The difference between a wildfire and coals

Does innovation really count for much these days?  After watching what seems to be countless hours of mindless reality “entertainment” on TV these days, one might start to believe there’s just nothing new to be seen. It’s all about the flash, smoke, mirrors and creating good gossip.  This morning I happened to run across a video that is likely to go viral purely due to it’s innovation. (nearly 50,000 views since posted on May 18th, 2012)

This video, done by a group named j.viewz entitled rivers and homes, is a stop-motion video.  The original video was shot just as an ordinary video, and then the post-production team cut that video up into 2000 individual pictures that were then held up by fans during a recent tour of Israel.  Then those photos were put back together to create a stop-motion video.  The song itself isn’t particularly mind-blowing (although its actually very peaceful which in my house is a definite plus these days), but the video is fabulous.  Funny, I seem to recall a few other bands using innovation in video a few years back….and they became the greatest thing (in MY world anyway) since sliced bread.  Huh.  Take a gander for yourself!

So many times I catch well-intentioned fans discussing Duran Duran and wondering what they can do to re-create the 80’s. Granted, those aren’t the words that the fans use, but the intention is all but spoken. They want to spread the word, they want the band to succeed, to sell as well as they did before, to live a life that was a remarkable accomplishment the first time, much less have that same lightning strike again. Words such as “viral videos”, social networking, promotional fan-based organizations are thrown around in such circles, assuming that any one of those things will once again ignite the band into the stratosphere.

Truth be told, none of us have the magical answer(s).  All we know is that for the most part, we saw it all unfold once and we’d love to see the band reach that point again.  It’s my belief that those times weren’t all that they were cracked up to be, but I do understand the sentiment. (The idea of having to fight tooth and nail just to get a ticket to a show, much less attempt to try for the floor sections under the same circumstances of the 80’s doesn’t give me much of a thrill.)  It took a certain sequence of events to unfold in just the right way to account for the happenings of the 1980’s, and while I still have all of the faith in the world in the band, I also believe that it happened at the time it did and the way it did for a reason.  If we had the answers though, we’d be making the big bucks, wouldn’t we??

I suppose the moral here is that we really can’t ever go back.  I can’t count how many times the band has mentioned that they try not look back very often.  I’ve heard and seen the murmurs amongst some that this last album was a sad attempt to capitalize on Rio for a second time. I can’t and won’t agree.  Sure, the intention may have been to go back and use some of the techniques used to create that album – but make no mistake – All You Need is Now is all about the NOW.  For me, this album was a great lesson given at the precise time.  Call me crazy, but I needed this album, and I suspect that a good many of you out there did as well.  Is that not success?  Innovation??

As many of you know I live in Southern California, a place that is well-known for it’s wildfires. (and earthquakes, but that’s another blog for another day) The smallest of sparks can ignite a raging wildfire in the dry brush that resides on nearly every hill or mountain in our area.  The fires tend to move incredibly fast, and swallow everything in their paths.  Wildfires tend to burn everything around them until there is nothing left, and then simply die on their own.  Coals are entirely different.  Coals stay white hot, long after the flames themselves have died down.  They lay in wait until the time and circumstances are right, and once those needs have been met – flames can ignite nearly instantly.  While the wildfire gets instant notoriety and attention (and nearly non-stop news coverage….), coals can go mostly ignored, and then surprise everyone when the time is right.

Innovation is a little like kindling.  It might not necessarily be required in order to start a good fire, but it is much more difficult to create more than smoke on a thick, dead and dry tree trunk than it is to spark a flame with kindling and then use that kindling to light the tree trunk aflame. Then eventually that tree trunk becomes the coal to keep that fire burning forever.

-R

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