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  • Writer's pictureEric Williams

Business is art

According to the New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) after Jackson Pollock painted "One: Number 31, 1950", Time magazine quoted an Italian critic who said, "It is easy to detect the following things in all of his paintings: Chaos. Absolute lack of harmony. Complete lack of structural organization. Total absence of technique, however rudimentary. Once again, chaos.” Pollock replied with a telegram stating, “No chaos, damn it.”

MOMA commented that "Although he worked spontaneously and admitted chance effects into his work, Pollock asserted that he maintained control while making his drip paintings. A closer look at this work reveals some of the decisions made in the act of painting: the selection of colors; the use of contrasting matte and glossy paints; if the lines would be thick or thin, fast or slow; whether to wait for the paint to dry or to work wet-on-wet, so that different paints bleed and pool; and a host of others."

Entrepreneurs are artists just as much as painters. As such, they often face the same type of criticism: customers and outsiders assume that what the entrepreneur created was easy because it seems simple in retrospect. What many such critics don't understand is that getting the product, service, or process to the point where it seems "simple" actually required significant research, innovation, creativity, work, risk, and trial and error. Adding complexity is easy, creating elegant simplicity that leads to market acceptance is the real challenge.

The business owners I interact with often grapple with design issue such as: How to create more efficient and effective policies, processes, and procedures? What meaning does their logo convey? What's the emotional appeal of their marketing materials? What colors should be chosen for products and why? What packaging materials should they use? How is their building furnished and decorated? What is their sales process? How are orders processed? And what is the look, feel, and functionality of their website?

As a business owner myself, I'm constantly thinking about design: How can I make the process of buying and selling businesses simpler and more productive? What innovations could deliver more value? How can the business sale process be truncated? How can I help buyers see a business from another perspective?

Andy Warhol was spot on when he said "Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art."

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