Habits of successful artists: Spark 1 — Learn to sell what you have made.2 min read

Reading the book ‘The Icarus deception’ from Seth Godin, I came upon this list:

“The habits of successful artists”

  • Learn to sell what you have made.
  • Say thank you in writing.
  • Speak in public.
  • Fail often.
  • See the world as it is.
  • Make predictions.
  • Teach others.
  • Write daily.
  • Connect others.
  • Lead a tribe.

It stroke me with that much inspiration, that I decided to write one article on each (or try at least, no sense in sharing nonsense also). Easy peasy: in the order they appear.

First up: Learn to sell what you have made.

I couldn’t agree more. I’m the first to take blame, but being able to ship is in my opinion the key differentiating element for companies big and small. For some reason, in small companies, it seems like the natural thing to do. Probably because shipping there is the only way to generate revenue to pay for the cost you made. Off course, this is not different in large companies, but apparently, there is moment where companies come at a stage where the direct impact of not generating revenue right away is not that visible anymore. If you are big enough, there is no risk that you will not be able to pay your cost at the end of the week (off course, also this is an illusion, but perception is everything off course).

Another element might be that the (perceived) risk of doing some wrong is bigger in a big company than in a small. Putting it this way: if you are a one man company and you screw up big time, you need to find another job and you need to work during the week end to pay of some debt, if you are a company with 1000 employees and you screw up as a company, 1000 people need to find a new job and millions are lost for shareholders. And off course, most shareholders don’t like risk…

The only way out of this is to start putting a risk premium on ‘not shipping’, on ‘not doing anything’ or ‘doing as last year and hoping that the outcome will not be too much different’. In economical terms: this is not only the opportunity cost, but also the cost of loosing your first mover advantage or even the cost of becoming obsolete.

Whenever you think: I will not present these figures to my boss this week because it’s not what he wants to hear and I want to check some extra figures, force yourself to not only put into the equation your fear (Seth would call it ‘your lizard brain’), but also the cost of loosing one week time in adapting if you prove to be right…

Shipping this article now!

Also available on Medium.

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