Last Week, In China
Last week I was in Shenzhen, one of the few cities in China you need a Visa to enter. A city where an American tourist with only English under his belt needs to find a generous soul willing to type an address in Chinese into his phone to show the cab driver every time he needs a ride. I was in Shenzhen, alone — visiting factories, wearing a suit, representing a consumer electronics company I created eleven months ago.
Eleven months ago I thought CES was a cleaning product. 11 months ago I thought PCB was a chemical used by plumbers. Eleven months ago I thought “schematic entry” was a phrase uttered only by urologists. Eleven months ago I was a professional composer and sound designer. I was an artist. I knew the joys of making and I made a living making sound.
On the flight to Shenzhen I counted fifteen passengers watching the movie “Sex Tape,” starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal in my section. After landing, I saw streets littered with advertisements and western capitalism. I noticed every gas station, pharmacy, office building, and grocery store plastered with images of Transformers and Looney Tunes. Yes, Looney Tunes. For citizens of Shenzhen, making is not encouraged — producing is. Filled to the brim with factories, the city seems devoted to the act of producing. Producing another person’s makings. Visiting factory upon factory, I couldn’t help comparing every detail to its analog in my life in New York — a city very much devoted to the act of making.
PRODUCING HOOKE, HOOKE MAKING
In one of my first sound design courses at Carnegie Mellon University, my professor asked the class, “What is the difference between a designer and a craftsman?” He then explained, “A designer must be a craftsman in order to be a designer; a craftsman does not need to be a designer to be a craftsman.” I see the same application when it comes to business: a business owner must be first an employee in order to be an owner; an employee does not need to be an owner to be an employee.
In a similar vain, my experience as a composer and sound designer is what has allowed me to become a business owner and it is something that will never leave me as I journey further and further into this corporate world. In my eyes, one can’t be a business owner without being first an artist. Owning a business requires incredible amounts of creativity, improvisation, and passion. It requires knowing the joys of making, while mastering the art of production.
And it’s hard. It’s definitely something that takes practice and patience, both things that had to have been learned as I ventured into this new world of making a product. But both are well worth it when you get to see the joy in people’s faces. Producing and making are important parts of the art here, and while you don’t have to be good at both, you have to be passionate about something. Passion is what drives the world, what makes us want to achieve the impossible and be able to climb the mountains in our way. We are a world full of makers and doers, and our lives and equipment should reflect that, no matter who we are or where we are.
Creating is usually restricted to people who have the ability and have the equipment. But we shouldn’t be restricting creativity. Anyone who has an idea should be able to make that become a reality. Our world is based on creators and people who want to formulate their ideas into reality. If we start restricting people and their ideas, then our world will become a much duller place. We no longer will be seeing bright colors and different shapes, and instead will look at the same dull drab things over and over. Which is why we must push forth creativity and encourage artists and everyone to make things.
Creating is no longer restricted to people who have access to big and expensive equipment. Anyone can be a creator and a storyteller with what they have on them. And that’s how it should be–we as society should be encouraging everyone around us to buckle down and create something and to share it with the world. That’s how the world continues to move. No matter what business you’re in, you should be pushing yourself to create more, and be pushing those around you to create and to share. Creating should be available to everyone, and it should be something we are all concerned with. We all can be creators.
With Hooke, I want to produce a product that makes making more readily available to the world. Because the opportunity to create should be everyone’s business.
From One Ear To Another,