Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Built With Thousands Of Tiny Perfect Bricks

"The emotional center of my customer is the most magical data I could have." I spoke at a business conference yesterday along side Gary Vee. Loved his philosophy on research. Real research. Not quant. Not sentiment analysis. Not fabricated consumer profiles. But the excavation of actual human feelings, usually compressed into something as small as a single tweet, that provides insight into their world. That's the drop of iodine that purifies all the water.

"Built with thousands of tiny perfect bricks." Fascinating book about famous artists and their journals. Wes Anderson's chapter was my favorite. His approach to the screenwriting process is highly incrementalist. He focuses on one small chunk at a time, makes that piece as good as he possibly can, and trusts that all the bricks will hold up in the end. I've always taken the same approach with books, songs, even business strategy. It's a lot less threatening when you only have to worry about the bricks, not the entire cathedral.

"The art of strategic indifference." The secret to not caring is doing some simple math. Here's an example. If somebody emails me with a list of typos they found in one of my books, I quickly factor in the calories it would take to care, plus the calories it would take to correct, then measure that against the importance of the result. That equation takes about a half a second to, and most of the time, the answer is the same. At which point I delete the email and get on with my life. You should try it sometime.

"Compete in clear air by writing all those pseudo covers out of your system." I spent the first five years of my writing career impersonating the work of my favorite authors. But eventually, once I wrote all the mimicry out of my system, there was nothing left but my own voice. I think most art is that way. We start out as carbon copies until we become originals. Inspired by the best book I've read all year.