The Creative Entrepreneur

I could have called this post "What Steve Jobs and Donald Trump can teach creatives about entrepreneurship"... but it was a bit of a mouthful

The problem with being creative is to be a truely great creative you need to be full of doubt

You need to be thinking: "How can I make this better?"

How can I make this different

Inevitably your default outlook on life is one of constant doubt

You freely embrace and reject ideas and methods

You have no fixed position. You are constantly searching... for the new

The question hangs over you daily... Is this good enough?... Can I do better?... What can I change?... What can I do differently?...

Inevitably this translates into "Am I good enough?"... "How can I do better?"

Truely great creatives live in a world of fear and doubt

This doesn't translate well in the world of entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs are at heart salespeople

They thrive on confidence. They are optimists. Universally positive. They are in the business of removing doubt to close the sale

And this is something of a dilemma... How do great creatives become great entrepreneurs? Or, put another way, How do great creatives also become great self promoters?

We find the answer in the styles of two well known American entrepreneurs

Steve Jobs and Donald Trump

The lesson Steve Jobs brings to the table is the paradox of saying no

Yes, great creatives are worshipped for their ability to bravely go where nobody has gone before, but ultimately their success is the sum of their ability to say no

Because without that circuit breaker they become stuck in an endless creative feedback loop

So it is their ability to distill rather than explore that gives them their creative edge

Likewise they are the antithesis of the typical salesperson because, rather than removing obstacles, they introduce them

This then is the Steve Jobs paradigm... and this is why it is so hard to replicate... It is by any measure something of a paradox

Now let's turn our attention to what Donald Trump can teach us about creative entrepreneurship

Trump's lesson is simply this:

It's about sucking all the oxygen out of the room

There is only one story

and that story is you!

But even here there is a paradox at the heart of the strategy

The way you change the game is to be continually changing the story

Today we call it the Donald Trump gamebook... and the inherent risk of course is the danger of the flameout... You just become too bizarre for people to take seriously

But it was the creative gamebook of Picasso, Dali, Bowie, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles

and it's about being the story everybody wants to follow

The story everybody wants to read, to have an opinion on, to gossip about, to share with others

It's about sucking all the oxygen out of the room

By becoming the eternal question "Wow! See what they have done now...I wonder what they will do next?"

It's the daily meme... the viral story... the contagion

It feeds the beast, mass media gossip machine, 24/7

Today I call this approach "The Daily Sacrifice" i.e. You burn your brand on a daily basis (some would say in Trump's case on an hourly basis) but just like the Phoenix it emerges from the ashes reborn, reinvigourated, renewed

The audience is left in a state of perpetual awe, dispair, disbelief and relief

Branding reimagined as a cycle of cataclysmic rebirth

Chaos being the purest expression of branding

In a world where, if you change the story, you change the game &, if you change the game, you change the story

Closing thoughts?

To many to digest at this time

But more on that next time...

Originally Published Spring 2021. What are we talking about today? Follow us on Twitter
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