In June 2014, I kept hearing a rumble underfoot. People were frustrated. Hard-working people. People stifled in Silicon Valley start-ups that perpetuate business-as-usual tactics in new guise. People in digital entrepreneurship turned off by get-rich-and-famous-quick promises that perpetuate more of the same on a new medium.
I tuned in. I tuned in with what bothered me and with what seemed to bother so many entrepreneurs, professionals, and creatives within our community. What they complained about – and often what held them back from advancing their own endeavors – often boiled down to things they perceived still happening in traditional business and digital entrepreneurship.
Things like lack of integrity. Manipulation. Automated efficiency in place of relationship and engagement.
Here’s what bothered me more than the business-as-usual patterns I witnessed:
These perceptions of business-as-usual were holding back members of our community who otherwise are accomplished, work hard, create astonishing things, and want to make a positive difference.
Good people being held back – that bothers me.
I wanted to bring these matters to the fore.
I did what I do when something bothers me and others: I wrote.
Soon, I had about 60 pages of writing. Yet, the feedback I received was the first page or so was what resonated most. I realized I had the kernel of a poem-manifesto. I cut the other 59 pages and roped in Dom, Tracking Wonder’s videographer, and this was the result:
If you don’t know the story, we received hoots and hollers from around the world. People in business saw themselves at last. People in the arts recognized themselves at last. Business + creativity + art can co-exist. We don’t have to create yet another culture war between commerce and creativity. Our Quest Community of business artists weds these cultures.
And our Quest Community has since grown considerably – 15 countries strong. I recently published the report The Rise of the Business Artist, and again the response has been powerful.
We’re not bonded by trade or profession or generation. We’re bonded by hunger. We hunger for something different, and we’re making it happen.
But we still have more work to do if we’re going to change how we work together and do business together.
I’ve crystallized the manifesto. It’s now a living document we each can print out, carry in our pockets, and pull out in the middle of meetings, malls, or meltdowns.
Here it is: