I loved the movie Ray, not least for its wonderful lesson about staying power. Though Ray Charles faced any number of hurdles, some self-inflicted, he sustained largely by continually re-inventing himself in a fundamental way. To his handlers' and sponsors' chagrin he'd scrap a successful genre and try something completely different that had captured his fancy. This Saturday I went to see a magnificent show of David Hockney's portraits, opening in Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. As with Ray, I was struck by the fact that Hockney had abruptly and radically changed direction on a half dozen, if not a dozen, occasions—and he too had left something very good-productive-lucrative behind, that had in no way petered out, to follow that new and untried path.
Though the sample discussed here is just two in number, I believe there is a significant truth at work. Those (individuals, institutions such as Apple) who have the nerve to move in a very new direction while the "cash cow" is still producing a vigorous torrent of milk mightily enhance the odds of lasting success.
Before blogging became all the rage, Tom was posting book reviews and Observations (essentially early blog posts) to this site. You can find the archives below.
What we're talking about
on the front page.