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Don’t Compete, Create

Competition is zero-sum. Someone always has to win, as in sports. It’s either this or that.

Creativity is non-competitive. While creatives may steal ideas from each other, they also mash up, reinterpret, and recast ideas into something completely new and personal.

In the case of business, creativity still comes first. Companies that improve lives through ingenuity get ahead. Apple develops more useful products than Dell and Microsoft, and jazzes them up with cool, outside design. The deliberate approach to think different rather than compete sparks innovation which ultimately benefits the customers.

Art is ultimately about personal expression, not competition.

I don’t think about art when I’m working. I try to think about life. – Jean-Michel Basquiat

Artists try to project their inner thoughts onto a blank canvass. They speak through their work. Getting some recognition here and there is an appreciation for their difference.

Artists rise above the competition with deviation, not increments of sameness and conformity. Don’t be afraid to show people what you got.

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What’s Your Canvas?

Everyone has a platform for free, public expression. For Banksy, it’s the streets. For me, it’s my blog.

Before the Internet, none of us had a megaphone. We all had to be signed professionals in order to get a deal for distribution. But that model is broken; my work can be found just as easily as the famous musician, artist, and writer.

The difference between amafessionals and professionals is in the marketing. Sometimes you need the backing of a bank to help spread of mouth. For instance, I can blog and tweet all day but a legitimate writer gets an interview with the New York Times or CNBC and their shit blows up.

We can all make stuff but it’s the quality of the network that separates the bedroom creators versus the signed artists.

In the meantime, use your anonymity, the tech tools, and free Internet distribution to practice. There’s no excuse but to create something, even if you’re never found.