Ruud Questions: Hugh Macleod aka Gapingvoid

I don't remember why exactly but Gapingvoid, as I think of him, was among the batch of first people I started to follow on Twitter. He seemed to be in some kind of smart crowd; the kind of crowd I like to follow to learn from. When I learned Who He Is I liked the fact that he replied to regular people (like you and me) on Twitter. Probably he's one of those himself; regular people.

You do creative work. Creative works get freely shared via the web all the time, not making the artist any (direct or verifiable) money. Is the future of creative then to make one, sell one; go back to the days of the painters of yore?

Hugh MacleodCreative work hasn't changed with the internet, at least the two basic elements for being successful at it remain the same: Making and Selling work. Both have ALWAYS been time sucks, which is why creatives work such long hours. This will never change.

In regard to especially corporate environments where repeating the boss' opinion is rewarded, you wrote: "we have millions upon millions of human tapeworms thriving in the Western World, making love to their Powerpoint presentations, feasting on the creativity of others."

Is that what's going on with our information consumption as well? Do we have more people reading for 1 hour about drawing than we have people drawing for 1 hour? Are we tapeworming on Twitter?

Hugh MacleodOh, we've always had that. Writers writing at their desks for hours on end, while the poseurs endlessly yakking on about the "Writing" at the local cafe. Plus ca change...

You emphasize that "it"  -- creativity resulting in income, in making a living --  takes work; hard work, lots of work -- a lot of hard work. Hard work beats talent, beats luck: it's your trump card. But you also argue that in the end nothing matters in the game but trust. You don't say that in a Kumbaya manner either; on a very practical, day-to-day, nose to the grindstone "gotta make a living" level, trust has become essential.

How do you mean that -- and how does it apply to Jane driving a backhoe or John cutting hair?

Hugh MacleodThe same as white collar jobs. For every good job that opens, there are six people (At least!) chasing it. Doesn't matter if we're talking construction work or marketing for Apple.

Which of the six do you hire in the end? The one you like the most. The one you trust the most.

Liking and Trust are intertwined.

Ignore Everybody

You invite anyone to do what you do  -- "doodle" on the back of business cards and make money with it --  because you know 999 out of 1000 people won't.

Why? What is this avoidance behavior we often label procrastination? How do we beat it -- how do you beat it?

Hugh MacleodThere's nothing stopping the other 999. I don't do it because nobody else will, I do it because I love doing it.

You beat procrastination by having your ass kicked by it, enough times. Education is expensive.

Keep your day job. Hard work which doesn't give you an income for a long time. Once or if it does, you'll still do a good amount of  work just for money, and some sexy cool stuff for yourself.

What's are examples of your work vs. your sexy cool stuff?

Hugh MacleodMy sexy stuff is doing the actual drawings.

The hard work comes from making sure the clients who buy my work are kept happy.

There's a lot to do. Have you ever hand-signed a thousand prints at a time? I have, more than once. Not fun, always.

If you can read this, you're likely a privileged citizen of the world. That suggests it brings responsibilities with it -- doubly so when you're a famous privileged citizen. Why then, do you think, is their a certain annoyance with artists like Sinead O'Conner or Bono?

Hugh MacleodScene: Beavis and Butthead watching the "Live Aid" video on MTV:

"Hey Butthead, who are those guys on the TV?". "Dunno, Beavis... some rich people asking us for money."

I have a hard time believing the Internet, social or not, is going to change big corporate from dangerous nuisance to benign to mankind. How do you see "social", trust and openness work on corporate?

Hugh MacleodI'm not sure if corporations are inherently big, dangerous nuisances. They create a huge amount of value for both society and their shareholders- the good ones, anyway.

And besides, they're the ones willing to go down to Nigeria, get the crude oil out of the ground, ship it to Rotterdam get it refined, and get it to the petrol station in time for you to fill up, while still making a profit. I don't see any of their main detractors willing to take their place, but they do seem to be fond of the petrol.

Is the essence of "social" and money that it's about mindshare?

Yes. All money is social.

It's not about the tool, you say, so naturally I ask about them. What are 5 of your software tools you rather not do without?

Hugh MacleodGooglemail. Google Docs. Photoshop. Mozilla.  Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, which allows me to draw on my Tablet PC.


Hugh MacleodOh, yes.

About the Author: Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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