.

If you’ve ever blogged, recorded, designed, engineered, written a book, or given a speech, you know what I’m talking about.  It isn’t easy to create  something truly new.  The bigger and better the creation, the larger the risk.  That’s why so many people avoid beginning the journey.

So what makes people create?  Natural curiosity?  An accident?  Insanity?  The potential payoff?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that I’m truly thankful for those who invented the telecommunications that connect me to you, the computer I’m using right now, the software that makes it run, and the coffee that I’m enjoying right now.  All of these things had to be created and they truly enrich my life.  And so do the books, movies, and blogs that I consume each day.

I am thankful for the Creators in my life.

However, creators are not islands, they can not exist alone.  They need curators to share their work and curators need consumers to make their curation matter.   We are all creators, curators, and consumers in some way, and we all need each other to make this social web work.

Thanks for creating, sharing, and reading.  Because of you, we are all better off.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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In Defense of a 2-Year-Old Secretariat

While reading Warren Buffett’s letter to the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders last week, I came across something very interesting.

Apparently, Warren Buffett just hired 39-year-old Todd Combs as part of his succession plan.  Some are up in arms, saying he “lacks experience” and is too green.  Since Todd and I share the same generation, I was intrigued by the following explanation by the “Oracle of Omaha” himself:

“Our goal was to find a 2-year-old Secretariat, not a 10-year-old Seabiscuit.”
– Warren Buffett

I want to be clear that I have absolutely no problem with experienced people.  In fact, I’m on the lookout for an experienced mentor myself.  I believe that experience may bring additional maturity, strength, and other positive traits to a person.

However, in a time when our world is changing faster than ever before, I want to caution people who focus on “experience” rather than talent and learning ability.

Just look at the last 10 years, as Google went mainstream and some of the most popular marketing tools in the world wove themselves into the fabric our lives:

  • Wikipedia (2001)
  • Linkedin (2003)
  • Facebook (2004)
  • YouTube (2005)
  • Twitter (2006)
  • iPhone (2007)
  • Groupon (2007)
  • Foursquare (2009)

The Attention Age has begun!

With New Media entering the stage, business leaders must deal with 24 hour news cycles and the collective attention span of a world constantly seeking out the next big thing.

Personally, I’m enjoying it.

I’m embracing it.  I’m learning it.  I’m living it.

Whether you’re a “10-year-old Seabiscuit” or a “2-year-old Secretariat”, one thing is for certain:

Experience isn’t as important as it used to be.

We’re all students in these new and exciting times, and the leaders who are best with creativity, learning, and vision will win big.

Todd, I’ll be cheering you on.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Creativity and a Case for the ”Jack of All Trades”

I think it’s great that many 8pm Warriors are also “Jacks of All Trades” (or” James of All Trades” in this 8pm Warrior’s case), some by necessity, others by nature.

I don’t mean this to be a bad thing.  Often times, people only recite half the famous poem, making it look like a bad thing by ending at “master of none”.  But the poem actually finishes like this:

“Jack of all trades,
master of none,
though often times better
than master of one”

And I couldn’t agree more.  Just look at two of my favorite 8pm Warrior polymaths of all time:  Benjamin Franklin and Leonardo Da Vinci. After looking at their history and my own experiences, I believe that a person’s creativity is limited by their scope of experiences and understanding.  The biggest creations happen when two different concepts are fused together to change the world…hard to do when you only know one set of skills.

How does this apply to modern times?

With the Mechanical Turk, advancing robotics, and a seemingly endless and relentless flood of technical specialists coming out of Asia, things don’t look good for those who lack creativity.  Luckily for many western countries (like the US), this may be one of our strategic advantages for years to come.

Instead of locking our kids down to master one thing (sorry Amy Chua, author of the Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother), I think that the future of extremely successful 8pm Warriors will be in creating solutions and ideas, not mastering them.

Apparently other CEO’s of the world agree.

Have a diverse (and creative) night,

Aaron@Biebert

Everyone Wants to Win

But not everyone does.

Why is that?

There are only two main reasons:

1)  They never start

OR

2) They start, but never finish

I assume you’re reading this because you’ve started something that you haven’t finished.  (People who don’t start things generally don’t care to work past 5pm, and people who’ve finished them don’t need to work past 5pm)

But don’t pat yourself on the back yet.  If you haven’t finished, you’re really no different than those who didn’t start, except that you might be wasting your time while their out relaxing, drinking, or sleeping.

Gut check time.

If you want to win, you need to finish.  Luckily, in the modern world there are many ways to do that.  However, most of them take determination, bravery, and creativity.

Finish strong.  Win.

I’ll be right here with you.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert