I started to write the headline, "but first we need to tea." Whoops, that's a typo. Or, perhaps, a Freudian slip. So I've left this so-called typo in. I'd just concluded reading TwitterPOET's "Saving Web 2.0 From Itself (A Proposal)." And for some reason I was riveted to his last line, "But first, we need to eat."
I know Paul didn't intend it that way, but it evoked that starving artist syndrome, even though now we are speaking of starving would-be social media innovators (certainly artists when they are following the muse foremost, and not the purse.)
And it reminds me of the sticker plastered to the pane of the newspaper stand at 24th and Mission that reads: "Give Me An Art Grant." What? Are you waiting or something? If it's yours to do, come hell or high water, you'd have to do it anyhow.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Go read Paul's proposal in its entirety (and I totally concur that Web 2.0 train is running amok with tons of Gaggoo companies - those me-too's vying to be bought out by patron Google's and Yahoo's of the age) or this snippet (substitute "everyone in the ___ world" with arts, media, food, etc. too):
"Now imagine if everyone in the tech world could afford to pursue their own personal projects, taking risks and innovating on the fly, without ever having to worry about paying the bills, feeding the kids, or keeping the lights on. With the simple introduction of a universal guaranteed baseline income (paid for by restructuring our tax code), we could all spend a little less time working at shitty jobs, and a little more time experimenting and sharing our discoveries with the world without worrying about monetizing it.
Because when you get right down to it, that’s what web 2.0 is about: creating applications which change the world. It’s not about VCs, angel rounds, and getting Techcrunched. It’s about using technology to empower people to contribute to the social good.
At this particular moment, I'm supporting two artists, including myself. Our expenses are less than $1000 a month in San Jose, CA - yes, you read correctly San Jose, California, USA, and not San Jose, Costa Rica. San Jose, "the capital of Silicon Valley" happens to be a city that the U.S. Census Bureau claims brings home the highest median income in the USA, so I'm atypical of neighbors in my zipcode.
I'd been accustomed to close to a six-figure income, and facials at the spa and the brand-spanking newest hardcover books and gee, isn't it the season for eggnog lattes. These days I've made a resolute commitment to buy if and only if it's a "connective transaction" - and not to mention, I'm also on a "fast" of sorts to clear ALL toxins from my life (subjects for another post).
By being thoroughly mindful and consciously alert of whom I'm patronizing and why I'm transacting, I've found it easier than I ever imagined to live prosperously on what most Americans might consider to be poverty level.
Funny, I don't feel improverished. As long as I have a pen, and a scrap of paper - and am using the two to string words together, I am a writer. And even if those two things were wretched away, simply I am would be glorious too.
What many would deem a paltry sum has not stopped me from pursuing my own personal projects on, oh, about roughly 100% of my time. In fact, I'd say it's made it ever easier.
Even if you have a shitty job you can create after hours (and sometimes during hours). Even if you have a shitty income you can create - ever hear of found objects? You'll find that necessity really is the mother of invention. Very often, with money galore at your disposable what is the obvious thing is to throw money at your problems, thus you miss the quirky, the original, and the show-stopping solutions.
Once I was on the founding team of a start-up that had $1.4M in seed capital from very prestigious venture capitalists -- and we whined that it was just not enough. That was the hubris of 1999. Now I know we were just spoiled.
"The following is something to ponder...
If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep... you are richer than 75% of this world.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, spare change in a dish someplace... you are among the top 8% of the wealthy.
Perhaps it's not an accident that I wrote "but first we need to tea" originally. There was a time in April 2005 that I was experimenting in freedom. (Oh, that's really my continuous exploration.) I didn't want to dip into my 401K then, and my post-tsunami irrefutable wake-up call said "no" to any corporate gig (my integrity to my heart and soul couldn't be compromised readily any longer), thus I found myself surviving on quite a lot of toast and tea. I have to tell you, unexpectedly, it became one of the most sublime and sensual episodes of my life. For instance, I'd spent the better part of an hour discovering the nuances and textures and tastes of a piece of toast. And I wrote exquisite pieces in my journal while being serenaded by morning doves.
No, I'm not trying to sell you on the penniless lifestyle, my point is if you YOURSELF are not absolutely committed, another's patronage so that you can eat is not necessarily going to light a fire under you. However, maybe it's time to confront head-on the real issue: root fear of starvation -- among other basic "I won't survive" fears. Because this fear will come back to haunt you in some domain at some point at some time if it's not faced once and for all.
Once you've committed and have a willingness to meet your basic fears of survival (which really are fears of separation), there's no problem finding others that will want to chip in. Myself, I've found I'm only interested in helping those who already invest in sharing their gifts as best they can. I enjoy giving them a leg up. I enjoy witnessing expansion. BUT - if you're waiting for me to give you the push out of the nest to begin your project - and you only need begin, begin anywhere, no matter how humble - then maybe It isn't calling you enough for anyone else to be thoroughly enthralled and engaged in watering your seedling project either.
I know enough VCs to know this is pretty much exactly how they think too. I know a filmmaker that shared this secret with me. She told me this was the Universe's matching grant program: If you take a step, the Universe takes a 100 on your behalf.
These words from Wayne Dyer that I came across recently in my sorting and re-sorting process (part of the move) spoke to the depths of me, and to this topic:
"It's my effort and my goal to live to God realization as I possibly can - oneness. To have conflict, you need two-ness. You need two people, two ideas, two things that go up against each other. I don't go up against anyone or anything. I feel very connected to the Source from which I emanated - a source of perfect abundance. I just never got separated from it, so I've always known that I am that, and it is me. This is something that's with me wherever I go because I never doubt it. Thinking in terms of conflict or being conflicted about the abundance that has come into my life is just not a concern of mine.
I don't believe that I am famous, because fame isn't located in me. Fame is located in other people. Fame is a component of the ego. The ego says, "I am what I have; I am what I do; I am what others think of me." I try to live in a spiritual consciousness, which says that who I am is a divine creation of Source that lives as a divine creation of Source. When you stay in that awareness, then you create what I call the power of intention. You create the ability to be just like God. [I'd add: And create just like God.] We came from love. We came from kindness. We came from perfect abundance. If you see yourself that way, then you'll attract that into your life. If you see yourself needing to have other people love you and care for you or buy your books or whatever, then you'll attract lacks, shortages, and needs into your life, and I don't have any lacks or shortages or needs. If people only knew who or what is with them, in them, beside them all the time, they would never worry about anything." - Wayne Dyer, "Spiritual & Health", December 2005