When I attended TEDxCincy in October 2010, there was one session where I was furiously taking notes: the session by Grant McCracken, author of Chief Culture Officer. Click here to find out more about the fascinating McCracken.
[For more on my so-so experience of TEDxCincy, read “7 Lessons for Delivering a Powerful Message.”]
So, here’s the best of what I captured [mostly verbatim] from McCracken’s talk. I’ve been trying harder to incorporate these practices into my life.
Study slow culture, not just fast.
We must be well-informed and keep up, of course. But we must have deeper understanding of American culture. Don’t just talk about the latest thing, that’s about 20% of what we need to be talking about—the froth, the churn. We understand it better when we understand the history and depth. Innovation coming from everywhere, we feel like we’re hydroplaning, as if patterns are no longer possible.
Track, not just spot.
We must track things over time, we must look with care at assumptions when we’re wrong and right. Study maps of culture; study displays that allow us to talk about and pick up trends over the long term. We want to have a sense of all the stuff that’s moving, so that when we read about a specific piece of information at a specific moment in time, we can say: Yeah, we’re tracking that—or that’s just noise.
Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has nearly 25 years of experience in the media & publishing industry. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.
In addition to being a professor with The Great Courses (How to Publish Your Book), she is the author of The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), which received a starred review from Library Journal.
Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as Digital Book World and Frankfurt Book Fair, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.