Mayon is an engineer by day and an artist by night. Here are the six things I took away from the conversation we had.
1) Double Takes
Mayon explained his creative process involves going after things that cause people to do a double take. As a marketer, I work towards the same goal.
I’ve worked on projects where falling in the middle of the road was the goal. To not ruffle feathers. To not push the boundaries. To not be bad or good, but somewhere in between.
Somewhere in between is a place that gives us the illusion of control because most things that are worth doing a double take puts the creator(s) in a place of uncertainty.
Are they going to hate it or love it is the question we should be asking, not “did we get it done”?
Getting it done just to move on to your next task on your to-do list isn’t worth doing a double take. Getting it done and creating something that’s worth another person taking the time to look at it more than once is art and that’s the only work worth putting effort towards.
2) Building On
“Every artist, every engineer builds on the previous generation.” -Mayon Maxey.
I don’t like greatest of all time (G.O.A.T) comparisons. An argument could be made that as an individual performer, LeBron James is a better basketball player than Michael Jordan, but at face value, this argument leaves out the generational impact that Jordan created by inspiring others to push the boundaries of their own game.
We have no idea what LeBron’s game would be like if Jordan never existed and we’ll never know if Jordan would have increased his performance if he played in the same league as LeBron.
This is an example of how evolution takes place in the work that we do.
There have been paths laid out in front of you in almost every field of interest. Seek out these paths and embrace them, as they are gifts from previous generations that allow you to create your path towards meaningful work that can be built off of.
3) Inspiration vs. Stealing
Mayon said that Steve Jobs didn’t have an original idea in his life. His projects were the combination of products that already existed. What was special was the way he combined multiple products into something thirdly unique.
In the 1980’s and 1990’s, the“stealing” of ideas in Silicon Valley was widespread, but is it stealing or is it inspiration?
Is stealing an idea a bad thing? Target now can ship stuff to your house in two days. Did they steal that from Amazon? Of course. Is that a bad thing? Not according to my wife.
I like to use the word inspiration rather than stealing. Why is this a critical distinction? Because sometimes we limit ourselves to what we can or can’t do because we don’t want to encroach or copy what someone else is doing.
It can feel “dirty” stealing an idea that someone else uses on their Snapchat story or how they dress. Sometimes it makes us feel lazy and unoriginal, but that’s the wrong way of looking at it because when you view it as inspiration instead, you leave the door of opportunity wide open.
When you “steal” something, it’s limiting because you’re just trying to get away with as much as you can. But when you’re inspired by something, that’s just the start. That’s you saying, “hey I like that. I’ll try it and see where else it can go”.
Testing to see where things can go is what pushes all of us further, and you might even be able to push something to the point where the other person you “stole” from gets something new out of it as well.
4) The Biggest Disruption in Transportation
More and more of us have heard about Tesla over the past several years, and green tech companies alike are growing, as demand for reliable energy increases to lower the carbon emissions we are pumping out into our atmosphere.
The science is pointing towards a world that needs humans to alter how we use energy, and as everyone in the auto industry is talking about disruptive forces in the market such as ridesharing and autonomous driving, the less glamorous aspects of transportation don’t make the headlines.
The fuel source that becomes the alternative to gasoline will be the biggest disruptor of them all and this critical for many us to pay attention to whether we’re investors, engineers, or just concerned about our climate. A cleaner energy source that drastically cuts down the impact we’re having on the planet is revolutionary, and I hope that it comes sooner rather than later.
5) Information Fire Hose
During this episode, we talked about how the perspective of our world is shifting. If you turned on any news channel, you would most likely be left to believe that our species is going to hell in a handbasket; however, statistics are showing that violent crimes are decreasing.
Why is this the case but it seems to be the complete opposite? Because we’re flooded with news and information in quantities never seen before. Think about all of the ideas, opinions, believes etc. that you’re exposed to on a daily basis via Facebook, Twitter, Google and the like. Now compare that amount of exposure to that of previous generations. We don’t have to take it all the way back to hunter and gathers; we can merely look at our parents and ask ourselves “When they were my age, how much information were they exposed to compared to me?”
The answer is telling, and often nostalgia of the past is simply a reflection of the mass level of confusion we have today caused by being inundated with information that isn’t applicable to our situations at the local level.
More danger? Absolutely not. More media? Absolutely yes.
6) Dynamic Rules
“Rules have to be dynamic, they can’t be static” - Mayon Maxey.
The creators of the Constitution lived in a world without AK-47’s and AR-15’s and couldn’t foresee such dramatic shifts in weaponry when they wrote the second amendment.
Things change, so doesn’t it only make sense for rules to change as well?
This isn’t about gun control. This is about looking at the way we do things and realizing that just because “we’ve always done it this way” doesn’t mean we have to continue doing things this way.
Life is change. The universe is in constant flux. And although I believe change should be intentional and thoughtful, we often don’t even realize that we can change in the first place.
Do we have to have educational programs that use GPA as the sole criteria for admission? Do we have to have IRS offices only open from 8 - 4 instead of 4 - midnight? Do we have to use currencies that are backed by nothing other than a promise from a government that they, in fact, hold value?
More importantly, can we have the awareness to hold an open and honest discussion about the way things are and if they’d be better off with changes applied?
We sometimes mistake the rules of society as the if they were the rules of physics. The former needs constant updating while the later can never be altered. It’s important to understand what can be altered and what cannot because once one is confused for the other, chaos abounds.