Category: Creativity

“The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.” — Peter H. Diamandis

Make sure to carve out time for what is meaningful in your life.  Find time for solitude and for being with people you love.  Do good things for other people.

These things you take with you and they are the things you leave behind.  They are the thing that transcend time.


BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson


“Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.” – Walter Lippmann

Hang around people who will disagree with you.

They will challenge you to think differently.  People know what they believe but how many actually know why?

Until someone challenges you on your ideas, you haven’t gone through the process of understanding why and you may have blinded yourself to alternative, and better, possibilities.

This is important when you are talking to your customers.  You have your idea that you believe in and you want to know what they think.  We are happy to hear form those who agree with us but the idea gets better when it’s challenged.

BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“All of the best things I did at Apple came from (a) not having money, and (b) not having done it before, ever.” – Steve Wozniak

Doing something that’s never been done provides the creativity.  Not having enough money provides motivation and simplicity.

Together you get innovation.

Sometimes it’s the boundaries that spark the imagination but they also eliminate noise.  If you can’t move right or left, the only way is forward.  Another way of saying it is, the things you can’t change may point the way to the things you can.


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson


“Surprise comes from defying expectations.” – Seth Godin

Most of us have low expectations.  Perhaps it’s because of the way we are treated by the cable company or the airlines.  Perhaps it’s the lawyer commercials late at night.  The constant barrage of advertising tends to desensitize.  There is so much noise we can’t hear anything.

I’ve gotten used to standing in line to order a $12 salad and then having to buss my table even while they are sweeping the floor around my feet.  That’s why it’s really something when the server actually makes a recommendation without the standard “Well, it depends on what you like.”

The good news is people are primed for positive experiences, and they don’t even know it.  If you can solve a problem in a way people don’t expect, at the very least they will give you some of their attention.  If your product or service happens to inject a pleasant surprise, something the customer did not expect, then you will likely have a customer who will pass their excitement on to others.

My first iPod came in a brightly colored box that was a 6″ cube; a very unusual package in a world of plastic blister pack that is impossible to open.  I slipped off the sleeve and the box opened in half.  On one side read “Designed by Apple in California”.  The other half simply said “Enjoy”.  Of course I opened that side first and there….. there it was, my first iPod.  It was pure white and shiny.

I remember this some 12 years later because it was a beautiful surprise.  What is it about a product where the memory of opening the box outlasts the product itself?  And I have just passed that along to you.


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

Nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before” – Austin Kleon

There is no lack of great ideas in the world.  It’s amazing how a solution to one type of problem and be adapted to solve another.  The advantage of a first mover is obviously the brand recognition and the opportunity for quick market share but there is a risk.  Others can see where the first mover fell short, tweak their product to cover it and now you have competitors.  This is healthy and good.

This is also where niche markets are created.  There is always a set of potential customers who are not well served by the prevailing market leader.  Maybe it’s features or price.  Maybe it’s a completely different demographic altogether.

There are two principles to be gained here.  First look for problems that need a solution and look around you.  Someone may have figured out the solution for a different problem.  Second, look for those who didn’t buy into the prevailing product offering and understand why.  You may have discovered a profitable niche.

Austin Kleon has a new book – “Show Your Work”.  I am sure there are great quotes to follow.


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“The industrial age brought compliance and compliance brought fear and fear brought us mediocrity.” – Seth Godin

Great quote today from Seth Godin’s blog:

We were taught from an early age that we are to behave in certain ways and believe certain things and dress in certain clothes.  This was all in preparation for a world that promised lifetime employment and being part of something bigger than oneself.

Loyalty was rewarded with promotions and annual bonuses.  Conformity was valued over creativity.  And if our children had trouble with this, there were medications available that helped them keep quiet and walk in a straight line.

If the rewards didn’t entice you to stay inside the box, then the fear of what would happen if you did was terrifying.  Loss of income and benefits, status and lifestyle were all threatened.  I remember buying my first home.  I told my supervisor and he said “That’s great.  The more in-debt you are, the more you love working for (insert your favorite corporation)”.  Thus the interstate highway to mediocrity was paved.

Now the truth is on the table.  We all have risk.  Sixteen years of dedicated employment is a negative on the income statement.  Traditional employment is going away.

HOWEVER!  We are all free now!  Free to think for ourselves.  Free to come up with great ideas and see if others would benefit from them.  Free to pursue wealth from our efforts – for ourselves.

And freedom from mediocrity.

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“Do good work and share it with people” – Austin Kleon

Entrepreneurs and artists can learn a lot from from each other.  One lesson is the art of sharing.

Whether you write songs or write code, it’s only a hobby until you share it.  In that moment it becomes art because that’s when people interact with your innovation and get to decide if they like it, want it and are willing to exchange their resources (money, time) to acquire it.

In any event, they will let you know what they think.  What you do with that information is up to you.  You can only hope that they will love it or hate it.  Either way they will remember you.  If they are indifferent, you become beige wall paper, but even that is information you can use.

Create something every day.  Share it as soon as you can.

Read “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“There is nothing new under the sun” – Ecclesiastes 1:9

It’s compelling to contemplate the idea that every element that makes up our planet, plants, trees, animals and ourselves, was created at the moment the universe was created and has been around since then.  And yet, these same elements get rearranged, transformed and reconstructed into something unique each time a new life checks in.  In the end, those same elements dissipate and are returned to the universe for the next cycle.  Ashes to ashes…

The same can be said of ideas.  Humans needs are largely constant over time and therefor the problems in need of a solution can be traced back to some fundamentals.  Music, movies, video games, books, etc. all serve to pass along the culture, distribute content and engage our attention.  Technology and methods change but the needs remain the same.

Invention is important to entrepreneurship but it’s not the foundation.  It may not even be necessary.  A researcher pulled together disparate “green” technologies into a design for Habitat for Humanity homes where the home owner’s monthly energy cost was only a few dollars.  All the technology already existed.  The key was assembling the ideas of others into a new and unique solution.

Invention is about solving technical problems.  Entrepreneurship is about solving problems for people.