The Dude Abides: A Lesson in Changing Your Company Name
Folks, there is a battle underway between two sides of your brain, the left and right, for control of your destiny and ultimately your success.
Before I get to the topic of this article headline, let me explain what I mean by what I just said.
The left side wants to analyze, deliberate and break every task or goal into small steps from a-z, giving you a concrete view of the world. In other words, it’s a control freak. It is detail oriented and has an obsession with numbers or ROI. It desperately wants to micro-manage your life
Conversely, your right hemisphere is a free-wheeler, the life of the party, operates from the gut and is an instinctual, creative force that comes up with e=mc2 or a cure for penicillin. It is inconsistent, temperamental and prone to self doubt. But when those neurons fire it becomes a force of nature.
Actually, its a little more complicated than that but you get the picture. Any neuroscientists reading this article will cringe after reading my opening paragraphs. They consider the left-right brain discussion outdated and an overly simplistic representation of how the two hemispheres operate and communicate with each other. For a wonderful insight into the neuroplasticity of the brain read “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” by Norman Doidge.
You know what I mean. You all have friends, family members or people you admire who seem to possess some physical or mental quality that astounds you. Some natural innate ability which puzzle you, intrigue you or make you wonder what makes that person tick. You may even observe that while they have this brilliant quality they are lacking in other areas. “Genius” is often flawed.
These ideas are wonderfully explored by Daniel Pink in his book a “A Whole New Mind.” I will not explore all his ideas — why give everything away. Wait for my next book review on this subject!
Instead I will take the very dangerous avenue and reduce his entire book into one central theme. Are you ready? Here it is:
In the 21st Century The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) will become more important than a MBA in determining an individuals business and financial success. Thus, the MFA is the new MBA.
A strange statement indeed. Here are a few other ways of expressing this idea:
- A graphic designer will be more valuable than a programmer.
- An artist will be more sought after than a engineer.
- The right brain has become more important than the left brain
Now, don’t shoot the messenger just because your particular skill set or disposition is on the receiving end of these statements. These are not ‘absolutes’ but rather guiding principles for discussion.
For me, personally, the above can be expressed even better with this statement:
We are leaving the information age and entering the imagination age.
Mr Pink prefers to call it the “conceptual” age but I think “Imagination” is far more exciting word which expresses the age we now live in.
I think this is why General Electric adopted the slogan “Imagination at work” and why they expended a small portion of web development time and cash in building an online visual drawing tool or “WhiteBoard” which highlights their theme of collaboration and imagination.
If you have a few minutes to kill, draw a few doodles at Imagination Cubed. It may seem trivial, but web applications like this demonstrate a subtle way of thinking, an indication that this behemoth if digitally “switched on”.
In another example, according to Dan Pink, General Motors, that close-to-death American Institution told him in an interview: “We are in the arts and entertainment business, and we’re putting a huge emphasis on world-class design.”
If this line of thinking does not favor the more artistically inclined I am not sure what does. It is clear sign that the tables have turned and for the first time, in the modern era at least, the Artist may have the winning “financial” hand.
THE 20th CENTURY: AGE OF INFORMATION
The 20th Century produced the telegraph, telephone, computer, algorithm and of course the most incredible instrument of all, the Internet. If one word sums up this century it must be “Information”. Lots of it. Instantaneously from virtually all corners of the world. It has also been disruptive.
Offshore jobs, remote workers and the migration from newspapers to digital publications has led to job loss on the one hand and cost savings on the other.
If you factor in the the role automation plays in eliminating labor costs and speeding up production you have a further acceleration of these contradictions in the system.
The information age while offering opportunities was also a little unfair. Things happened so fast you could be forgiven for taking a long vacation and hoping that the old world would be back in place by the time you got back. It’s hard to swim in a digital rip current or a river that’s flooding its banks.
In this age the programmer, the accountant, the lawyer, stockbroker, the analyst and the CEO were the star actors. They were the kingpins of industry. Their actions, ideas and labors were marked with success. They were the natural winners of the growing information age. Structured, sequential thinking allowed them to cut costs further, push jobs offshore and introduce automation to speed up product delivery. Function overrode form, in many cases.
This churning process turned permanent employees into contract workers, forcing them to acquire their own health insurance. They got pay cuts. They ended up working longer hours and shortening their yearly vacation time.
However, this process was necessary, there was no other way. We needed the left-brainers driving the system, removing the flaws and moving product creation towards zero defect (a myth, by the way). We needed hard decisions based on “numbers”.
THE 21st CENTURY: AGE OF IMAGINATION
But, in 2010, things have changed. In our new plug and play world where anyone, anywhere can be a filmmaker, a programmer, a graphic designer, a writer, or just about anything else, there is a new requirement: “Imagination”. Numbers are not enough. Sequential a-z thinking, while critical, is not enough.
Really? You really think that? That’s a hell of a statement… I hope you can back it up with some hard data… statistics, job growth numbers, etc? Anything?
In fact, if you read some of the Amazon book reviews of “A Whole New Mind” this is exactly what one of the readers wrote. Technically, he is not wrong. Pink’s book is short on statistics and large on examples. So is this article. But, then again I am reminded of a quote my boss sent me:
86% of all statistics are false.
But, who remembers Einstein’s big “blunder”, the cosmological constant which he introduced to to modify his general theory of relativity and achieve a stationery universe? Numbers can be, and are, often wrong. (News flash: There has has been some renewed interest in the value of the cosmological constant, but the jury is still out).
In later years, his theories became increasingly more dependent on complex mathematics (with some help from his friends) and he never achieved the same heights as he did when engaging the world — or universe — on a creative platform
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? YOU WANT ME TO STORE MY SOURCE CODE WITH A COMPANY CALLED CVSDUDE
However, I was mildly surprised when the home page greeted me with the company name “Codesion” and not “CVSDude”. I was not too alarmed as companies do change names from time to time or get taken over by companies with bigger names and bigger pockets.
It turns out the idea for the comic strip had come from her CEO Guy Marion, who wanted to illustrate graphically the origins and reason for the new name.
In fact, the entire CVDDude, I mean Codesion, team brainstormed internally to come up the new name. Marion wanted to capture this company dynamic and brand customer loyalty in visual manner. According to Eillen, the comic strip was put together by a local artist based on Marion’s script. The original founder (and current CTO) of CVSDude is Mark Bathie
I must make a point of finding out exactly who on my next phone call!
Now, having said all this I am sure there was a lot of internal politics over both the name and the direction of the comic strip. What you see in public is seldom the real truth behind closed doors where some personalities are more dominant than others and personal rivalries rule.
But, in general, they have done a very good job in winning me over to their name change and corporate philosophy.
Breaking news: Codesion have also informed me of an upcoming Webinar relating to new deployment features for their Codesion Publisher module. I will try to make a point of attending that and learning more about this product, including the Professional Edition.
(Author Note: By the way, for the very few of you who did not pick this up, the tag line “Dude Abides” comes from one of my favorite movies of all time, The Big Lebowski.)
DRESSED TO KILL
I think you will see more of these kinds of approaches to traditional problems in both marketing, software and hardware. For quite some time Google has explored visual themes for its Logo, cleverly exploiting calendar events to dress up its brand name. You can review some of their famous attempts over at Google Doodles
On a more humorous note, perhaps the explosion of silicon breasts in Miami is another reflection of how important (and perhaps dangerous) the pursuit of design excellence has become. It can also completely overshadow logic or rational thinking!
In closing, hats off to the new right-brainers influencing the digital realm. For the first time in history (well, at least in the modern age perhaps) it’s “Artists” who will become the majority shareholders of the 21st Century and maybe that’s not a bad thing.