There's this... tension, in life, between the individual and the collective. American culture is famously individualistic, so it's fun to explore the situations where a certain kind of collective produces value that an individual cannot.
Again with that amazing KRS-One talk...
He references what he calls a model for wealth creation:
Source: https://youtu.be/T9GrwKqRCgE?t=2940 (transcript via WhisperAI, edited for clarity)
This has something in common with Brian Eno's notion of "scenius", where the properties of the social system contribute to the creative output of that system as much or more than any one individual does.
Kevin Kelly has this good description:
Here's Dwight Yoakam in a recent interview with Bob Lefsetz:
Source: https://omny.fm/shows/the-bob-lefsetz-podcast/dwight-yoakam (transcript via WhisperAI, lightly edited for clarity)
And finally, here's Seth Godin in a recent interview with Tyler Cowen:
You can imagine all of these ideas conversing with the central idea of scenius. From that perspective:
KRS-One: Individuals get to choose to bootstrap scenius. They choose to create perceived value among those closest to them, and that perceived value eventually becomes economic value and cultural power.
Dwight Yoakam: Individuals get to choose either to join existing scenius or have their talent under-valued.
Seth Godin: The non-linear dynamics of pop music create mega-stars, but the only predictable aspect of those dynamics is: there will be a few mega-stars. There are no exact “specs” for building the next star.
I was once part of an online mastermind that had some elements of scenius. It really was magical. And critically, from an accessibility and reach perspective, it was online. No rent was paid to a landlord in Manhattan. What compensated for the lack of full-spectrum in-person energy was a passionately-held shared interest among the group members (the interest was productized consulting).
I'm not sure the passionately-held shared interest is sufficient to generate scenius, but it definitely is necessary.
I'd be delighted if any of you contributed your thoughts, prompted by any of the above or any of these questions:
What rules or constraints raise the probability of a scenius forming? Or, if not scenius, a social system where the properties of the system elevate the members of the system.
How far have you been able to bootstrap value-creation in a way similar to what KRS-One proposes?
What examples of scenius in the business domain have you seen?
Comments are open!
David Baker is doing his MYOB event again in Atlanta in October of this year. It's for firm owner-operators, the focus of the talks is running your business better, and David breaks out in hives when he's approached by people who want to sell from the stage or give the same talk for the 100th time this year, so -- mercifully -- those folks never mount the stage at MYOB. The early-bird pricing is afoot now: https://myobconference.com/