Why incumbents rarely invent the future (Read time 1:13) Most of the artists & entrepreneurs I consult with, who have been in the game a long time, are the ones having the most difficulty altering their methods, changing their style and adapting to the marketing strategies of the new techno world. That’s because they keep doing the same things they’ve always done, that have always worked, made many of them rich, and got them to where they are today. Now they’re hope’n & pray’n that they still have that “o’l magic” to get them through these tough economic times. What they forgot is that it never was “magic” that got them where they are. It was their courage to take uncertain risks and make unproven decisions. It was their willingness to make personal sacrifices and work hard...really hard. And it was their ability to create something from nothing, with abandon, like they had nothing to lose. The difference now is, they’ve got something to lose, something at stake—their families, kids, college tuition and comfy lifestyle. “So why does my genius fail me now?” they ask. Cause they’re stuck in an old worn out belief system that says the problems they have today can be solved by using yesterday’s solutions. They’re misguided that the genius promotions and brilliant marketing strategies that worked so well in the past will somehow get them through these challenging times. Truth is, there ainʼt no “getʼn thru” these challenging times by using the old worn out methods of a bygone era. These challenging times are not temporary and they’re not pausing so we can take a breath and gather our thoughts. The only way a self-made artist or an incumbent entrepreneur can make it today is to rethink, redesign, reinvent and recreate their entire business strategy—with trusted intelligence, not clever foxiness; and with humility and transparency, not craftiness and cunning. Problem is, you can’t develop the art without first developing the artist. And you can’t transform the company without first transforming the CEO. Therein lies the rub, and therein lies the reason why incumbents rarely invent the future. Are you "inventing" your future?
J Michael Dolan

Why incumbents rarely invent the future (Read time 1:13)

Most of the artists & entrepreneurs I consult with, who have been in the game a long time, are the ones having the most difficulty altering their methods, changing their style and adapting to the marketing strategies of the new techno world. That’s because they keep doing the same things they’ve always done, that have always worked, made many of them rich, and got them to where they are today. Now they’re hope’n & pray’n that they still have that “o’l magic” to get them through these tough economic times. What they forgot is that it never was “magic” that got them where they are. It was their courage to take uncertain risks and make unproven decisions. It was their willingness to make personal sacrifices and work hard...really hard. And it was their ability to create something from nothing, with abandon, like they had nothing to lose. The difference now is, they’ve got something to lose, something at stake—their families, kids, college tuition and comfy lifestyle.

“So why does my genius fail me now?” they ask. Cause they’re stuck in an old worn out belief system that says the problems they have today can be solved by using yesterday’s solutions. They’re misguided that the genius promotions and brilliant marketing strategies that worked so well in the past will somehow get them through these challenging times. Truth is, there ainʼt no “getʼn thru” these challenging times by using the old worn out methods of a bygone era. These challenging times are not temporary and they’re not pausing so we can take a breath and gather our thoughts. The only way a self-made artist or an incumbent entrepreneur can make it today is to rethink, redesign, reinvent and recreate their entire business strategy—with trusted intelligence, not clever foxiness; and with humility and transparency, not craftiness and cunning.

Problem is, you can’t develop the art without first developing the artist. And you can’t transform the company without first transforming the CEO. Therein lies the rub, and therein lies the reason why incumbents rarely invent the future.

Are you "inventing" your future?


COMMENTS


Posted By Chris
Incumbents
While my musical art emanates from a previous era I go to great lengths to attempt to blend it to modern melodies and rhythms. When it works it's great. Years ago Michael taught me a very good lesson which is appropriate here: When your life is at the edge, jump. Sorry mom, but sometimes danger is too much fun to pass up.


Posted By randy
New Sensation
I still am surprised that when someone achieves a certain level of fame or public awareness, there is always a person (or group of people) who follow. They change their style to mimic the 'new sensation',instead of allowing themselves to develop their own specific talents... and grow, and re-invent, and flourish.


Posted By mark
why incumbents rarley invent the future
Well, not every old school method has went the way of the Do-Do Bird. I still find most musicians still do actual business face to face with agents and music industry people. Yeah you might meet some musicians on the "Net" if you're looking for a sideman, but most bands get gigs and sell their CDs at gigs and maybe at stores. Not online. Most don't have a big enough following. Yeah, I run a how to site for musicians, but I've never made a dime online. All my biz is face to face. There's still a lot of players who buy mail order guitar lessons. Yeah, Guitar Player and Guitar World sell a lot of stuff from their site, that's because they have the traffic. Old School works better for me.


Posted By Teena
Incumbent
I am now reinventing myself from a jazz solist to a ROCKERPopper!!! Working with a producer is helping...Thanks for the words


Posted By David Lloyd Stewart
Where have all the Artists gone?
Very interesting viewpoint - one I have been considering for quite some time. For years, we "old-timers" have noted with some concern that the demographic of artists showing at art fairs has been getting older & older. Not that many young, talented artists are taking our places! Speculation about the Why has abounded, but perhaps the Reasons are not as important as discovering What has taken the place of that scene. Internet? Co-ops? Or something still to be discovered? Has just the venue changed, or is it society in general? Are people less creative today, because of electronics or ways of sharing our vision? Or are we as a society simply not appreciating the Worth of the creatives among us? Quite amazing to see such sweeping changes in one lifetime. But then, change has been the one immutable factor in all of existence, hasn't it?


Posted By maggie z
Old dog...new tricks
Definition of insanity... doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. So here is to the re-evolution... rethink, redesign... rejoice in doing something I love!


Posted By VERA
Why incumbents rarely invent the future
Thank you, for the article. Yes, INCUMBENTS do not invent the future, but they DOMINATE our world, by dragging all that heavy stuffy Past into the future. So people eat it again and over again. It takes ages to get through, especially when you're alone - which is always the case for the inventor. How one, if he/she is truly new and inspirational, can manage to crack the corrupted market just to be heard? Always appreciate your sound thoughts! Vera Nova


Posted By Artist, Tammy C
Michaels blog! on Artist
It's true we must reinvent ourselfs as artists but whats important is that we stay connected to the source of our power and creativity our Universal Father who is all knowing and full of artistic ideas gives freely to those who are connected we only need to just ask him. peace!


Posted By Christine
Good article
Great article. And I might add that insead of relying on their old magic, the incumbents may doubt themselves with second guessing and wither away....So I'm doing what it takes for inspiration and be more open minded. Thanks again


Posted By Frank White
Wow
I need these blogs, I've become addicted to them! They make me feel like I'm moving in the right direction, whenever one else is saying I'm not, it's tough to get in the room you are in on a daily basis, but I keep trying!


Posted By J S Kingfisher
Integrity
"Trusted intelligence, not clever foxiness... humility and transparency, not craftiness and cunning." Integrity, yes - it is paramount, isn't it? So easy to lose track of that, to slip into struggling against instead of working for. Thank you for the wise words.


Posted By Rachel
Intelligent thoughts....
Thank you Michael...just thinking today. Just one grain of sand.... Have a wonderful day:-)


Posted By Ken Budka
Sounds like...
Are you saying that incumbents are insane? ;-) Thanks as always Michael for your words of wisdom. Ken


Posted By Robbin Michael Wagner
The Future
Time to embrace "old school" and "new school" as friends. Old school understands the human condition. New school understands viral marketing techniques. Old school has history to guide it. New school has the future to guide it. Inventing the future is in the hands of your customers. Old school experience will keep them. New school will find them. Embrace old and new together. That is where the future is....


Posted By Noemie
Precisely!
I'm an indie artist and have regularly dealt with this kind of thinking. As an outsider, I'm usually told that I'm naive and that new and unique strategies won't work...I need to do what everyone's been doing for years. I don't agree with the old business model, it just doesn't work in the digital world (for most artists). And it's scary to think that many people in the industry are fighting to keep it alive! It's no wonder many companies are suffering...


Posted By Thomas Riker
Aloha!
I'm one of those who made it back in the 80's and I'm actually terrified of losing it today. As a CD replicator my business in the mainland U.S. has all but vanished, so I opened shop in Hawaii where they still listen to CD's. But for how long? I'm grateful for the success I had in the past and confident that I'll just keep reinventing my self as time goes on.


Posted By Rami
Thanks

I always appreciate the fact that you often repeat the same message in different unique ways. I'm finally starting to get it.


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• WEEKENDS (read time :33)
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• CAN YOU FEEL IT? (read time 1:47)
• BRANCUSI'S VICTORY CRY  (read time :57)
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• ARTISTS RULE! (read time 1:23)
• USE IT OR LOSE IT (read time :53)
• START HERE (read time 1:27)
• UNCERTAINTY (read time 1:19)
• STOPPED BY CALAMITY (read time 1:37)
• ART (read time :57)
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• DEADLINE OR DIE! (read time 1:53)
• THE WIZARDS CLOCK (Read time :47)
• CREATIVE PRIVACY (read time :43)
• THE KOBE IN ME (read time 1:13)
• READY, SET, GO! (read time :47)
• EVE OF DISTRACTION (read time 1:29)
• KEEP YOUR FEET UP! (read time 1:09)
• JUST ONE MORE FOOT (read time 1:57)
• MY MUSE DOESN'T CARE (read time :39)
• MISUNDERSTOOD (read time 1:19)
• DUMP IT! (read time 1:19)
• IS IT WORTH IT? (read time :49)
• THE 24 HOUR RULE (read time 2:21)
• MONK ON THE MOUNTIAN (read time: a lifetime)
• “IT” (read time 1:37)
• BORN TO SHOW (read time 3:37)
• THE STING OF REJECTION (read time 1:13)
• LESSON FROM A ROCK STAR (Read time 0:27)
• THUMB POWER (read time 1:59)
• EXPOSING THE WIZARD (read time (1:13)
• HEY, WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA? (read time 1:37)
• THE WAITING WARRIOR (Read time 0:41)
• PLAY AT YOUR OWN RISK (read time :57 sec)
• AUTONOMY HIGHWAY (read time :35 sec)
• LIMPIDITY (read time :45 sec)
• WHY I MEDITATE (read time 1:00 min)
• YOUR SHADOW AGENDA (Read time 0:59)
• WHY I SOLD MY BUSINESS (read time 6:33)
• BARENAKED PROBITY (read time 1:47 min)
• THE FANTASIES OF POSSIBILITY (read time 4:17 min)
• THE TUG OF WAR (read time 5:09 min)