Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

Marc Andreessen (Part 2)

There are two other ideas that Marc talks about that are relevant to artists, the first one is this:

“The world is busy – people already have stuff going on… they don’t wake up and say I can’t wait to find out what this person I’ve never heard of has invented. You have to inject yourself into the world. So the successful people are the ones who can both create and push their creation into the world.

You have to carry the idea forward and proselytize and advocate for it. Because if you don’t, who will ever know about it? Someone needs to make sure people see it and that it succeeds.”

Even though this may seem obvious, to the artist often it’s not. Most artists are consumed with the idea of making something worthwhile, something that their inner compass tells them is special, something where they feel that they have communicated their idea in a way that is provocative and true. Actually promoting it can almost seem distasteful, which of course can insure that the work will most likely never find an audience.

The other fascinating point he discusses is the idea of feedback loops in a complex adaptive system (i.e. the world). There are lots of examples, but the simple adage success begets success is by itself a nice illustration. When the Beatles first began breaking, they were caught in a giant feedback loop that built like a tsunami. One person discovered them who in turn told another person which went on to create an exponential wave – this is a perfect example of a feedback loop that happened on a global scale. Same for viral videos or internet memes today. It is the feedback loop that makes them viral. Their popularity just spirals on itself over and over.

In fact, modern society and culture is a particularly fertile example of feedback loops happening constantly. Politics, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, the Me Too movement, the 24 hour “news” cycle, Fox news, MSNBC – these are all great examples of massive cultural feedback loops. They influence culture and culture influences them…