why it’s good to give your stuff for free

Posted on March 28th, 2012

I like this story: Trevor from Youth Lagoon recently told my friend Tim (who told me) that back before he was Somebody he decided to release his first single “July” on Bandcamp for free. Everyone told him he was mad. That he should monetise his efforts. But then the track went viral. And he got fans. And Youth Lagoon got big.

We know this kind of story, yeah?

by Lee Basford via advice to sink in slowly

It’s The New Creativity. Give first. See what happens next.

PS: you might like to listen to “July” while you read the rest of this:

Seth Godin first explained the beauty of this concept to me early one morning on Skype. We chatted, quite literally, about the point of existence. He told me it’s about “shipping”.

“Real artists ship,” he says. You can fiddle and perfect and rehearse for a while. But then – fire up! – we have to press send or call in UPS to pick up our contribution to the planet – whether it be a report, a love letter, a meal, a blog post. That’s the point. Which is not far off my “quit the rehearsals, skip to the play” theory from last week.

Art is something we offer as a gift to humanity, Seth tells me. Read more

“poke life and something will always pop out the other side”

Posted on December 14th, 2011

Just this. From Steve Jobs in some random interview in 1995 (when he had hair, a beard and not-so-fat-wads-of-cash).

It cuts through to something we all need to know:

When you grow up you, tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that

 everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

And then again, a little later in the same interview…and frankly my favourite insight in a long time:

The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will… pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing.

It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it. Read more

8 things to learn about being creative from Wendy Harmer (a podcast)

Posted on October 27th, 2011

I’ve decided to start an occasional series with creative people I admire who have a spark of unique “dive-into-life”-ness that I think we could all learn from. There. A long sentence for you.

Image by Tierney Gearon

Wendy Harmer is my first such guest. She is a MASSIVE spirit and her impact in Australia is huge. She’s a comedian, teen fiction writer, memoirist, blogger (you must sign up to Hoopla – smart women contributors talking important water cooler stuff) and…the rest. She’s playful and she creates from a very true and honest space. The best kind. I loved chatting with her about how she does what she does. Her words helped me enormously….mostly because she is so positive and accepting of the process. She plays. She explores.

Anyway, listen in.

Some of the salient mantras and points I took:

* She used to dive into big new things thinking “everyone will be much better than me”. Over time she’s realised no one really knows what they’re doing…they’re all just trying. “Most people are being average”.

* She always wanted to edit a magazine. So. She created Hoopla. Because now the internet means you just. Can. Very true and good for anyone with dreams they haven’t fulfilled yet.

* When she gets a bit nervous she says to herself: “I don’t have to do this for a living”. Bam. Expectations lessened!

* She works 9am-3pm. Sometimes she only gets 3 paragraphs down. Sometimes she scraps the lot the next day. 500 words a day is about fair, to her mind. Phew… Read more