Monday, 22 December 2014


By: Team PenTastic


Somebody once asked me“What took you the longest in your life to understand?”
I don’t know if I understand anything in my life. I don’t say this with self-modesty. Every day I learn something where I say to myself, “why didn’t I learn that before?”
But when I think over the question ,the answer to it wil be it took me the longest to understand is that our ability to survive, to be calm, to even be happy, to possibly be successful, stems entirely from the quality of the people we surround yourself with.
Surround yourself with creative, smart, good, honest people and good things will happen. we are our scene.
Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs went to Columbia together (not sure if Burroughs did but he hung out there).
Ginsberg got into publishing and helped Kerouac get “On the Road” published which became the bible for 22 year old kids everywhere.
When Burroughs was sick from drugs in Morocco and Ginsberg was visiting him he found random scraps of writing all over the floor of Burroughs place. He pieced them together (barely), edited them (barely), and got it published as the now-classic (ugh, I hate it) “Naked Lunch”.
Together, the three of them consistently helped their friends get books published, art sold, poetry read, and on and on.
And even though their styles were totally different they created one movement that every writer at the time wanted to be a part of, The Beat Movement.
Around the same time, the painter Jasper Johns lived with the artist Robert Rauschenberg and they hung out with the dancer Merce Cunningham and the composer John Cage.
Eventually they all met Leo Castelli who sold their works for millions. When they all first met, all of them were complete unknowns.
In Silicon Valley: Facebook, Palantir, Youtube, Tesla, LinkedIn, Yelp, Yammer, and more were all either largely funded or started by ex-employees of PayPal.
HBO, Showtime, Viacom, Starz, FX, Universal, and shows like “Mad Men”, “House of Cards”, etc were all started by a core group of people who worked together at the same time at HBO.
If we watch interviews with comedians like Louis CK, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Chris Rock, they all worked together in no-name clubs for years, each opening for the other over and over again, until they broke out one by one and pulled their talented friends along with them.
If we are with the right people…the right things start happening.More art is created. More innovation with more integrity with more opportunities. You literally can eat less if you are around people who are giving you energy and bringing you to a higher level. We are the average of the five people we always be with.
How do you monetize a Scene? It will happen.
Artists and entrepreneurs never work by themselves. There’s always a context. There’s always others from around the world that you can trade ideas with and build ideas on each other.
And if you think you aren’t a creator, then I’m not going to believe you. We all have our secret passions in the desk drawer. We all can find our way to the people who inspire us. The people we admire and want to emulate and want to help.
And then it becomes fun. It’s two kids building a city out of wooden blocks, not caring about what happened before or what will happen later. Let’s just build the coolest stuff with our blocks. Let’s make it bigger and bigger. And more and more colorful. And if all the blocks fall we can laugh and start again.
How do you build a scene:
  • find the people whose work inspires you. Businesses, writings, art, whatever.
  • come up with ideas for them. How can you help them?
  • start doing your own work. Share with the people you like. Interact with the people who interact with you sincerely.
  • try to meet the people who inspire you. Some of them are busy. Some would like to meet.
  • go to conferences and meet the people who inspire you.
  • every day work. Every day create. Every day share. The people you share with slowly solidify into your Scene.
  • And then…repeat. Never stop helping.
Never stop building each other up. Never stop making introductions (with permission from each side before you make an intro).
Never stop delivering value into the Scene. The more powerful the Scene, the more likely it is you will have fun doing what you do, make money at it, succeed at it, live off of it, love it, and make friends.

Together, I hope we create something amazing.

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