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Barely Legal (And Desensitized)

August 31, 2016

broadway80In 1983, when I was just 11-years-old, I made a pact with my friend Sam. When we turned 18, we were going to go downtown and hit every seedy place in the area.

In other words, we were going to hit every strip club, every adult book store, and every adult theater — places with names like “Adult World” and “Pink Poodle,” playing movies like The Crack Of Dawn (starring Dawn), and full of mystery due to their lack of windows.

And that’s just what happened. Sam turned 18 five days after I did and we paid a visit to every single one.

Kids in Nashville can’t have the same experience today because, Nashville, like so many places, has a downtown that’s changed. Instead of “seedy” places, we have safe (and corporate) bars, selling fake authenticity and $8 beers.

But the real reason kids in Nashville (or anywhere else) can’t have this same experience goes way beyond gentrification and changing morality…

Today, we live in a world that’s been desensitized and has no mystery. Nobody turning 18 is even curious about what’s inside “Adult World” because they’ve seen far more graphic images for years on their home computers and mobile phones.

Curiosity Is Dead

Thanks to the Internet, we have access to everything. We don’t have to wait to hear new music from our favorite musicians, because it’s online before the official release date — for free. The same goes for movies and all forms of entertainment.

It something exists, there is a digital copy of it available online. Today, we don’t have “behind closed doors” situations because there are no doors.

So what does that mean for people like you and me? How are we, the people who come up with great content, great ideas, and great work supposed to compete (and make a living) in a world like this?

There are two ways…

1. Celebrity – This is the best way to rise above the noise. “Good work” alone doesn’t do that anymore, because there is way too much of it. You need something that goes beyond “good work” — celebrity, authority, and influence.

When I worked in the music business, we had a saying about songs, “The more money it makes, the better it sounds.”

The same is true for your work. The more celebrity, authority, and influence it has, the better the work itself is.

2. In-Person – A live experience can’t be copied. Sure, the “content” can be copied, but seeing a digital version of something is completely different than actually experiencing it in-person.

If you’re a creative entrepreneur and wondering how you’re going to complete with a changing culture using changing technology, this is how to do it.

Want more thoughts on this subject? You can listen to RED Podcast via iTunes or at REDpodcast.com.


Also published on Medium.