"The free play of art is the result of mastery. " --Ernst Fischer, The Necessity of Art

"Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them." --Ladybird Johnson

"...a well-trained ear, a well-trained intelligence, a well-trained heart, and a well-trained hand...." --Zoltan Kodaly


Quality & Service: Giving it away for free

Just finished listening to a great podcast by SisterDiane and Paul Overton, about a new business trend, giving things away for free. Lots of good information, all of it applicable to education as well as to online businesses. Here's the link,
on CraftyPod: Free and Service, with Paul Overton (www.Dudecraft.com):

The underlying message is that great work arises from passion & investment of ourselves. Paul amplifies his point that the marketing value is more of a by-product of that passion and investment rather than the impetus for it with solid examples drawn from his businesses.

They discuss how the drive to be of service is more than merely one component of good branding. It's the natural corollary to being excited and enthusiastic about whatever it is that you do. Which applies across the board. I kept thinking about my music program and education in general. (But that's a discussion for some other time.)

However: Paul's way of looking at work: "always looking to give people the best possible experience, to surprise them with the level of quality" and "it's all about the artist and the experience"---that is service at a very deep level. Service that can't be sustained or fed by simply a surface-level motivation (wanting to get good job reviews or a raise or whatever). It needs to come from intrinsic drive: whether from passion for the subject or the people involved, or for our own need to make it be the best that we can.

I loved what he said about that being what 'makes it fun' for him.

There was a section on talking about starting out, about how to build a following, about how to 'cherish your few readers' (customers, clients, whatever) and build from there. Nuts and bolts tools for building, for folks who are eager but confused about getting going.

A good discussion on setting limits, too--and advice to view this all as an opportunity rather than allowing it to get us bogged down, or to, in his funny phrase, "not to wallow in frustration" (that makes me smile!) but to use it to learn.


I think this quote should be a bumper sticker for this whole topic (it's from the section where they were talking about free as being a way to give a gift to the community): it is "a way to differentiate yourself, to be the person that people want to come to see".


(If you enjoyed listening to the podcast, check out this other article on the same topic: http://makeandmeaning.com/2010/02/09/join-us-for-free-thinking-an-interactive-liveblogging-conversation/
and Seth Godin's newest book, "Linchpin".)

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