"In art or architecture your project is only done when you say it's done."
- Maya Lin
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."
- Pablo Picasso
Like many Apple techies, I was on tenterhooks, waiting for the Apple iPad event big reveals, and waiting to read the tech blogs and Twitter feeds from my go-to gurus. I regularly follow Macworld, Cult of Mac, Mashable, TechCrunch, and 9to5Mac, just to name a few. The twitterati and Google+ communities such as iPad Insight and Cult of Mac, both of which I belong to, are agog with op-ed pieces and speculation. Whatever is being written, and whatever you may think, I hope you'll agree that the new iPads appear to be true works of art, on many levels. MG Siegler sums it up best in yesterday's TechCrunch article titled "Two iPads to Tango": "I'm torn. And I won't be the only one. When I briefly ran into Tim Cook after the event and brought up this issue, he laughed, noting that I had another option: I could buy both. My wallet curses you, Apple. Again."
This sentiment is likely being echoed around the world today, in addition to the childlike wonder at the sheer artistry and technological prowess Apple showed us. As Tim Cook, Sir Jonathan Ives, Craig Federighi, Eddie Cue, Phil Schiller, and the rest of the Apple crew prepares to upset the supply and demand seesaw driving economies yet again, we consumers busy with balancing our own seesaw of life/work, need to take stock of things. We "working stiffs" in the USA, especially female entrepreneurs, need to rethink the way we integrate technology into our professional lives. We need to mentally realign our priorities around the need vs. want paradigm that capitalism thrives on.
How? By thinking like an architect, but acting like an artist. Children do it when they construct elaborate Lego castles and forts. Apple teams do it when they invent new products. So can you. Start with two takeaways from the new iPads, coming to a store near you. Combine that with two quotes from two excellent business books I've been reading, to hone my own inner architect and artist for entrepreneurial pursuits:
1. Architects initially draw up blueprints, create drafts, and take measurements. Then they revise.
A successful entrepreneur knows the value of meticulous preparation, of scaffolding The Plan, by carefully studying the competition and crafting a business plan, mission statement, and elevator pitch as needed. Entrepreneurship takes practice and time. Planning is key, in addition to assessing consumer needs and satisfaction. Yet successful entrepreneurship is predicated on "deviating from the script." Two sides of the same coin, both needed, for entrepreneurship to flourish.
(There are) "business model dynamics (out there) to serve as a source of inspiration for your own work." -- Alexander Osterwalder et al, Business Model Generation
Apple has indeed listened to the public and gone back to the drawing board on several levels. The results? Increased portability, upgraded WiFi speed and camera features, and a sliding scale re: different prices. Still, both the iPad Mini and iPad Air still share enough "specs" with each other, and with previous models, to make it appeal to various types of consumers. Those in a variety of industries who are all interested in a quality tablet experience. Customers still have choices and a familiar user interface; two major selling points. But Apple has changed course with iOS 7; allowing users to implement technology in ways that are totally dissimilar to the manner in which they interact with their computers (and smartphones that are not iPhones).
2. Artists unconventionally and unabashedly create something out of nothing, and share their vision with others. Not necessarily because they want to change public opinion, but because they want to add their voice to the conversation. Great artists improvise and tweak their product so that it seamlessly showcases their interpretation of the form/design and function that is, and resonates with the public's inner landscape of what could be.
A good entrepreneur is a trailblazer who understands patterns and the Big Picture and finds new ways to collectively problem solve and bravely highlight the path(s) to promoting change. The successful entrepreneur reinvents disruptive innovation that others emulate, only after courageously failing in public at least once, and setting an example of what it means to be resilient and creative.
"The artist sees the world as it is. The artist tells a story that resonates." -- Seth Godin, The Icarus Deception
Steve Jobs was a true artist and master storyteller. He instilled in Apple's DNA the potential for producing technology with the extraordinary ability to grow a cult following while still retaining one's individuality. He started a tradition of excellent showmanship, public speeches, and easy to understand technology demos that are all now expected from entrepreneurs today. I've used different incarnations of Apple products professionally for two decades, and see that Apple consistently delivers on its promise of seamless partnership between design and function. The iPad is not flawless, but it is singlehandedly shaping up to be the most elegantly designed, multi-sensory, disruptive innovation "It Product" of the decade. Best of all, its commercials, like the iPad Air ad, are spawning an era of artistic, digital visualization storytelling style marketing. One which highlights the ever growing need for staying a work in progress, which is part of being human and connected, in a high-tech and increasingly fragmented world.