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068: How do you get someone to invest?
An observation on creativity and AI
He writes long. He writes often. He writes on diverse topics, some I love, some not. But it’s his style which resonates. It is candid. It is particular. It is his life. It can be serpentine, getting to his point du jour.
Isn't that the entire point of style?
And he’s been at it a long time. The current Lefsetz Letter is decades in the making. Thousands of “letters.” And as I understand it, hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
I emailed Bob once, late at night, about a speaking gig. He replied 45 minutes later with a “yes, I’ll do it” and terms. Easiest speaker booking I’ve ever managed. And then he was eloquent and zesty at our event.
When Bob’s emails arrive I have to pause myself: Do I have the time? I almost always have the time.
Just as the long Labor Day weekend was arriving, Bob rung my bell yet again.
“We live in a Tower of Babel era.
Everybody has different interests, everybody is into different stuff. And online is a cesspool of self-anointed experts who will insult you if you express a contrary view, especially an unpopular one.
So we look to invest.
And it doesn’t only apply to art. People invest in politicians, many are even invested in Apple. It gives them an identity, something to believe in. However, because of sunk costs, it’s difficult to get someone to change their opinion, abandon their investment, they’ve spent so much money, time and effort demonstrating it, they’re just going to throw that overboard?
But I’m talking about art.
And let me be clear, this is different from fandom. Although aligned. Fandom can be more blind, based on less information, it’s a status, that you oftentimes display. Investment is private. It’s a one to one relationship. It’s about the bond, as opposed to the external. You don’t need to boast, you don’t need to buy and wear merch, it’s something that transpires in your head, it’s not brain dead attachment, there’s thought put into it, the investment may not be able to be taken to the bank, but it’s more valuable than currency.
So how do you get someone to invest?”
That’s the gist, the crux, the gravitational center of so much creativity.
How do you get someone to invest—in your vision, your words, your images, your product, your service, your company, your team, your campaign, your updates?
I think it boils down to caring enough.
Caring to take the time and make the effort and protect the team and their work to be salient, and particular. To be distinct.
To have a fine ear for your audience—to respect them, while also possessing the courage and skill to bring them along with you to new places.
You’ll probably annoy lots of people in becoming investable. People who prefer the safety of the status quo, who seek the allure of certainty and similarity.
Such is life. There are plenty of “letters” Bob posts that I abandon a few paragraphs in. No one bats 100%.
In this era of speed, and the inescapable churn of AI, it would be easy to assume investment withers. Too easy to believe we’ll cave to an avalanche of robotic clutter. I think the opposite is and will occur.
I use ChatGPT daily. To get to a finer, more meaningful point. And sometimes it works. Sometimes it’s just hard work.
Consider investing in more of my words.