Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Discovering Things Is Clumsy And Sporadic.

I was just listening to a radio show about Brian Eno's famous oblique strategy cards. The narrator was unable to contact the man himself and read out a quote (somewhat out of context in my opinion) that indicated it would be a fool's errand. Feeling oblique, I googled it, found the post and then saw it included this bulletin board response from "last century".  It rather puts all that innovation agency nonsense to shame doesn't it?

"I'm afraid to say that admirers can be a tremendous force for conservatism, for consolidation. Of course it's really wonderful to be acclaimed for things you've done - in fact it's the only serious reward, because it makes you think "it worked! I'm not isolated!" or something like that, and it makes you feel gratefully connected to your own culture. But on the other hand, there's a tremendously strong pressure to repeat yourself, to do more of that thing we all liked so much. I can't do that - I don't have the enthusiasm to push through projects that seem familiar to me ( - this isn't so much a question of artistic nobility or high ideals: I just get too bloody bored), but at the same time I do feel guilt for 'deserting my audience' by not doing the things they apparently wanted. I'd rather not feel this guilt, actually, so I avoid finding out about situations that could cause it.

The problem is that people nearly always prefer what I was doing a few years earlier - this has always been true. The other problem is that so, often, do I! Discovering things is clumsy and sporadic, and the results don't at first compare well with the glossy and lauded works of the past. You have to keep reminding yourself that they went through that as well, otherwise they become frighteningly accomplished. That's another problem with being made to think about your own past - you forget its genesis and start to feel useless awe toward syour earlier self "How did I do it? Wherever did these ideas come from?". Now, the workaday everyday now, always looks relatively less glamorous than the rose-tinted then (except for those magic hours when your finger is right on the pulse, and those times only happen when you've abandoned the lifeline of your own history)."


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