Let’s focus on focus. Great ideas are bouncing all about. Figuring out which ideas should move forward and how to turn them from the ideal into the real is another matter.

 

Show Notes:

  • The Sun is a Powerful Source of Energy. Every Hour the Sun Washes the Earth with Billions of Kilowatts of Energy.  Yet with a Hat & Some Sunscreen You Can Bathe in the Light of the Sun for Hours at a Time with Few Ill Effects.

 

A Laser is a Weak Source of Energy.  A Laser Takes a Few Watts of Energy and Focuses Them in a Coherent Stream of Light.  But with a Laser You Can Drill a Hole in a Diamond or Wipe out a Cancer.  – Al Ries, Focus

 

  • We Live in the Distraction Economy. – Wegs
    1. Bright shiny objects have overtaken substance
    2. Too often technology distracts us from the task at hand
  • I Have a Device in my Pocket that Gives Me Instant Access to the Entirety of Human Knowledge. I Use it to Look at Funny Pictures of Cats and Share Pictures of my Breakfast. 
  • There’s a War Between the Urgent and the Important. – Wegs
    1. Long-term needs too often take a backseat to short-term tasks
    2. We’ve got to prioritize what we’re doing
  • The Two Pizza Maximum
    1. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos won’t allow more people in a meeting than 2 pizzas can feed
    2. Too many people can become a distraction
  • Breaking the Chains of Keynote
    1. Don’t allow slides to distract from your message
    2. There are alternatives to projected presentations, Amazon has their people prepare memos that the group reads together and discusses
  • Men Have Become the Tool of Their Tools. – Henry David Thoreau
    1. Said this back in the 1800’s
    2. Technology can’t cover for fundamental human issues
  • If It Keeps Up. Man Will Atrophy All His Limbs But the Push-Button Finger.

– Frank Lloyd Wright

  • I Would Trade All of My Technology for an Afternoon with Socrates.

– Steve Jobs

  1. Technology is amazing, Mankind is even more so
  2. Technology brings ideas to life, but the ideas still have to be good
  3. Study the big ideas and you may just come up with some yourself

Transcripts:

 

Welcome to Episode 11 of Navigating the Fustercluck—a podcast full of snackable insights to help you navigate the love/hate world of creativity.

 

My name is Wegs, like eggs with a W, joining you from Deaf Mule Studios in Dallas, and whether you work in advertising, design, gaming, fine art, commercial art, content creation, whatever it may be, we’re here to talk about focus today. Yes, we’re going to focus on focus.

 

I’ve always loved this focus quote from Al Ries…

 

The Sun is a Powerful Source of Energy.  Every Hour the Sun Washes the Earth with Billions of Kilowatts of Energy.  Yet with a Hat & Some Sunscreen You Can Bathe in the Light of the Sun for Hours at a Time with Few Ill Effects.

 

A Laser is a Weak Source of Energy.  A Laser Takes a Few Watts of Energy and Focuses Them in a Coherent Stream of Light.  But with a Laser You Can Drill a Hole in a Diamond or Wipe out a Cancer. 

 

That’s the power of focus. However, if you have a business or practice it’s easy to want to do it all. To offer both the high and low end. Have a 20-page menu that takes 30 minutes to read. It’s just too tempting for most people.

 

Classic movie star Mae West said that she could resist anything but temptation. I love that line, but for our purposes, let’s see if we can show a bit more restraint. Because without doubt, focus is the way to go. Yep, focus is an immensely powerful force, yet we live in… The Age of Distraction and —Hey! Look! A Puppy!

 

We Live in the Distraction Economy. — Wegs

The Industrial Age gave way to the Information Age, which gave way to the Social Age, which has now given way to the Distraction Age.  From ads to apps, games & gossip to fashion & political cheerleading, there are people dangling shiny bright objects and catchphrases that keep your eyes off the ball and away from what really matters. And we’re allowing the amazing technology we have to make our ADD worse…

To illustrate, although I have no idea who said it, here’s one of my favorite quotes…

I Have a Device in my Pocket that Gives Me Instant Access to the Entirety of Human Knowledge.  I Use it to Look at Funny Pictures of Cats and Share Pictures of my Breakfast. 

 

Picasso could have used his palette of paints to fill in coloring books, but that seems far too silly a waste to even think about. Yet far too often we take the hyper-intelligence and near superhuman skills the Internet promises and use it to do little more than kill time. As Someecards says…

 

Life Has Become a Major Distraction to my Cell Phone. 

 

Or as McBitterson Cards says…

 

Tonight We Party!  Tomorrow Morning We Worry About Getting the Photos Off the Internet. 

Me, I’m on board with Mark Haddon…

 

The Secret of Contentment…Lay in Ignoring Many Things Completely. 

 

My friends, it all comes down to priorities. As anyone who has spent any amount of time with me is probably tired of hearing me say…

 

There’s a War Between the Urgent and the Important 

 

And it’s a nasty war.

 

We’re so busy being busy, putting out fire after fire, that too often we fail to get around to the truly important stuff– the kind of big things that make a long-term difference.  Some hope to change this, while others actually enjoy these distractions, using them to avoid the heavy lifting.  Why?  Because they either aren’t big picture thinkers, or they’re master jugglers who prefer to keep as many balls up in the air as possible, keeping the game squarely in their wheelhouse, even if nothing really gets accomplished. Their focus is to get us to lose our focus. Politicians, of both the government and office varieties are masters of this.

 

So, what can be done about it? How do we buck the cluck here?

 

Meetings. Should we start with meetings? Would you fall to your knees and weep tears of joy if you never had to have another meeting, again? I would, but that’s just a utopian dream.

 

OK, let’s take a little time and talk about meetings. The place where ideas and productivity go to die.

 

Let’s repeat something we spoke about in Episode 5:

 

The Two Pizza Maximum

At the time of this writing, Jeff Bezos of Amazon is the richest person in the world. Part of his success may be attributed to his decision to stop complaining about excessive meetings and actually do something about them. For one thing, at Amazon, there are to be no meetings that require more people than can be fed with two pizzas. Beyond that and all the wasted productivity in the room leads to nothing more than a major fustercluck.

 

And here’s another Bezos tip, this one taken from Episode Seven. This one is about how to keep presentations from becoming nothing more than sideshows. It’s all about…

 

Breaking the Chains of Keynote

 

Slides can keep you on track. They can provide visual stimulation. And their abuse is the main reason why we suffer through so many lackluster presentations. There’s nothing more insulting or boring than someone reading off their slides word-for-word. What’s the point? Keynote has become a crutch. A security blanket. That’s why Jeff Bezos of Amazon has banned them, preferring the preparation of 1-5 page memos that everyone reads before gathering to discuss their content. An interesting alternative to all today’s bells and whistles, one that demands focus.

 

Unfortunately, when it comes to focus, life isn’t that much different than when Henry David Thoreau proclaimed that…

 

Men Have Become the Tool of Their Tools. 

 

And that was way back in the 1800’s!

 

Bells and whistles give us an excuse not to focus on the issues that Humankind has struggled with since our minds developed enough to realize the potential and burdens of our existence.

 

Let’s lighten things up a bit with a thought from maverick architect and social critic Frank Llloyd Wright…

 

If It Keeps Up. Man Will Atrophy All His Limbs But the Push-Button Finger.  

 

Man Will Atrophy All His Limbs But the Push-Button Finger. I love it. I fear it. But I love it.

 

Let’s Take a Short Breather… (EXHALE.)

 

…We’re here at Deaf Mule Studios to remind everyone that this is Navigating the Fustercluck. And I’m Wegs, your world-weary host hoping that you can avoid many of the mistakes I’ve made during my otherwise adventurous career. Now back to the broadcast, or narrowcast with one final thought. This one from tech guru, Steve Jobs. Now you’d think that the guy who helped usher in the computer and tech age would have nothing but glowing praise for technology. Instead, here was his focus…

 

I Would Trade All of My Technology for an Afternoon with Socrates. 

 

Well, that about wraps up our first episode of Navigating the Fustercluck.

 

Here from Deaf Mule Studios, I’m your host, Wegs, like eggs with a W, thank you for listening in. Until then, please feel free to reach out to us on Twitter at NavigatingF. Remember, we’re all in this together, so thanks for doing your best. Here’s to you. Here’s to the future.