The news is flying fast and furious these days. Forget about our coming presidential election and all that may or may not be true about each side’s platform. I am talking about things that matter to creative business owners. No, there is no specific news, just a shift in the wind, stuff that should make you sit up and go hmmmm.
The first is an awesome series of articles in the New York Times about just how much power is needed to keep all of the massive data centers going. Collectively worldwide, they need roughly the output of 30 nuclear power plants every year. Of the power used, ninety percent is wasted. At first glance, you would say so what? But just think about how much is placed on the eco-friendliness of the Internet. Go paperless! The future is the cloud! Shame on China for wasting so much energy and polluting the world! Turns out that our overwhelming desire to have everything at our fingertips instantly comes at a huge cost. Just like your $1 burger at you name the fast food joint and the massive, soulless feedlots necessary to support them. If we can accept that not everything will be at our fingertips (like your 1997 presentation on Excel 5 generations ago), then perhaps we can set out solving the huge energy suck we now face. My only thought here is that as we get swept away with (mis)perception, what happens when we all know better? What will you do with your creative business to recognize the price of 24/7 and understand how to value it? There is always a counter-pose for when perception becomes misperception. The organic everything movement is a terrific example to the $1 burger. Maybe it is not the best idea to keep your client’s information available to them forever? Maybe 15 piecemeal presentations over email is not the best way to go? Actual prints might work better (and be better for the environment in the long run) than those digital files you supply like candy.
Apple won a huge patent lawsuit against Samsung. Google bought Motorola’s huge patent library. Google Maps is no longer part of Apple’s devices despite being vastly superior to Apple Maps. I am all for the end-to-end user experience Apple promotes, but when that platform for innovation becomes a means to protect what’s yours, look out. Like it or not, Apple is worth a gagillion dollars today because of its ability to collaborate (albeit strictly on its terms). Would you really own an IPhone if you could not have your favorite non-Apple apps on it? Use ITunes if almost every artist was not available on it? Maybe the news is slanted but, presuming it is not, when innovation shifts to protectionism, we all lose. Nothing to do with your creative business? I cannot tell you how many times I hear about creative professionals not playing nice in the sand-box. As the U.S. outlook turns rosier and work picks up, are you looking to form new collaborations or make sure that you get yours? The direct parallel to being the best at the world at what you do is that you are not the best in the world at what you do not do. We would all agree (or at least I hope that we do) your clients deserve the best in the world, so if that is not you, why is it not your business to make sure you put them with someone who is? Innovation demands that you figure out how to make that happen and still make money at it. Protectionism lets you believe that so long as your client gets what your creative business does best, they will accept those other parts of the business that are no the best. Good luck to Apple with Apple Maps.
With every transition, shift in perception, decision to act like the gorilla in the room, there is opportunity. Creative business, ahem, is meant to be creative, to see a world that does not yet exist and set about creating it. You do it every day with your art, why not with your business? Think differently, act differently, respect those that want what you most have to offer and set about turning that want into a need. Live by the mantra of giving your clients only the best, always with the ability to question and redefine what that means. See where that takes you instead of trying to build a bigger fence.