Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Penchant for Creativity - Knights and Nobles

cc image courtesy
Linden Lab CEO Rodvik Humble has been doing a series of interviews and discussions with Second Life Residents (er, customers) over the past few weeks. Thoughtfully free of schtick, Rod's conversations and grasp of the world orbit a single word: creativity.
"I think it has something to do with creativity and how we evolve identity as we interact with others, but I like its undefined nature. 
I care about art and creativity, I express myself through technology. I hope those traits will prove helpful. 
If we put barriers in the way of creativity and exploration. There are temptations to do this every day. They need to be avoided. 
As I mentioned before, my goal is to enable our customers’ expression and creativity, beyond that, let us see where the journey takes us all. 
Expect to see a focus on customer service, experience, creativity and usability.
"When you get an open-ended creativity tool like Second Life, then its content mirrors the Internet’s content themes, it covers what people are interested in.
I would note that because we are an open-ended creativity tool where you can make a house, a chair, an island, a creature, an outfit AND be able to program their behavior we get a vast swathe of content. If you let the human imagination loose then you get all sorts of things, just like the Internet.
Early on I was exposed to the idea that if you can tap into the power of people’s creativity you’ll have something incredibly powerful." 
"As I was approached to come here... I didn’t realize just how much of a creativity tool [SL] was." 
What about this creativity that Rod speaks of so highly?

Noble enemies
Creativity is a transcendental yet amorphous state - a natural high - the drug of choice for many inside and outside of virtual worlds like Second Life. My experience with creativity is that it has certain ways of being.

Creativity is stealthy. It sneaks up on you in the most unusual places - in the middle of the night, in the shower, on the train - and seizes your mind with trembling fingers. Try to unmask it, and it becomes the tell tale heart.

Creativity is demanding and impatient. It asks for and expects your undivided attention. Seize it now, or lose it forever. If you ask it to wait, it may stomp off like a petulant child.

Creativity refuses to be lonely and craves connection. Left by itself, creativity is insanity. It demands an audience - first with one, then a few, then increasingly larger numbers. Leave it alone, and it will find a new host.

Creativity evades imprisonment. Focused and yet dispersed, there is no vessel to hold it. It requires space to move freely and without law. If you try to enslave it, it will slip beneath the bars and into the valley before you know it is gone.
I think the idea of art kills creativity. - Douglas Adams
Creative is an easy kill. A simple search of creativity killers yields a multitude of would be candidates: television, the Internet, inflexibility, too much flexibility, fear, lack of fear, goals, lack of goals, time pressure, too much time.  The list is sizable.

Creativity has a noble list of enemies.

Knights in shining ..
I just had my fifth rez day. After five years, three and a half knights in shining armor and a host of "fast, easy fun" strategic equations, all I really want is for the things in world that stifle, kill, dissuade, and mute my creativity  - to go quietly away.

Almost two years ago, I led a discussion at SLCC with then newly knighted Colossus Linden about the future of live music in Second Life. I wrote at length about it in my post Second Life, Meet the Social Web.

I just read that post again this morning and to be sure, many of the creativity killers are alive and well. I'll repeat what I said then - creativity craves connections.

My personal take is that Rod's penchant for creativity is a good sign.

I hope it means that he is determined to slay the beasts that feed on the creative spirits of the merchants, the craftsman, the poets, the artists, the musicians, the performers, the hosts, the landlords, the storytellers, the teachers ... and all the good people in the valley.


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