Saturday, June 19, 2004

Crossroads, Granovetter and Pitching Manure

When I linked to the Structural Holes story before, I was thinking of how it relates to a number of different things: how this weblog relates to the other weblogs that I maintain; Granovetter's influential work on the strength of weak ties; Malcolm Gladwell's article, Six Degrees of Lois Weisberg; Malcolm McCullough's talk two years ago at Doors about how ideas (and businesses, societies etc.) flourish where roads and networks cross (from his latest book Digital Ground); a quote I loved when I was 14 and reading a lot of Robert Heinlein ("A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write a sonnet, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently,die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."); how that article (and these assorted references) support my lifelong polymathic world view; and, most egotistically, how I am uniquely positioned at the crossroads of so many different fields, with such a wide range of interests and weak ties into so many different fields (conceptual art, business, mycology, web design, gnosticism, etc.) that holy shit, it is only a matter of time before I find myself ruling the world.

I am only joking of course, but then again, as we know from Freud, there are no jokes.

I am meant to be in Amsterdam taking a vacation from all thought about "business" and turning my attention solely toward "art" but it turns out that is impossible. So I thought I'd mention the links above and that since I've been here I've forayed into bookstores specializing in art books, and emerged with two odd volumes: Margeting by André Plateel, subtitled "Inventing a different Marketing Language", and The Accursed Share, a book of economics by, of all people, Georges Bataille. Excerpts and ideas from these two curious books are soon to follow. From the preface to Margeting:

'Margeting' is based on the words 'marketing' and 'margin'. It is the constant creation of margins in which desire can take shape and marketing can find new avenues for a more appropriate relationship with customers.