Thomas Friedman

5 Ways To Discover New Clients

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Art & Commerce Series Have you heard of Aroma Poetry, Lab Grown Bones, Mixed Reality Making The Mundane Magical. These were each created by artists who are applying technology in new ways to areas they are fascinated by -- everything from biology to virtual reality. Artists are leading the way in taking down barriers and showing connections between art and technology. Living in Seattle where there has been much friction between art and technology, I see great opportunity if only the two sides will connect. 

“The next 10 years will require people to think and work across boundaries, into new zones that are totally different than their expertise. They will not only have to cross those boundaries, but they will also have to identify opportunities and make connections between them.” - Designer Clement Mok

The starving artist is a well-known metaphor, but this doesn’t have to be our lives. If we are willing to do the work of creating something unique instead of being comfortable with producing pale imitations. In the book “Rembrandt’s Enterprise: The Studio and the Market” author Svetlana Alpers shares about Rembrandt the artist being an entrepreneur and businessman. How his successes in the marketplace brought him honor in contrast to the artists who sought honor through the patronage of the wealthy or religious institutions.

Daniel H. Pink in his book “A Whole New Brain: Why Right Brainers Will Rule The Future” encourages individuals to ask themselves the following three questions about what they’re doing to earn a living:

  1. Can someone overseas do it cheaper?
  2. Can a computer do it faster?
  3. Is what I’m offering in demand in an age of abundance?

We are at a pivotal time where artists have the unique ability to team up with businesses and organizations in a variety of industries to create as Pink’s book states “artistic and emotional beauty, to detect patterns and opportunities, to craft a satisfying narrative and to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into novel invention.”     

5 Ways To Begin Uncovering New Opportunities

  1. Go online or visit your bookstore, find a magazine that is not what you would normally read. Look for an article that fascinates you and follow your curiosity. Keep your eyes open for opportunities.
  2. Experiment with how you share your art, look for new technology or avenues you have not previously used. Think about how you can tweak your work to tell a better story or capture a new audience through the platform.
  3. Have coffee with a friend in a different industry, and pick their brain as to what new industry trends, technologies, etc. are currently inspiring them. Look for ways to adapt the idea for your own art.
  4. Create an inspiration board around a word, article, texture or image that you find compelling. You know those crime boards every TV show has, imagine yourself as a detective and begin to connect the pieces.
  5. Make digital solitude a part of your life. This past weekend I unplugged from my phone and computer as part of a 25-Hour Experiment, this allowed me to have undistracted conversations and think deeply on ideas. I believe it is in depth that we are going to find our competitive differentiation.

“The challenge in this era of globalization - for countries and individuals - is to find a healthy balance between preserving a sense of identity, home and community and doing what it takes to survive within the globalization system.” - Thomas Friedman

Image By: Lindsey Bolling Photography

The 25 Hour Experiment

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From sunset on Friday until stars dot the sky on Saturday night, I disconnect from the digital world.. For 25 hours a week.. Pollution from information overload and carbon emissions are stopped cold on the day of rest. - Mel Alexenberg

I recently stepped into a local apothecary and began to the proprietor a series of questions. I was curious what people typically came to see her for, I guess it to be the common cold. She said I was mostly correct, but that people in my generation are dealing with anxiety and insomnia. This wasn't surprising to me, but when she mentioned that she was the crazy lady on the corner telling people to turn off their phones it really got me thinking.

The challenge in this era of globalization - for countries and individuals - is to find a healthy balance between preserving a sense of identity, home and community and doing what it takes to survive within the globalization system. - Thomas Friedman, The Lexus & The Olive Tree

Technology has pretty thoroughly saturated my life, I run social media for companies, as well as consult individual creatives and small businesses on how to level up on marketing. Though I value my connectivity, I am someone from strong family roots where dinners were spent together and deep community was treasured. My mother is German and part of what she passed down to our family from her culture was a passion for sitting around a table for hours conversing about art, religion and ideas. In addition to rich conversation, I grew up in a household where TV was limited and I was encouraged to spend time in nature though if it was too humid (ohh Arkansas) then there was a library stocked with books. All of these things greatly fostered my imagination, my curiosity, and my hunger to delve deeper into areas which I knew little about.

I have a growing concern that as this new economy increases pressure on us all to adapt more quickly, constantly be growing our skill sets, etc. we are losing our depth. Our ability to look deeply at ideas, to converse, to see connections and strategic positioning at the intersection of the arts, business and technology. And you know what the crazy thing is? I am fairly certain this depth is the key which will greatly differentiate us in the new economy.

Artists in the postdigital age also function as researchers and teachers. Artists - researchers - teachers inhabit and explore the borderlands between art, science, technology, and education, integrating knowing, doing and making through aesthetic experiences that flow between intellect, feeling and practice to create and convey meaning. - Mel Alexenberg

As efficiencies increase and the economy transitions to more of a "gig economy" we need to make sure that we are intentionally directing our lives, instead of them running us. Did you know that Rembrandt was known not only for being an artist, but also an entrepreneur and business man? His successes in the art marketplace brought him great honor. Today more than ever before we need to allow ourselves time to unplug and to think deeply, not only for personal wellness but for competitive advantage. So this weekend I am launching a 25-hour experiment, from sunset on Friday till the stars dot the sky on Saturday evening, I will be unplugged from my computer and unavailable by cell phone. Whether you decide to be this extreme, or test your own variation - perhaps not looking at your phone for 1-2 hours, I am curious to see what happens. Many of us have been pushing for breakthrough and seeing areas where we need to pivot, so let's give ourselves some time + space to focus.

Your Dream Defender,

Esther


To Learn More About The Gig Economy Check Out: