Information packaged

In this internet age, access to information and data is not necessarily a competitive advantage. Everyone has google. Everyone has more data than they know what to do with. This includes your clients.

The trick then when dealing with clients and data is to package it properly. Package it into something as specific as possible.

If the target client needs scientific proof to make a decision, send them scientific papers.

If they are driven by money, send them as many financial statements and ratios as possible to back up your sale.

If they identify with emotion and passion, possibly you need to package your information in the form of a romantic story.

It is a matter of speaking the right language to achieve your goal with a client.

We all have a language we like to speak and will pay money and attention for. What is yours?

Asking for advice

You need to be careful who you ask. There are all sorts of pitfalls. Some people might not understand the question and give a lazy response to what they thought the question was. Some might get emotional if the question threatens their position. Many people are not used to thinking through their answers.

I believe we humans create easy answers to a lot of the more difficult questions thrown at us, even if they are not true or based on facts. We have to, simply to cope with the harsh reality of life. Placebos can work very well but if someone asks an honest question then you owe them a well thought out answer based on fact, not purely on faith.

Next time someone asks me for advice I will first try and really understand where they are coming from before offering my own point of view on the matter. Then I will try and stick to the facts.

Happy Sunday chimps!

Playtime

Movies are given to us in (usually) 2 – 3 hour chunks. Designed to set aside a whole evening for your entertainment. Conversely, Entrepreneurs and influencers on Tiktok or on Instagram have mastered the quick fire clips and video messages.

Even though there are neuro-chemical tricks going on with Instagram, it is interesting to me that social media often feels like the only form of entertainment that fits into my life right now. To read a book I need to wake up at 5am when the house is quiet. The same with movies or albums. These things need concerted effort from me whereas the Instagram account goes with me wherever I go.

I know this is not revelatory in any way. Mobile phones are convenient…..so what? However when I look at these facts I realize two things. Firstly, I need to manage what’s appearing on my Social media feeds so that the messages I am receiving are of value and not just a trick to keep my brain’s attention. Secondly, I need to make time for books, albums and movies that I still want to have in my life while my kids are young and life is so busy.

That will go some way towards escaping the media jungle of life.

Nearly New Years! Happy Monday chimps.

Research and writing

If you want to write a good book, you need to know something about the subject matter. This sounds silly and obvious, but it’s not. The question to ask is when do I know ENOUGH about the subject?

Enough to teach a 4 year old? Enough to give a speech? Enough to pass the exam?

The search for enough is the most fruitless search and it never ends. Research never ends. We need to be able to handle that truth if we want to be an expert at anything.

Rather focus on the process itself. The contribution to the culture. You need to enjoy the research and creation process, rather than obsess over the result being enough of anything.

Easy to say, hard to do.

Happy Wednesday chimps.

The price of art

Art is subjective. But to my mind, as an artist the price you place on a piece of art is reliant on three major drivers – marketing, reputation and purpose.

Marketing – this boils down to the things that can be defined and measured and tracked. Who is the piece of art aimed at? What is the minimum viable audience? Who is expecting your message as something anticipated, personal and relevant? The clearer this is in your head as an artist, the easier it is to price your work.

Reputation – this is linked to perseverance and track record. The idea of showing up and consistently shipping what you say you will ship is important when you need to put a price on your work. With each promise you keep, your reputation is solidified and this gains you a most valuable form of currency in the internet age – attention. Wit attention comes pricing power.

Purpose – Are you trying to change the culture, and by how much? A couple of examples run through my head:

  • Your purpose may be not ambitious enough – As an artist, you are well known as a ‘reproducer of the masters’. All you ever do with your art skills is reproduce Van Gogh paintings for tourists to buy as cheap mementos. In order to remain relevant to your chosen market (and it is a choice) you have to keep on churning out the sunflowers and keep the pricing at a level defined by the going rate for copies of others’ paintings. It’s not changing the culture, it might make you a living, but the prices remain low and the labor required very high. In essence you are a factory selling a commodity.
  • Your purpose may be too ambitious – a performance artist wants to rid the world of human trafficking through the clarity and poignancy of her message. Dancing and reciting her viscous poetry on the street corner, she ends up shouting at passers by who do not give her much attention or currency. Her stated purpose was too broad and difficult to achieve. Her market is not refined enough. Her price bottoms out.

What makes you pay a particular price for art?

Buildings through different lenses

One way to view a building is through the lens of a developer. Using this lens, a building is a foundation, a frame, and finishes (interior and exterior — windows, doors, penetrations) plus the surface finishes (floors, walls, ceilings, interior doors, rest rooms, mop closets, central plant) and the HVAC, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, controls, elevator systems.

Buildings can also be linked to health and emotion. A house can be a safe space and a home full of joy, or it can be full of anger, the scene of a divorce. Creative spaces can give you a sense of freedom and purpose. Pressurized space characterized by disjunction and poor design can give you a feeling of unease – it may even make you sick.

Depending on what you want to achieve, it helps to have the right lens. For example right now I need to sort out several functional things in our old house such as the garden lawn and the crumbling driveway. Developers lens helps here. I also have to manage a big family’s needs and expectations with my own. Seeing our home as a space for emotional fulfillment, health, and personal development is perhaps the lens to use here.

Contrast = interesting to humans

I once asked my dad why he liked The Rolling Stones so much. His answer was that they understood the need for highs and lows in a song.

It is hardwired deep in your nervous system. The senses that we humans have developed over millennia of evolution – touch, smell, sight, hearing – are made up of nerve cells linking to our brain. These nerve cells respond better to a sudden change than they do to repeated stimuli.

What does this mean? It depends on the situation.

For Mick Jagger and the boys it means that their songs have light and shade. Quiet verses and soaring choruses. Jagger will whisper and then he will growl and roar.

For emergency response vehicles it means the loud sirens are designed to be varied, sharp and with many different patterns so as to be noticed over the noise of everyday traffic. This contrast works better than one continuous noise which is easily filtered out by the human ear.

For creative people, I think it means that if a piece of art is not getting the desired response, then one of the first things to assess is the use of contrast – light and shade, highs and lows.

Contrast = interesting to humans.