May 11, 2008

Right Side vs. Left Side (part 1)

Filed under: Book Reviews, Marketing Philosophy, Personal Branding — Robert John Ed @ 3:19 pm

I’m in the midst of reading A Whole New Mind, which is essentially an explanation of right and left brain thinking. I’ll get into a more formal write up on the book once I’ve finished it, but it really has opened up a lot of different things to think about.

The book posits that a Masters of Fine Arts is now becoming the new MBA. Hmmm. Scary thought for many of us. Especially me, given that I’m starting school in a few months.

In fact, I’ve been thinking A LOT about the value of post graduate education. Some people think it’s just a piece of paper. Some think it’s the most valuable piece of paper you can get. I’m somewhere in between. I don’t think a lot of opportunities that would otherwise be available would be open to you without a certain degree, but I also think that my skill sets are deficient in many areas outside marketing that they shouldn’t be in order to take on increased business responsibility. Still, at the end of the day it’s simply a piece of paper. I believe that the best students understand why they’re there and make the best of it. This coincides with my intentions.

OK getting beyond the whole what is school worth question (it’s worth what you make it worth, for the record); is it more important to understand fine arts than business? To work in business? I think the answer is pretty obvious. Yet there are some very concrete values to understanding art.

Art is very difficult to put a finger on. Unfortunately the majority of people are brought up to think that art is sculpture, painting, drawing and only those things. Art is everything. Life is art. I’m struggling to write what art encompasses, but for the most part, I think art can be encompassed in everything that we do simply for its own beauty but may also serve utility beyond that beauty. Here is a formal list of arts. I consider myself an artist (a writer…and I’m not talking about this blog!), though I’ve not taken the time to actually produce longstanding work (more on this soon). I believe arts go beyond this though. Life is art, a mesmerizing rendition of something we can’t comprehend.

So what does this mean in terms of business? Well great artists can be found in business. Steve Jobs seems an obvious choice of making his products into art. Threadless incorporates art into everything they sell (also I need to talk about UGC as a primary means to run a business sometime soon). The fashion industry revolves around art and incorporating it through clothing.

Traditional business seems more oriented around utility. And I’m not sure that companies today are running away from traditional business candidates, though I’m bound to learn more in the next few years. What I do know is that combining both sides of the equation would be optimal. Business men and women who can handle the hard numbers and ratios while simultaneously seeing the holistic artistic sense needed to sell products today. And make no mistake, products today are more aesthetically pleasing than ever. Being able to work with designers, graphic, copywriters and your manager, marketing analysts and CFO would make you far ahead of the crowd.

More to come on much of this.


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