Monkeys’ Business

Blame it on the infinite monkey theorem: The contention that if you sit enough monkeys in front of enough typewriters, they will eventually hit the right random selection of keys to create a Shakespeare text.

Apparently the infinite monkey theorem traces all the way back to Aristotle, long before the typewriter was even invented. Bad ideas die hard, I guess.

Some clients – perhaps subscribing to the infinite monkey theorem – think writers are a dime a dozen. And some writers may be. Hire them and you get what you pay for: a vendor who deals in words rather than office supplies.

But what if you want writing that soars, that consistently captures the reader’s attention?  Ah, well then you need an artist.

Thank you, Seth Godin, for articulating the difference between an artist and a vendor.

I’ve been treated as both and I’m here to tell you, Godin is right on target (no surprise): When my clients appreciate the creativity that goes into the work, I become a more engaged, more loyal, more fulfilled ally.  Now my level of fulfillment may not be the client’s concern, but my engagement and my loyalty should be.

Creativity can be scary – I’ll grant you that.  An artist will have ideas of his or her own.  Some of them might not work for you and an artist with any good business sense will throw those out.  But some of them may work, and may help you look at your company’s challenges in a new light.

So if you want predictability, hire a vendor.  If you want something memorable, hire an artist.

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