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Ignore Early Detractors
Protect your early creative efforts
It's often said that Steve Jobs possessed a "reality distortion field" that allowed him to ignore detractors, problems and roadblocks. This "distortion field" allowed him to continue pursuing projects relentlessly even in the face of extreme obstacles. This method of working brought us the Mac, OSX, Pixar movies, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.
More than 20 years ago, I created FASO as a simple, yet powerful tool for artists to build their own websites.
I recall showing the early versions of it to friends in the technology space. Several times the response was something like, "that's pretty cool, but nobody will purchase this, people can already easily create their own website with Dreamweaver or iWeb if they have a Mac. Why would anyone pay for this?"
That was pretty discouraging feedback at first, but fortunately I chose to ignore it. I recall consciously choosing to employ my own "reality distortion field", and I chose to have faith that we could create something that would be immensely useful to artists. After all, both iWeb and Dreamweaver required a technical learning curve and what we were building with FASO was designed to be optimized to be easy and designed specifically to create websites that showcase artwork while at the same time providing marketing tools and channels. iWeb was a page layout program. FASO is an art marketing tool. We were building a completely new and different thing, that only superficially did something similar to existing tools.
I'm glad we ignored those early detractors because, today, more than 15,000 artists use FASO to grow their art sales every day, and we've become the leading provider of professional artist websites. Artists write me every week with letters of thanks for the role FASO has played in allowing them to pursue their artistic dreams. That's enormously humbling and gratifying.
This isn't just a brag n' boast post though. I have a point.
While it's perfectly fine to solicit feedback and advice regarding your creative endeavors from the people you respect, I've come to realize there is a danger on soliciting that feedback too early.
My tech friends couldn't see the vision I had in my head. And the earliest versions of FASO weren't fully baked enough for them, or even artist friends, to see how what I was building would eventually become a superior tool for artists.
What I had done was the equivalent of asking for a painting critique when the "painting" (FASO) wasn't even half completed.
So, if you must show your work to friends, colleagues or mentors before it's ready, just remember that it's probably best to ignore early detractors and stay true to your vision.
Until Next Time,