This week I had the strange experience of being the only audience member I knew. This was at a lecture venue where, in the past, I have been concerned that I knew too many people and was therefore too close to the online echo-chamber.
Those often brilliant lectures have tended to be about neuroscience, social networks and anthropology. Marketing-related individuals know this to be the latest seam of official knowledge that must be mined for sound-bites and hence I've had no shortage of company in the bar afterwards.
The marketer-free lecture was a discussion of comedy and featured the writers and producers of some of the biggest TV shows on both sides of the Atlantic. I couldn't understand why I was alone. Sure, there was no mention of brain chemistry, but apart from being a fan, it seemed obvious to me that comedy can tell us so much about cultural landscapes, concise communication and connecting with people.
Confirmation came from Caryn Mandabach (producer of The Cosby Show, Roseanne, Third Rock From The Sun, Nurse Jackie etc) who was asked about her creative philosophy. Her response? Look around, see what's not there and then make that.
It's smart to follow an intelligent group, but discovery more often occurs when you don't follow the pack. You also get to talk to new people in the bar. Try it.