Business vs Creative

I just finished reading Mastery by Robert Greene.  In the book one of the “Masters” is Santiago Calatrava. Calatrava is a Spanish architect widely known for his sculptural bridges and buildings, and is currently working on the transportation hub at the new World Trade Center.


What stood out to me about Calatrava is that he creates literally hundreds of revisions of his work before he finding just the right design. He wouldn’t be afraid to throw away several months of work, to start over again. What! Several Months! I think I would go into a depression loosing several months of work!

Greene goes on to say…  As the years went by and Calatrava was able to look back on all of his projects, he had a strange sensation.  The process he had evolved felt as if it had come from outside of him.  It was not something he had created through his own imagination, but rather it was nature itself that had led him to this perfectly organic and beautifully effective process. 

Wow, this sounds great!  This is want I want for Purlem as well.

But is it really that easy? I immediately correlate this with the Just Launch approach. For example, in Getting Real, 37 signals says… Don’t wait for your product to reach perfection. It’s not gonna happen. Take responsibility for what you’re releasing. Put it out and call it a release. Otherwise, you’re just making excuses.

The beautiful thing about web-based software is that we have the opportunity to just put it out there and perfect as you go.  As opposed to Calatrava who needs to perfect the design before beginning construction. Still, there’s an interesting balance here that seems hard to get right.

For example… I’m currently re-creating the “Features” section of Purlem’s website. The business side of me says – “Just make it good enough and launch it.  There are more important things you can do.”  The creative side of me says – “Take a step back and give some time to the creative process.”

Greene goes on to say that it is essential to build into the creative process an initial period that is open-ended.

Okay… this is something I can work with.  At least I can set some limits around the creative process.  I don’t know if I could give up months like Calatrava, but I could certainly give days.

I think this is phenomenal advice that we can all learn from.  Weather we are in the creative field or not.  We can all carve out a period of time at the start of the project to allow our minds to wonder without limits. Who knows what the results will be. I think I’m going to give this a try.