Discover more from Curiosity+Courage
064: Creativity and entrepreneurship are team sports
+ The latest in AI & Creativity: Turns out humans matter
On Monday night I asked the students, “What defines an entrepreneur?”
“A problem solver.” “Someone who rolls with the punches.” “A go-getter.” “A risk player.”
And this response which I’m going to memorize:
“Someone who creates opportunities for others.”
Not a bad way to inaugurate the first of 15 Monday evening classes. I’m teaching a new course within MCAD’s Creative Entrepreneurship program titled Launching Creative Projects: Networking, Incubation & Acceleration.
“No single person can do everything.”
Unlike my previous course which focused on the future, the realms of networking, incubation and entrepreneurial acceleration offer a wealth of useful reading, starting with Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson’s Venture Deals. We’ll also be citing Kurt Schmidt’s The Little Book of Networking and Jason Barron’s The Visual MBA, among others.
Perhaps the central tenant of this course on entrepreneurialism, and most marketing creativity, is the attraction and purpose of a team. “It’s not a good sign if you can’t get others excited about your plan,” write Feld and Mendelson. In fact, they continue, “Often, the team executing the idea is more important than the idea itself.” That’s the territory where we’re going to dig deep, where we’ll nurture theories, develop prototypes and explore how to build your tribe.
As we examined the syllabus together, I asked the students to outline what they imagine are the stages of an entrepreneur’s journey, generally speaking. Their thoughts, not surprisingly, hew closely to the process of strategy and creative briefing as well as development.
1️⃣ Problem identification and articulation
For an entrepreneur, there’s got to be passion around something sticky, something worth pursuing. Likewise in creativity, we’re asking “how do we know marketing, much less (marketing) creativity, can affect change?”
2️⃣ Commitment, perseverance, lots of failure, and redirection
Entrepreneurs and creatives accept they are signing up for an emotional roller coaster. The key is to agree, “I’m in.” If you require certainty, look elsewhere.
3️⃣ Share vision. Ask for help. Formalize a team
Alas, Shackleton’s “Safe return doubtful, honor and recognition in case of success” newspaper ad is likely a myth. But the intent remains. Can we summarize potent opportunity, stimulate collaboration, and attract a diverse roster of skills and experience to our cause?
4️⃣ Seek feedback. Evolve the idea. Polish and refine
There is no perfection, only practice. Where marketing practice is mildly linear and sequential, the entrepreneur is often looping, evolving as their premise becomes clearer.
5️⃣ Launch. Systematize. Continue learning
But then you have to ship. Otherwise you’re merely a “wanta-preneur.” And now a whole new set of challenges emerge. And you get to learn in the moment.
6️⃣ (Then if it’s your goal; if you’re fortunate) Exit
So there’s our roadmap. Next week we’ll step back and consider historic context, and begin leveraging resources from the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization, among many others.
AI + CREATIVITY UPDATES
🤖 In case it wasn’t clear: AI is not a human. And last Friday a Washington, D.C. federal judge clarified “human authorship” is the bedrock of copyright law. So, no copyright protections for AI-generative writing, art making, design—i.e. Hollywood movie scripts, brand advertising, or product packaging. All of which typically rely on a ™ or ®. Which will, no doubt, put a damper on the plans of many and spark even more billable hours from law firms. (Here’s the Hollywood Reporter’s take on the same story.)
By contrast, big brands within the marketing industry are clearly marching forward to embrace AI, reports Reuters. Curious to see when/if/how these two narratives collide. My sense is that, AI, all by its lonesome, is not going to get us where we need to go. Humans need to be in the loop.
⚫️🐰 So it’s nice to see the positioning of Black Rabbit AI from agency Rise & Shine Partners tout its tech is, “Built specifically for the creative production of human ideas.”
👩🏽💻🏭 My friend David Armano suggests, “Everything That Can Be LLM-ed, Will Be” by which he’s referring to Enterprise Generative Experiences (i.e. McKinsey’s Lilli, or ChatPwC, or Lucy from Equals3). And, “generative experiences such as these can transform the paradigm for how we interface with systems.” As I noted last week, private AI-Knowledge Management is where the rubber will hit the road for AI, short term.
📝 Meanwhile, Benedict Evans writes thoughtfully on all of the above in his latest (premium) newsletter. “One way to think about this might be that AI makes practical at massive scale things that were previously possible only theoretically or on a small scale.” Impressive, to be sure, but we should hesitate to paint LLMs with the same brush as, say, Napster. “The purpose [of an LLM is] to see the patterns in the output of collective human intelligence,” writes Evans, not merely regurgitate a near exact replica. LLMs aren’t photo copiers. We’re going to be arguing about authenticity, ownership and copyright for a long time.
💾 💡 Part of the underlying issue is a confusion between massive amounts of data and actual, useful insight. Or as Ethan Mollick puts it, “It isn't data that will unlock AI, it is human expertise.” And the thematic loop continues. Mollick and Evans share a similar thesis: Believe it or not, but we’ve basically run out of training data. So how we humans train and navigate the LLMs becomes a keen source of differentiation. Mollick is referring to, “prompts that encode our hard-earned expertise in ways that AI can help other people apply.”
🤷🏽♀️ But don’t worry too much. As The Neuron points out, “In a world where AI can handle many human tasks, excelling at what AI can't do (at least for the foreseeable future) is a tremendous advantage.”
My mediation teacher, James, often shares stories which leave me with cheeks flushed and tears welling. This is one of those. “We are so conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unawares.”
Oh, and (h/t to Rick Webb)
Hundreds of people just like you are already subscribed.