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TECH TALK: Creating value in your own “MeaningPlace”

When you're in the creative zone, achieving the impossible seems perfectly feasible. But it is important to understand that moving your creative product to reality involves a further three-step process.

Editor’s note: Besides following developments in tech, our author is also a musical composer (Juilliard-trained), He has provided a musical composition for you to listen to while reading this column. This piece is called “MeaningPlace.”

Have you ever found yourself so engrossed in thought that you’re pulled in multiple directions simultaneously? You’re mapping out the steps to bring your dream enterprise to life while contemplating its long-term impact. Time becomes irrelevant as you’re swept up in this deeply meaningful process, entering a state of flow.

When you’re in the zone, achieving the impossible becomes perfectly feasible. Whether birthing a new business or crafting art, the process is profoundly absorbing and affirming. It’s a personal “MeaningPlace,” independent of the external networking which we call “MeetingPlace” or pressures of running your business in the “MarketPlace.”

Here in your MeaningPlace, you muster the necessary effort to manifest something remarkable, blissfully unaware of the passing hours. But it is important to understand that moving your creative product to reality involves a further three-step process. Knowing these steps can help you realize your dream. It can also help you avoid the sense of frustration that comes when you discover that the ultimate execution takes much longer than the original creation. Much like childbirth, the endeavor demands more than anticipated, but the end result eclipses the struggle.

Step 1: Capture

The first step is capture: seizing your ideas, whether they’re words, numbers, sketches, or melodies. It’s essential to cultivate the habit of capturing these fleeting insights, as they can vanish as quickly as they appear. Thankfully, most of us carry mobile devices capable of recording our thoughts, tunes, images, and commitments, and even sketches with a stylus.

Often, we aim to capture a stream of consciousness, but this can be disrupted by the logistical demands of the capture process. For example, improvising jazz before an audience feels vastly different from recording in a studio. The technicalities of recording can feel restrictive and less inspiring than the energy of a live crowd.

There are many ways to capture our work. Mobile devices are handy on-the-go, but for writing a book, a laptop is preferable, and for creating complex illustrations, a desktop with ample screen space is ideal. In music creation, capturing in stereo, as opposed to mono, can significantly affect the spatial quality of the sound, benefiting from effects like reverb and delay.

The act of creation is subjective but capture demands objectivity—balancing the two simultaneously is a tough feat. For many people, creating comes easier than capturing. The subjective nature of artistic processes contrasts sharply with the objective nature of preservation. Moreover, when capturing a large volume of material, organizing and labeling for later retrieval can become overwhelming, leading to a cluttered process that hinders the next step: distillation. And let’s not forget about backups—with various methods available, each with its own trade-offs regarding cost, version control, and the ability to revert changes.

This segues into the next phase of the process: managing logistics while also enhancing the artistic quality of your work. It’s a delicate balance between logistical management and subjective artistic refinement.

Step 2: Distillation

The distillation phase, where you refine and extract the essence of your creation, is a meticulous process that involves discerning not just what’s good, but what’s truly exceptional. This phase can be arduous, as it often requires a series of complex steps and a deep understanding honed over time.

During distillation, the meaning and value of your work become clearer, but this process has its challenges. The effort to elevate something from good to great can feel like a journey of diminishing returns. The final 10 percent of the process can take as much effort as the initial 90 percent and, for some creators, it may lead to a state of perpetual refinement, where nothing ever feels complete.

In terms of technology, the abundance of tools available today has indeed complicated the distillation process. These tools offer more possibilities but also add layers of complexity. The duration of distillation varies widely—it could be as brief as a moment or as long as a lifetime. Ultimately, the time it takes to “get it right” is subjective and intertwined with the value you seek to create from your endeavors. It’s a balance between using technology to aid the creative process and not letting it overwhelm the essence of what you’re trying to achieve.

Step 3: Deployment

Deployment marks a critical stage in the creative process, where you prepare to showcase your work to the world. It’s not just about seeking compensation; it’s about connecting emotionally and delivering value to your audience.

When your project—be it a business plan, a musical composition, or any other creation—reaches a point where it’s ready for others, you must navigate the complexities of presenting it effectively. With hundreds of thousands of patents issued, millions of books and songs published, and numerous new businesses launched annually, the competition is fierce.

Deployment differs from distillation and capture; it’s about strategy and outreach. While some creators hope for an agent to handle this, successful deployment often requires direct involvement. The plethora of tools and platforms available today lowers barriers to entry, but successful deployment hinges on finding a ‘MeaningPlace’—a sense of purpose and fulfillment in the act of sharing one’s work. Without this drive, the considerable effort needed for deployment may seem insurmountable. It’s essential to find meaning in this phase to create value, not just for yourself but for the intended audience as well.

Please note: In next week’s column, we will look more closely at tools and technologies that can help you capture, distill and deploy your creative product.

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