alcramer [Alfredo Cramerotti]

Edgecraft

Posted in Thoughts.Coaching by alcramer on May 3, 2008

Ok, I got a crush on Seth Godin’s insights. This one you can find here. It’s about Edgecraft, which – according to him – is an iterative process that is much easier for an organization to embrace than brainstorming. Off we go:

It’s a mistake to try to champion much beyond your reach.

There are hundreds of available edges, things you can add to, subtract from or do to your product or service. Find an edge and go all the way to it. Going partway is time-consuming and expensive—and it doesn’t work very well. Going all the way to the edge is the only way to jolt the user into noticing what you’ve done. If they notice you, they’re one step closer to talking about you.

It’s all marketing now. The organizations that win will be the ones that realize that all they do is create things worth talking about.

And another little bit from the same book:

It’s not that people somehow lose their ability to be creative when they’re in an environment in which they feel safe. It’s that they ignore the creative ideas that naturally occur to them and fight the changes championed by others.

They like things the way they are, and they can’t resist the urge to defend the status quo. The challenge of the champion is to help people who are already creative to take advantage of their talent. By selling the dream and fighting the status quo, we can free people who have been lulled into a false sense of security.

And again:

You only have one boss, and if she doesn’t believe you can do it or that it’s worth doing, you’re stuck. If you can’t make the fulcrum work in the eyes of that key decision maker, your work is much more difficult. But there are hundreds of sources of capital in the outside world, and when you approach them as an entrepreneur, you’re more likely to have the posture of the champion. They want to believe that you’re the person who can do this, and thus you’re more likely to persuade them that you’re the guy.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the answer is to go outside and start something new. It means, instead, that you and your boss (or your co-workers, or your employees) should sit down together and figure out which parts of the fulcrum are out of whack.

Dramatic changes. Things that may very well be unattainable. Things that require not incremental improvements or changes, but significant quantum leaps in the way you organize, create and deliver what you do. If you can’t find a scary edge, then you haven’t found an edge, have you?

No use going to an edge that all your competition is going to as well. That’s not an edge. That’s the middle. Growth only comes from the leap to the remarkable.

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Wealthy Family

Posted in Thoughts.Coaching by alcramer on November 26, 2007

During coaching sessions, or informal chatting, it happens quite often to discuss the importance of coming from a wealthy family, which is seen as an absolute advantage for pursuing the creative career one wants. It seems that a wealthy family is all one needs to have in order to start a successful profession in the arts. I would like to question this assumption.

Being wealthy helps to get into the best schools, master courses and it might even allow the person to finance his or her own projects: if you have the money to fund your own production, say a book, an exhibition, a film, what else can you ask for? Family wealthy also provides you with the social links that one needs in order to become a well-spoken, networked, high-status cultural producer: in short, if you belong to a rich family, you will have access to powerful people, which can go a long way, as everybody knows.

It will give you not just more means, but also good habits, psychological finesse, travelling, and also traditions: well-established roots, family identity, a sort of model ‘how to stay and move in the world’. If you come from a rich family, you’ll become someone quickly at ease within the environments where decisions are made. Unfair, but true.

Now, what possible advantage could one get from NOT belonging to this category of people?

First, one has more motivations to get out of a disadvantaged situation, and more drive to achieve his/her goals: if you come from a poor environment, you don’t already have what you need, and you are more willing to commit to get results. Basically, you have more of that ‘primary energy’, which you cannot get anywhere if not in real need of something. The disadvantaged person knows very well that nothing will happen if s/he doesn’t make it happening. No fear, no scary about anything. Do not underestimate this strength.

Secondly, paradoxically, the poorer enjoy also more freedom to make his/her own choice, because no tradition to follow exists. You can easily see that if a family has a long and important tradition of lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs, etc., the pressure put on financial value and social status is so high that will be a problem if someone wants to become, say, a photographer, or a graphic designer. The demands to keep up that ‘family value’ will override any natural inclination of the subject. There is too much to loose, from a risky choice that departs from the tradition.

A third, fundamental aspect: the disadvantaged person might not be attached to any particular location in which his/her family lives, precisely because s/he has nothing to loose: having anything specific which anchor him/her to the family place, will provide the flexibility to search the locations offering the best possibilities. It will be easier to head for the places where the natural inclination might get fulfilled, either through study or work.

So, back to our coaching sessions for artists and creative people: take the assumption that a wealthy family is important in career-succeding with a grain of salt: to start advantaged, is not always better.

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