Jobs, Life, Creativity and Passion

I just finished reading Seth Godin’s new book – Tribes. As normal with Seth’s books he frequently goes into various stories throughout to make his points, this book was no exception with one particular story that really caught my attention.

Here is the excerpt from Tribes:

How Was Your Day?

It’s four a.m. and I can’t sleep. So I’m sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Jamaica, checking my e-mail.

A couple walks by, obviously on their way to bed, having pushed the idea of vacation a little too hard. The woman looks over to me and, in a harsh whisper a little quieter than a yell, says to her friend, “Isn’t that sad? That guy comes here on vacation and he’s stuck checking his e-mail. He can’t even enjoy his two weeks off.”

I think the real question – the one they probably wouldn’t want to answer – was, “Isn’t it sad that we have a job where we spend two weeks avoiding the stuff we have to do fifty weeks a year?”

Seth Godin, Tribes (2008)

I suspect that for the vast majority of people the idea of having a job which drives such passion that you do not mind, in fact you want, to make it part of your life is just a step too far. It is, presumably, why whenever we ask people about how their job is going it inevitably begins with a groan and ends with a “I need another drink!”.

Can a work environment be created that allows many more of us to feel a similar way about their work to how Seth does? I had the opportunity to see Gary Hamel speak a few months back and if we believe in the vision he presented it seems like this is not only possible but it will be an economic necessity for developed nations. An excerpt of the content he covered a few months ago is available here and very much worth the 20 minutes to listen to the podcast.

We’re going to have to get people to bring to work their initiative, their creativity, their passion, and those are human capabilities that cannot be commanded. Those are gifts that people either choose to bring to work or not.

Gary Hamel

One of Gary Hamel’s central premises is that organizations up to now have been managed by seeking out those with Intellect, Diligence, and Obedience (attributes he argues are now a virtual commodity) but now and in the future survival of companies will be dependent upon finding those with the additional talents of Creativity, Initiative, and Passion. It seems logical then that to support and attract these individuals, organizations will have to adapt and create a work environment where those with these talents will want to put their unique skills to work – and as Gary says – choose to give these ‘gifts’ to the place that they work.

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The TELUS Innovation Experience

Browsing around the TELUS website (as any normal person in the UK does on a Saturday morning) I came across the following:

Telus Innovation Experience - Share your thoughts

What struck me about this was the little button at the bottom: “Share your thoughts”. At first glance this seems like a fantastic idea – here is TELUS presenting their vision of the communications future and all the while asking those who choose to view this content for their thoughts on it. That was – of course – until I clicked on the link and was brought to the following:

TELUS Innovation Experience - Survey Page

As it turns out the link didn’t work anymore, and even if it did the objective of it was to have you fill out a survey. My excitement in seeing the “Share your thoughts” link had been driven by what I thought was going to be an open “comment” area where those who were interested in viewing TELUS’ perspective on the future could share their ideas, discuss and constructively criticize or praise the vision. Unfortunately this was not the case – but it does make me think what an interesting opportunity it would be for companies who do post content about their long-term vision on the web to open up the feedback mechanisms to allow for more free-form discussion about where they see a product, service or business going in the future.

Death of DRM?

It has taken a while but it seems that the days of Digital Rights Management (DRM) encumbered music may be coming to an end. Apple’s announcement at MacWorld that they are to remove DRM from the music sold on iTunes is good news for consumers and online music sales in general.

After hearing the news I got to thinking about an article and presentation from a few years ago – the links are below and most definitely worth the time to go through:

Tim O’Reilly: Piracy as Progressive Taxation
Lawrence Lessig: Free Culture

These two pieces relay in incredible simplicity why DRM is unnecessary, and the risk associated with the technology to infringe on our fair-use rights. It remains to be seen how the disappearance of DRM on music may influence corporate decisions on DRM for other types of media in the future but both Tim O’Reilly and Lawrence Lessig deserve significant credit for us at least arriving at the beginning of the end of DRM in music.

Filed under: Media | 1 Comment