The world is your oyster. (Or as they say in Kenya, the world is your ostrich). This is a fine saying full of hope and optimism, but how do you know what part of the world/oyster/ostrich to focus on? How do you define scope for your next project?
Scoping your work is probably the most important part. Scope is what lets us understand where to allocate time and resources to a project. It sets the boundaries, and it is very subjective.
How to decide on a focus and a scope of a project then? Stick with what you know. This is hard because the internet and TV can convince you that you know about all sorts of stuff. But to quote Seth Godin: “There’s a difference between being aware of the emergency of the day and having firsthand experience and firsthand empathy for different people in different places.”
Focus then on something which you understand through first hand experience. Perhaps you can show people how to do something (check out my mate Martin’s excellent Vlog series for his art). Or perhaps you know exactly where there is a gap in the market. The point is – take the real, personal interactions you have in the world and grow the project from there.
Emotional labour is hard because we don’t feel like doing it. Put yourself in the shoes of another on purpose. It takes effort. By doing this you can make things easier for them to understand and to enjoy your company. They are more likely to listen to you.
At its easiest this process is smooth – Showing your child the stars and the moon. Explaining something to someone you already love. Maybe this doesn’t even count as labour, but it is rewarding – it gives as much as it takes – I saw the Milky Way with fresh eyes after taking it for granted for so long. I was proud and confident to sell our night skies to her.
At the business end of the spectrum emotional labour is often incredibly difficult and the crux of any transaction. To understand what drives another person – what will affect their status and their emotions? And to convince them of your ability to add value – that is work indeed. Marketing at its core. Do they need you? What are they thinking?
I market the galaxy to my daughter and it’s simple. I market a service to a bank and it’s brutally hard.
Resident Evil 2 just won the Game Critics Awards top honour. This was a risky move by Capcom – to remake a classic. Sort of like covering a Beatles song, the danger is the new version will never live up to the original.
But this gamble seems to have paid off. It is part of a much bigger gamble in the gaming world – making older games available all over again. Xbox in particular is betting heavily with its backwards compatibility.
Personally I have found it difficult to buy old games on a new(ish) console. It goes against the narrative we have always been sold that the newest and latest is inevitably the best. Of course this is purely hype and marketing, and the massive back catalogue will be as valuable in gaming as it is in music.
It’s just a psychological hurdle to overcome in order to enjoy the old stuff all over again.
There is a fine line between asking for consideration, for attention as part of a smart marketing campaign, and becoming annoying with pestering. I have been asked by an ex-colleague I trust and like to vote for his work in a survey for his piece on diesel emissions. This is fine by me because I know him and he had my attention anyways. But self-promotion is often not so clearcut.
I am of the belief that given a choice it is always preferable to let the work speak for itself. That way if you are good enough, others will take the time to knock on your door to find out what you do. You won’t have to bother anyone out of the blue.
Of course this is not the only method for selling something to someone, but it is probably the pinnacle I am trying to aim for.