The E-Myth Regurgitated

I’m in my studio working on my next project, and I’m listening to The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber, and I had to rush in to my computer and write this blog post in response to it.
This man, Mr. Gerber, is advocating and promoting the very essence of what I feel is wrong with business.  I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  His statements are so infuriating to me, it’s going to take all my strength just to get through the rest of the book–I’m not even halfway.
One of his major tenets is that people who create their businesses are product focused instead of business focused.  The inner worker-bee in all of us simply wants to make the product, but we don’t realize that going into business demands that we develop and use other skills.  Makes sense to me–don’t like it, but it makes sense.
But then he goes on to say that most small businesses fail because the owner isn’t thinking about how to make the business run without him.  That good, growing businesses should be able to operate without you.  That a business is not an extension of yourself, it must be able to create without you needing to be present all the time.
And then he goes on to hold up McDonald’s as a good example of a small business that grew exactly because the owners were more interested in the methodology of the business and the process of creating the product, and not on the product itself.
<sigh>
I am so fundamentally entrenched in the opposing belief of this philosophy that to listen to this man makes me constipated.  Literally.  You wanna know why business is in trouble today?  Because people took this guy’s perspective to heart and simply exploited the consumer as a wallet, not a person.  If your product is only just a brand to you, if your product is simply a means to an end…  Yuck.
What’s the point?  Vacations?
People don’t want that anymore.  They know they are cogs in the wheel, and the last thing they want is to be reminded of that.  They are consumers, yes, but supporting business that is without heart and presenting a total disconnection between supplying and caring is what has got us into this problematic economy in the first place.
Good business is not continual growth anymore.  Today, good business is not consistently rising profit margins. It has to be deeper than that.  “Sorry, but that’s business,” has now come to signify morally bankrupt entrepreneurial sharks.  People want to patronize businesses that WANT to be there for them.  Business has to be deeper, it has to  matter, it has to actually care about the consumer and not just put up the pretense that they should as part of their process.  There are too many options out there to spend money.  People have a choice, and they’re wary of big business.
Business is people now, not consistent product en masse.  You can get product anywhere.  Why should anyone support that machine, especially when it’s given us the economy is has?
Okay, back to turning the other cheek and finishing up listening to his blather.  I have got good stuff out of it.  I just don’t like where he’s taking his ideas thus far…

I’m in my studio working on my next project, and I’m listening to The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber, and I had to rush in to my computer and write this blog post in response to it.

This man, Mr. Gerber, is advocating and promoting the very essence of what I feel is wrong with business.  I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  His statements are so infuriating to me, it’s going to take all my strength just to get through the rest of the book–I’m not even halfway.

One of his major tenets is that people who create their businesses are product focused instead of business focused.  The inner worker-bee in all of us simply wants to make the product, but we don’t realize that going into business demands that we develop and use other skills.  Makes sense to me–don’t like it, but it makes sense.

But then he goes on to say that most small businesses fail because the owner isn’t thinking about how to make the business run without him.  That good, growing businesses should be able to operate without you.  That a business is not an extension of yourself, it must be able to create without you needing to be present all the time.

And then he goes on to hold up McDonald’s as a good example of a small business that grew exactly because the owners were more interested in the methodology of the business and the process of creating the product, and not on the product itself.

<sigh>

I am so fundamentally entrenched in the opposing belief of this philosophy that to listen to this man makes me constipated.  Literally.  You wanna know why business is in trouble today?  Because people took this guy’s perspective to heart and simply exploited the consumer as a wallet, not a person.  If your product is only just a brand to you, if your product is simply a means to an end…  Yuck.

What’s the point?  Vacations?

People don’t want that anymore.  They know they are cogs in the wheel, and the last thing they want is to be reminded of that.  They are consumers, yes, but supporting business that is without heart and presenting a total disconnection between supplying and caring is what has got us into this problematic economy in the first place.

Good business is not continual growth anymore.  Today, good business is not consistently rising profit margins. It has to be deeper than that.  “Sorry, but that’s business,” has now come to signify morally bankrupt entrepreneurial sharks.  People want to patronize businesses that WANT to be there for them.  Business has to be deeper, it has to  matter, it has to actually care about the consumer and not just put up the pretense that they should as part of their process.  There are too many options out there to spend money.  People have a choice, and they’re wary of big business.

Business is people now, not consistent product en masse.  You can get product anywhere.  Why should anyone support that machine, especially when it’s given us the economy is has?

Okay, back to turning the other cheek and finishing up listening to his blather.  I have got good stuff out of it.  I just don’t like where he’s taking his ideas thus far…

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“Ya got talent, kid!” Part Two

Okay, I just finished listening to the audiobook I told you about yesterday, The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle.
Coyle’s premise is that talent is actually well-practiced skill that develops over time, ignited by some inciting incident that inspires the drive to hone the talent, and encouraged by outside mentors.
In a nutshell, he says that neuroscience now understands that talent has a physiological base.  Our synapses fire faster when we execute our talent/skills, and those neural pathways are strengthened by biological insulation which allows the electrical impulses to fire and travel faster through our brain.  This results in our ability to do things more naturally, quicker, and seemingly pick up things faster.
Fist off, the reviews that I have read say that he forgets to address one particular aspect of “talent” that in some fields is absolutely required: creativity. The ability to think outside the box.  To develop new pathways and methods of thinking of things and perceiving things.  Most of Coyle’s examples involve sports and music–actions that rely upon muscle memory and repetitive learning to develop.
He says that great artists come from years and years and years of practice and contemplation: “deep learning”, or the act of breaking things down and isolating the components, addressing our errors, and then repeating.  Slowly.  For artists, that means doing your art over and over and over and over…  Building the insulation around those synapses and getting better at doing our art.  Moving to the next step constantly, without pause to celebrate the previous step’s accomplishment.  Driven by our own motivation and guided by others’ coaching.
Coyle, of course, isn’t so simplistic.  I’m mangling his idea by oversimplifying it and leaving out substantial parts of his perspective that explain his idea in more detail.
It’s an interesting thought.  Diligence is everything.  Mistakes are required, and should be sought not avoided by constantly overreaching bit by bit once each aspect is acquired.
I guess one shouldn’t ask how one creates a success, but why we don’t honor the process of analyzing our failures.  It’s not what we’re doing right, it’s what we’re doing wrong that needs our attention.  Success will come.  Practice makes perfect.  Literally.

Okay, I just finished listening to the audiobook I told you about yesterday, The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle.

Coyle’s premise is that talent is actually well-practiced skill that develops over time, ignited by some inciting incident that inspires the drive to hone the talent, and encouraged by outside mentors.

In a nutshell, he says that neuroscience now understands that talent has a physiological base.  Our synapses fire faster when we execute our talent/skills, and those neural pathways are strengthened by biological insulation which allows the electrical impulses to fire and travel faster through our brain.  This results in our ability to do things more naturally, quicker, and seemingly pick up things faster.

Fist off, the reviews that I have read say that he forgets to address one particular aspect of “talent” that in some fields is absolutely required: creativity. The ability to think outside the box.  To develop new pathways and methods of thinking of things and perceiving things.  Most of Coyle’s examples involve sports and music–actions that rely upon muscle memory and repetitive learning to develop.

He says that great artists come from years and years and years of practice and contemplation: “deep learning”, or the act of breaking things down and isolating the components, addressing our errors, and then repeating.  Slowly.  For artists, that means doing your art over and over and over and over…  Building the insulation around those synapses and getting better at doing our art.  Moving to the next step constantly, without pause to celebrate the previous step’s accomplishment.  Driven by our own motivation and guided by others’ coaching.

Coyle, of course, isn’t so simplistic.  I’m mangling his idea by oversimplifying it and leaving out substantial parts of his perspective that explain his idea in more detail.

It’s an interesting thought.  Diligence is everything.  Mistakes are required, and should be sought not avoided by constantly overreaching bit by bit once each aspect is acquired.

I guess one shouldn’t ask how one creates a success, but why we don’t honor the process of analyzing our failures.  It’s not what we’re doing right, it’s what we’re doing wrong that needs our attention.  Success will come.  Practice makes perfect.  Literally.

“Ya got talent, kid!”

“Ya got talent, kid!”
I’m really enjoying my iPod.  I listen to a lot of podcasts while I’m working.  Today, I downloaded a book to start listening to: The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle.
I came in from my studio (I am not going to call it a garage anymore, thank you) all excited to write this entry to share with you what I was listening to.  I hopped on google to find some reviews before I dove in.
The book is brand new (2009) and talks about how talent is developed, literally, through the study of neuroscience…  I’m not gonna bore you with the details, but it’s very inspiring to me right now.  It has several big concepts, but right now the idea of “deep practice” is hitting home…  In a nutshell, it says that talent comes from thousands of hours of concentrated practice.  Not a big surprise there.  Learn by doing.  But it goes further to explain something I hadn’t really thought about deep down inside:  practice comes from trying to fix failure.  Without failure, you can’t really be practicing.  So practicing really must be about never really succeeding, but constantly striving to accomplish what you can’t achieve yet.  Trying to do what you can’t do, not simply repeating what you already know.  Inherently, it is not about successful accomplishment of a goal, it is about the inevitable failure we all must experience over and over again in order to move on to the next set of failures.
Talent, from Coyle’s perspective (as I understand it thus far) must come from slowly working through doing things wrong over and over again until we don’t think about it anymore and it’s natural.  Talent is, in a way, simply the ability to do things quicker, more easily, and to a higher degree than average.  One doesn’t think about doing “it” anymore.  And the ability to concentrate on one’s mistakes in bits, breaking it down slowly into workable pieces (or “chunking”) is REALLY what talent is all about.  It isn’t the result, it’s the process of learning.
So.  I think I’m gonna pay more attention to what I’m painting a bit more, and purposely stretch.  I see now why they say all artists must be prepared to throw away their first years of work–it should be more about growing than accomplishment.  Practice does indeed make perfect, from a certain perspective.  How you practice is the real question…
Live life with Relish!

I’m really enjoying my iPod.  I listen to a lot of podcasts while I’m working.  Today, I downloaded a book to start listening to: The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle.

I came in from my studio (I am not going to call it a garage anymore, thank you) all excited to write this entry to share with you what I was listening to.  I hopped on google to find some reviews before I dove in.

The book is brand new (2009) and talks about how talent is developed, literally, through the study of neuroscience…  I’m not gonna bore you with the details, but it’s very inspiring to me right now.  It has several big concepts, but right now the idea of “deep practice” is hitting home…  In a nutshell, it says that talent comes from thousands of hours of concentrated practice.  Not a big surprise there.  Learn by doing.  But it goes further to explain something I hadn’t really thought about deep down inside:  practice comes from trying to fix failure.  Without failure, you can’t really be practicing.  So practicing really must be about never really succeeding, but constantly striving to accomplish what you can’t achieve yet.  Trying to do what you can’t do, not simply repeating what you already know.  Inherently, it is not about successful accomplishment of a goal, it is about the inevitable failure we all must experience over and over again in order to move on to the next set of failures.

Talent, from Coyle’s perspective (as I understand it thus far) must come from slowly working through doing things wrong over and over again until we don’t think about it anymore and it’s natural.  Talent is, in a way, simply the ability to do things quicker, more easily, and to a higher degree than average.  One doesn’t think about doing “it” anymore.  And the ability to concentrate on one’s mistakes in bits, breaking it down slowly into workable pieces (or “chunking”) is REALLY what talent is all about.  It isn’t the result, it’s the process of learning.

So.  I think I’m gonna pay more attention to what I’m painting a bit more, and purposely stretch.  I see now why they say all artists must be prepared to throw away their first years of work–it should be more about growing than accomplishment.  Practice does indeed make perfect, from a certain perspective.  How you practice is the real question…

For those of you who are really interested, here’s a little video the author made…  Geesh I feel like a pusher…  <sigh>  Honestly, I may hate this book when I’m finished with it, who knows…  But it’s intriguing.  Take it for what it’s worth.  : )

Live life with Relish!

Books, Books, and More Books…

So this blog entry is about the books that I read getting ready for this leap into the wearable art business.  Now before you start saying that all the current information is actually on the internet, I have to say that I tried to find this stuff and couldn’t.  Maybe I’m a little “search-engine-disabled”, but wading through all the irrelevant crap to find what I really wanted was tiresome.  I’d rather pop out to Borders or jump over to Amazon and find exactly what I need right away.  And my guilty pleasure–the magazine racks–simply kept calling my name anyway…  Now I know you can spend just as much on periodicals as you do on books… hehe…  ouch.  My partner, Jonathan, was a bit worried by how much I was spending on these resources… But they were worth it.  And considering I don’t own a laptop and I like to read when and where I like, the expenditure was well spent.

Anyway, below is a list of the books that I dived into because I found them incredibly interesting.  I have a slew of books that I want to read in the future, but now I’m not at all sure when/if I’ll ever be able to actually get back to cracking a good book…

Art and Fear–Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland really was the best book to start with.  It was a fantastic ego boost and dunk in cold water at the same time.  Highly recommended for artists that are loosing faith in what they’re doing.  This book helped me start to accept the idea that I could indeed call myself an artist and actually believe it.

Start Your Own Arts and Crafts Business by Entrepreneur Press and J.S. McDougall was the next book I grabbed.  I had quite a selection of books to choose from on the Borders Books shelves, but this seemed to be the most practical and the most up to date.  Of course, finding books written after the advent of this horrible economic recession/depression/whatever has been hard.  Many of the books were written in the “great oblivious bubble” of soaring expectations and unfeasible profit margins.  Regardless, this book worked for me.

Design and Launch an Online Boutique in a Week by Entrepreneur Press and Melissa Campanelli was a bit outdated…  A lot of the information was, as previously mentioned, written in a time when things were a bit different…  Nowadays, it’s common knowledge that simply having an online presence and setting up a store isn’t enough to be a success, but most of the examples they use were about entrepreneurs that got in at the right time and grew with the internet’s growth.  So I’m not sure if they were actually “successful” on their own terms or not.  Still an interesting read, and I am indeed still “internet business inept”, so it was very useful information.

Fashion for Profit by Frances Harder is still way over my head.  Sorry, I guess I’m too “artistic” to figure out all the business mumbo jumbo that’s in this book (and the other materials that are available with it on Amazon), but I’m not going into this to mass produce a line of clothing…  I have no interest in the legitimate methodology of contemporary fashion business…  Not for me.  I want to create things that are a little more individual, a lot more artistically hands-on, and definitely not uber-mass produced.  That takes the sparkle out of it for me.  And I’m not in the position to do it the “right way” anyway.  So.  I’ve put this one on my shelf to peruse in the future.

The Fashion Designer Survival Guide by Mary Gehlhar was much more useful, but still oriented toward those interested in mainstream clothing production in the traditional scope set out by the fashion industry.  And their first piece of advice is to work for someone else in the industry for 10 years…  Eminently down-to-earth and real, this book simply solidified for me why I don’t wanna do “fashion apparel”.  Money, experience, and a strong business plan is what they suggest—none of which I had when I read this book.  But it was very useful, still.  This book convinced me to create an LLC insted of a sole proprietorship, which is the norm in the art field.  Not that I’m gonna need to worry about it.

Art/Work: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career by Heather Darcy Bhandari and Jonathan Melber was a GREAT book.  Not really applicable to me (yet again), but still useful.  Primarily focused on graphic designers, there was still info that I found helpful philosophically.  I’m glad I read it.  And it read quick.

The Creative Entrepreneur–A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real by Lisa Sonora Beam seemed to speak my language.  It made a big big deal of helping artists develop a “business mentality” to help us understand why business does what it does and some of the language it uses.  It was a relief to find this book.  I only made it through the first couple of chapters, because shortly after getting into it it seemed to change into an art project book and an excuse for the author to show off neat art journaling ideas.  Still, even though I’m not done with it, I can tell it will be invaluable for me.  Highly recommended.

Creating a Successful Craft Business by Rogene A. Robbins and Robert O. Robbins is another very very useful book.  A bit older (2003), it speaks to a world of potential crafters that were part of a different economic era.  So I’ve been taking everything it says with a grain of salt, as one can’t count on their examples to be relevant anymore.  Call me biased, I think the economics of 2009 are much different than they used to be, and people are much different as well.

And finally, Form Your Own Limited Liability Company from Nolo helped me immeasurably in setting up my business.  I simply followed their step by step plans.  And hopefully, they worked.  We’ll find out soon when/if I find out if my Articles of Organization are accepted by the Secretary of State of California…

Okay, this posting is a book in itself…  Next time I’m gonna talk about some of the periodicals that I’ve collected that made a big difference to me.

Until then–live life with relish!