In 2007, Apple launched the iPhone.
In America, you could only use the iPhone on AT&T’s network.
But a teenager called George Hotz didn’t want to use AT&T.
He wanted to use T-Mobile.
So he opened his iPhone, located the processor, scrambled the code, and reprogrammed it to work with any network.
Then he posted a video about it on YouTube, and got 2 million hits.
Because this was the world’s first hacked iPhone.
When he found out about it, Steve Jobs wasn’t pleased.
He said “This is a constant cat and mouse game we play. People keep trying to break in and it’s our job to stop them.”
But Steve Wozniak, co founder of Apple, didn’t see it like that.
He said “I understand the mindset of a person who wants to do that, and I don’t think of people like that as criminals. In fact, I think that misbehaviour is very strongly correlated with and responsible for creative thought.”
That last line is so good, I’ll repeat it.
“Misbehaviour is very strongly correlated with and responsible for creative thought.”
In other words, people who are scared stiff of getting into trouble are going to have a hard time being creative.
Creativity is nearly always a reaction against something.
A desire to change things.
That’s why it causes outrage.
That’s why it goes against the rules.
In 1907, Picasso exhibited his painting ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”.
A painting of prostitutes in a brothel.
It combined, for the first time, primitive tribal art with cubism.
When he saw it, the influential art dealer Ambroise Vollard said “This is the work of a mad man.”
The painter Braque said “Picasso spits turpentine in our faces.”
But within a year it was considered a game changing work.
Within a few years, a masterpiece.
Today, it is universally recognised as the painting that marks the birth of modern art.
Ten years later, Marcel Duchamp sent a sculpture for exhibition in New York.
It was simply a urinal with a crude signature.
The committee were horrified, they refused to even have it in the exhibition.
Not only that, but the sculpture was taken outside and destroyed.
Subsequently, that sculpture is seen as the birth of conceptual art.
Real creativity is a reaction against the status quo.
A desire to change things.
If there was no desire to change things, why would you do it?
Especially in our business.
Our business is all about changing things.
And we can’t do that unless we get attention.
We have to do that by dominating our environment.
And we won’t do that by fitting in, by being quiet and polite.
That’s why it’s our job to upset people.
To dominate the environment so that we capture the attention everyone’s competing for.
What’s nice for Duchamp or Picasso is essential for us.
People don’t carefully inspect the ads the way they look at the exhibits in an art gallery.
If we don’t want to rock the boat, we’re invisible.
If we’re invisible, why are we bothering?