June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson and E-Commerce

There's an unlikely combination, huh?

My position on best practices is sometimes misconstrued. I'll support best practices in many instances ... as I always say, if you're failing at something, and you want to become average, employ every best practice in the book. Business results will improve, and your pursuit of best practices will prove fruitful.

The real challenge, however, is the risk/payback involved in best practices vs. the risk/payback involved in creativity/innovation. Best practices are low-risk, and yield modest payback. Creativity and innovation are very risky, failing almost all of the time. But when creativity and innovation work, watch out!

MTV arrived on the scene in summer 1981. The videos represented an odd collection of artists. You might see Gerry Rafferty singing while playing a piano, or you might see A Flock of Seagulls. In fact, if you were a music executive, you'd be well served to follow the best practice of hiring an aspiring band from the UK, and then couple a synthesizer-infused melody with a low-budget video about a band member losing his girlfriend, only to get her back (in this spoof).

The formula worked. Many, many bands followed this best practice, and experienced success.

Michael Jackson employed creativity and innovation. This is a link to Thriller. And Beat it. And Billy Jean. You see elements of best practices forming the foundation of his videos. But on top of all that is raw creativity and innovation. Nobody ever suggested that Broadway-like production was the ticket for a music video.

I am not endorsing, and I am not criticizing Mr. Jackson's alleged lifestyle. However, I do want for you to understand the fundamental difference between passion for best practices, and passion for creativity and innovation. Passion for best practices yields the first video. Passion for creativity and innovation yields Billy Jean, Beat It, and Thriller. Modern e-commerce, in my opinion, lacks passion for creativity and innovation.

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