Ten Rules for Success in the Creative Economy

From my inbox:
1. Invent yourself.
Create a unique cluster of personal talents. Own your image. Manage it. Build momentum. Leave school early, if you want, but never stop learning. Dance as if no one is looking. Break the rules. Be clear about your own assets and talents. They are unique. And they are all you have.
2. Put the priority on ideas, not data.
Create and grow your own creative imagination. Build a personal balance sheet of intellectual capital. Understand patents, copyright, trademarks and other intellectual property laws that protect ideas. Entrepreneurs in the creative economy are more worried if they lose their ability to think than if their company loses money. Think about it.
3. Be nomadic
Nomads are at home in every country. You can choose your own path and means of travel, and choose how long you stay. Being nomadic does not mean being alon; most monads travel in groups, especailly at night. Writer Charles Handy says leaders must combine ‘a love of peoploe’ and a ‘capacity for aloofness’. Nomads apreciate both the desert and the oasis; likewise creatives need both solitude and the crowd, and thinking alone and working together.

4. Define yourself by your own (thinking) activities, not by the (job) title somebody else has given you. If you are working for a company X on project Y, say you are working on project Y at company X. People who are brave call themselves thinkers. Computer companies try to concost and sell ‘business solutions’ to their client’s problems; in the creative economy, we each can think and exchange creative solutions with each other. Play Charles Hampden-Turner’s ‘Infinite Game’, in which everybody seeks a mutually positive outcome.
5. Learn endlessly.
Borrow. Innovate. Remember the US Electric Power ad, ‘A New Idea is Often Two Old Ideas Meeting For The First Time’. Use retro, reinvention, revival – be a magpie. Creative artists scavange for new ideas. It does not matter where you get ideas from; what does matter is what you do with them. If you’re bored, do something else. Use networks. If you cannot find the right network, start it. Take risks and do unnecessary things. Companetely ignore Frederick Winslow Taylor’s famous instruction to the Ford Motor Company’s workers that they should ‘elimate all false movements, slow movements and useless movements’. Wayward movements can lead to amazing discoveries.
6. Exploit Fame and Celebrity.
The productions costs are small and relatively fixed. Fame is what economists call a ‘sunk cost’, which cannot be recovered but which can be freely exploited at no further expense, and both fame and celebrity bring virtually unlimited rewards in terms of the ability to charge more for one’s services and to revitalize a life or career that is momentarily stuck. Being well known (even slightly known) is as important in the creative economy of the twenty-first century as good typing speeds were in the clerical economy of the twentieth. The essence of being a star, as shrewdly revealed by David Bowie, is ‘the ability to make yourself as fascinating to others as you are to yourself’. This is not about being famous for fifteen minutres, which is how Andy Warhol characterized the transience of media attention, but being famous for being creative, which was Warhol’s own achievement, long after he had stopped pointing or indeed working at all.
7. Treat the virtual as real and vice versa.
Cyberspace is merely another dimension to everyday life. Do not judge reality by whether it is based on technology but by more important and eternal matters such as humanity and truth. Bandwidth is useless without a message, without communication. At all times, use the RIDER process: review, incubations, dreams, excitement and reality checks. Mix dreams and reality to create your own future.
8. Be Kind.
Kindness is the mark of success. Data never says ‘please’. Humans can and should say ‘please’ and mean it. People treat each other as they themselves are treated; exactly as a fast computer produces data more quickly, so a kind person will be invited to more networks, receive more knowledge and create more.
9. Admire success openly. Martina Navratilova, who won Winbledon nine times and the US open four times, was right when she said: ‘the person who said “It’s not whether you win or lose that counts,” probably lost…’ Equally, do not be fixated on success; be curious about failure. Creative people are the strictest judge of their own successes and failures because they want to learn from them (see rule 5). The worst thing is depression, not recession. You will never win if you cannot lose.
10. Be very ambitious.
Boldly Go.
11. Have fun.
Film-maker David Puttnam, who starts the next chapter, says, ‘The most exciting, creative period of my life was in the early 1960s at the Collett Dickinson Pearce advertising agency when I was a group head working with Charles Saatchi, Alan Parker (who later directed Midnight Express and Evita) and Ridley Scott (who later directed Alien) – a pretty good group, you’ll agree. But the only thing I remember doing a lot, a really lot of, was tap dancing. We spent hours practising tap dancing and in between we’d work out an ad. It was a fantastic thing. We’d be screaming with laughter, absolutely falling about and meanwhile creating some very remarkable work.’ People who enjoy themselves are not only happier but they achieve more, faster. Above all, do not worry; Tom Wehr of the National Institute of Mental Health, Maryland, says the sleeping brain sorts out the previous day’s affairs as a ‘creative worry factory’. Feed it.
– Howkins