Art in the frame
I like this picture a lot and the tone of it reminds of something my father might have painted once upon a time, a long, long time ago. It is a long exposure shot and was taken in Venice near midnight back in 2015 while on Honeymoon. For me, there are several stories within it but that doesn't mean there is for everyone.
In a client session today we were speaking of resistance to change and I mentioned framing and narrative, which reminded me of an experience that happened in the first year I was here working.
The management team of a company I worked for was explaining to a group of language teachers why they were unable to offer any kind of pay raise to them because the company had under-performed. They had a scary looking excel chart projected with the target missed by 20% based on the year earlier, and cited this as the reason. The teachers were disappointed as they had felt they had worked very hard but, they understood. I put my hand up.
The chart had earnings for three years and while it was true the company missed their target by 20%, the year prior had been the largest year by a long way in their 40 year history. They were up almost a 100% on the two year mark and I mentioned this and noted that their earning expectations were in a straight line but didn't factor in the anomaly of the absolutely massive year prior. I was asked to be quiet for now, they would speak to me later.
Later, they told me what a great job I have been doing and said, "This is why you are getting a pay rise". I answered how wonderful it is that we are all getting a pay rise. We all did.
It is interesting to me as what is actually happening is it is a narrative trick, they attempted to frame circumstances in a certain light to make it appear to those they assumed didn't have financial understanding of any sort would fall for. They were right, the professional teachers didn't even bother trying to look at the numbers as the numbers didn't build any kind of picture in their head, all they saw was the -10% in bold, red letters.
The narrative is very important for people to understand but quite often, the analogy that works for one person might not work for another. This means that while the same information can be presented, two people can have quite different understandings and levels of concerns to something like change implementation.
Within a company, often the problem is that while a management team frames a change in a way that could even demonstrate the benefits to their workers, the employees don't necessarily have the background information or the ability to build their own narrative based on what has been delivered. There is a disconnect in communication and the default option when something is not clear is, resistance.
I think a lot of people have this issue on Steem as many people stay narrow without having a good grasp on the ecosystem and then, build their narratives from that point. Without a decent amount of history, things can look quite scary from first appearance which will throw up immediate defensive barriers. However, those who have a fair understanding or at least, believe they do, are able to have a lot lower resistance to the changed environment or whatever is presented them.
Perhaps this is part of the reason why so many people want better communication from Steemit Inc but at the same time, they are never going to be able to present it well enough for everyone to understand it as everyone wants it delivered in a form that they are comfortable in accepting. Within their frame. This is an impossibility across such a diverse group with such variance in background and skillset.
When it comes to the things that activate us however, I see it as personal responsibility to build the narrative that helps us behave in ways that get us to where we want to be. We need to have the knowledge and imagination to tell our own story of events and process. While some people are activated in one story, others might hold a different range but, all can be motivated.
Some of this lays in the various incentives that people require but when targeting a diverse group, what is required is a lot of blank space where it is possible for each person that chooses to do the work to paint their picture. On Steem, everyone has an opinion about what this place is or what it means to them but, many expect others to hold the same imagery and assume that unless they do, the project will fail.
As I see it, what will make the project fail is if everyone is crushed into the same pathway by culture and told not to explore. This is about decentralization and we want developers to try a whole host of different things and play with various applications, contributors to create a high range of content and consumers to consume broadly. We want investors to have more than one way to invest into the blockchain also.
While many of the pathways will lead to dead ends and failures of varying degrees, the freedom to create is something that will eventually (hopefully) mean that a few, several or many paths will become successful to a spectrum of degrees. a few massive successes, many large successes and of course a great number of small successes and slowly, Steem becomes a different animal entirely.
What is beautiful about Steem is that while no one is guaranteed success, anyone can try to be successful and can even be supported along the journey if they are able to convince some others that their way leads to where they want to be. The convincing part requires the building of a narrative that supports where those particular people want to be in the future. If a project can't convince anyone to support the idea of it, it is going to have some hurdles to overcome.
Everyone on Steem is able to start painting their picture here but, like any art form, not everyone is going to like it and, there could even be heavy criticism. There is definitely no guarantee of reward of any kind or success but, that wouldn't stop an artist from painting.
My father was banned from painting by his father because, it wasn't a career, it was too insecure, it didn't provide a steady income. My father did it for years in secret anyway and eventually did make a career and life out of it. I wonder if he was born at a different point of time, what would he have tried to create on Steem?
You are here now, how about you, what does your painting look like in your head and, can you get it out onto the canvas? There are people here doing it everyday in thousands of different ways across hundreds of different points on the one blockchain. There is art here, right down to the code. But, that is my story.
[ an original ]