I Have Four Minutes to Write This

things i learned about myself or observed or said last night:

last night I got very passionate during a discussion about the art community and pissed some people off. later in a sort of debriefing i said:

“I’m just sick of talk.” 5 words. That was my point.


That’s my problem, I either piss people off or leave them speechless.

Friday I think it was, I bookmarked a David Seah entry, Obsessing over Lost Ideas:

I tend to have a lot of ideas, which is a kind way of saying that I’m easily distracted. The way I control this impulse is by recognizing that most ideas aren’t worth much without the solid execution to bring them into reality. So when I talk to someone about an idea, I will assess our ability to work together with a set of rules like this:

  • Do we have the skills?
  • Do we have the time?
  • Do we have the resources?
  • Do we have the chemistry?
  • Do we really have the motivation?

It’s amazing how many ideas don’t make the cut, if you’re being truly honest. In a lot of cases, I’ll do something because I’m actually not sure…in the process of doing, I’ll find out. Of course, I have to disclose this fully to any involved parties, because otherwise the second battery of tests will fail:

  • Are we maintaining momentum?
  • Are we setting our expectations correctly?
  • Was our initial assessment accurate?
  • Do we keep going?

Not many personal projects make it past the second battery either, at least in my limited experience. That’s why if you ever find someone to team up with that can repeatedly pass this test, you should make every effort to work together. You have found something magical.

…It may be that for all the noise I make about ideas being worthless by themselves, it happens to be one of the things that I truly enjoy and am actually good at. So the upshot is: I’m really good at doing something that I know is worthless without execution behind it. Sheesh…I didn’t see that coming! By documenting them, perhaps I am attempting to generate some kind of value from them. At least when they’re written down, other people can benefit, and therefore attribute some kind of value to me.

So facing up to myself, I’m recognize I am being silly. Let me work this out:

  • First of all, if I’m so good at generating new ideas, then I will never lack for them. Ever. So starting now, I’m going to stop obsessing about remembering them (which I suck at anyway) and focus on generating new ones. That’s not to say that I’ll stop blogging them; I will just not run to the computer to write them down and get caught up in it every time a thought crosses my mind. This should have an effect on my personal productivity.
  • Secondly, I should worry about the ideas that do make it past the two filters, because those are the ones that matter in terms of executability. And that means the creation of tangible, life-sustaining assets…

Also, I was accused of being inappropriate/ineffectual because my board consists of three white men. Originally, diversity was a good idea – difference creates difference! But what good does it do you to have multiethnic, multi-gendered people on your committee if they are all from the establishment?! Boards are like newspapers – legacy.1 They’re the mainframes we have to deal with and might employ a few people while we create new solutions to new problems. They are, essentially, in the way, and in that sense need to be formed to best get out of the way. This is 2006, this is the 21st century…good ideas get turned into actions faster than ever, they get submitted to the commons of not just all ethnicities and genders but nationalities and geo-economic strata instantly…and either absorbed and rewarded or chewed and spit and recycled like so many aluminum cans. While you are carefully selecting old money and power to have committee discussions about this or that world-changing idea, your idea is being done better by someone who is only worried about getting it done. They aren’t thinking about marketing or budget or fame or status or career – maybe in the back of their mind they are, but the **thing is so demanding of their attention that they don’t really have time for that kind of bullshit – they aren’t even thinking about sustainability! If it doesn’t work, they go back to doing whatever they did before, or do whatever comes next…whatever, because the idea is free, and for all our talking about the information economy, ideas by themselves are worth less than beer or milk or the computers we preserve them (the ideas) on or the time we take to do the preserving.

  1. I’m ramped up from listening to the Bruce Sterling talk from sxswi06. Go listen to it. I’m on my 2nd and there will have to be a third. I will burn a CD for you if I must. You will notice me ripping his style here. 

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