I think one of the reasons I love living in Boulder is specifically because of the concentration of true thinkers (which are different that intelligent people). People that ruminate over ideas and thoughts, watch them grow, bounce them off others, absorb the mentee/mentor relationship and then act on the ideas.
Or maybe I just described the startup culture.
I think for most people approaching 30, there is a previous time or era that they wished they were apart of. For me its the Beat Generation of the 1950s, specifically the Beat Poets or Beatniks that were the real genesis of the mentality, growth and counter-culture of San Francisco. [Before the New Yorkers get in a tizzy, yes it has been said that the Beat Poets began at Columbia University, and Burroughs didnt end up in SF.]
I have spent time with Kerouac’s On The Road, and Burroughs Naked Lunch, but of them, my favorite is Allen Ginsberg with his stylistically shifting poems and intense thinking around subjects ranging from the poetical standards of love and relationships to the darker topics of war and the end of life.
If you dont know about the Beatniks effect on the San Francisco scene that birthed the counter culture of the 1960s that grew into the startup scene of the 1990s and 2000s, you spend some time reading or watch a flick (or two).
“I think it was when I ran into Kerouac and Burroughs — when I was 17 — that I realized I was talking through an empty skull, … I wasn’t thinking my own thoughts or saying my own thoughts.” — Allen Ginsberg
A couple of days ago I was having dinner with Jeffrey where we got to talking about ideas for his latest post, which centered on the concept of how titles in business have potentially served their purpose. That they are the antiquated visage of an early time, where large companies have job requisitions that have titles associated with them to define their level of responsibility, power and salary. That titles in many ways were examples of how the structure in large corporations mirrored that of the military.
It made me think that the Beatniks must have had the same discussions around corporate-military overlap.
It made me think that he and I would write drastically different blog posts about the importance of titles (even if we agreed in the futility of titles in a growing startup).
It made me think about what other people would write about the topic.
And I realized that the one thing we have that the Beatniks didnt: Blogs.
We have a global way to interact with large numbers of people in ways that the Beatniks only dreamed of. I can have a thought, shoot it out over twitter or write a post on my blog and get immediate, vast and intelligent discourse.
I have met really thought provoking people and have spent time with them all over the country.
I have had thoughts and concepts presented to me (the one that is currently sitting in my brain is the idea of a “disorganized mind” and its value in a startup. Thanks Brad!) that push me into uncomfortable self evaluations or exciting realizations.
I have seen us change the world with a word and a shared voice.
No longer do I have to wish I was alive in the 1950s and spent time with the Beat Poets.
Because now the free flow of ideas within our online transparent misunderstood culture is forcing all of us to collectively determine if we are doing good in the world, or just doing.
We are the Blog Poets; the Blogniks.
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’” — Jack Kerouac
Related articles by Zemanta
- Kerouac’s first novel to be published for first time (cbc.ca)
- Beatnik Novelist William S. Burroughs (americanfiction.suite101.com)
- Entrepreneurial Communities (feld.com)