the Pearl Jam way

February 21, 2012

Disclaimer: a lot of strong f words. I need to borrow a rock band energy;)

can a rock band inspire professionals, consultants, designers, and even corporate employees?

yes, it can.

Pearl Jam did to me and to many other people that I have been known for more than 15 years. If Steve Job was inspired by Bob Dylan, many of Pearl Jam fans influenced by this Seattle band not only musically but also professionally and philosophically (almost about to say religiously…)

I am quite expecting that the band itself or many fans might be saying “WTF?” with this kind of article, but I’ll write it anyway. Simply because it’s true to me.

Pic from Pearl Jam flickr

So, what’s the Pearl Jam way that inspires me?

1. Love your fans, love your customers, love your tribe

If you form a band, there will be some people who really like you, and many others hate you. That’s the fact. For your fans, love them a lot. For the ones who hate you, fuck them. I mean, fuck them. That’s what I learn from the band who has produced hundreds of live concert bootlegs. Don’t ever spend a minute trying convince the haters to love you…even Jesus, Muhammad, Gandhi, Buddha has group of haters. That’s just natural.

It’s no secret that PJ loves their fans. In the past we have read a lot about this band efforts to “fight” Ticketmaster to make the ticket price more affordable to teenager fans.  Having heard/seen a lot of live shows on CD, DVD (only one live concert for me, unfortunately), I could feel the love of the band. It can be felt also when I received the christmas vinyl (don’t have any player to play it) but I just love the packaging and artwork.

If you are not artist, your customers are the one who love you. If you work in hospital, your patients are the ones who care about you. That’s why they COME to you. So, love them back…

love the ones who love you..the people who likes you, who care about you.

2. Love what you do

Pearl Jam as I know is a bunch of people who love to listen to music, love to see other good bands playing live and love to play some rock songs.If you love what you do, then for people who like you, your work becomes a gift.

If you love you do, your works seems effortless…or you don’t feel like it’s work at all..

If it’s true for artist, then it’s true for engineer, accountant, lawyer, janitor…Work can be fun and can make other people happy.

3. Perform as it is the last performance

There’s Pearl Jam’s collection when they were playing in State College around 2003; they play until past midnite just like there’s no tomorrow…There’s the Madison Square Garden DVD showing the arena bumps like an earthquake…Live at the Gorge where the collection is almost 3 CDs of live songs, the 100 songs when they play in Boston for couple’s just like in every performance they try to rock like that would be the last show!

For us who is not an artist, we have our own stage. Our mundane work is our show.  Play it like a fucking rock n roll band!

4. Take control your own destiny

When you are climbing the ladder of “success”, there will be a situation that your success will take you away from your original idea of why you are doing that job. And suddenly you don’t feel like it anymore.

A band like PJ, in their heydey will be asked to do interviews (which any rookie would be happy to do it), a lot of interviews (when they will need to answer a lo of repetitive questions, like hobby, or childhood memory), play in a movie, be a celebrity endorser for household products, fake performance on TV and  lipsync, be a magazine covers, and many things which have nothing to do with the one that they love: musics.

But their label woud ask them to do it, their fans want them,  and of course TV, Magazine, Newspaper, Tabloid wants them to do it. There will be money involved. Tons of money. Every successful band and artist do it! Even now..!

One of the thing I learn from one of the few band who’s still standing strong from the 90s era, they learn to say NO. Its simply because they want to focus on what they like, playing couple songs they like for their fans.

Saying NO is not easy, especially if saying YES means we will get a lot of money to do things that you don’t like. There’s always trade off, but I will choose the path that will keep us sane and sober. No suicide, no drugs drama, no bullshit.

That’s my thinking on Pearl Jam. What do you think?

“Question everything generally thought to be obvious”

February 7, 2012

words from one of the most respected designers,  Dieter Rams.

In fact, it could be applied in many aspect in life beyond design.

pic taken at SF MOMA Feb’12

jon dan joni: para pencipta masterpiece

February 2, 2012

gambaran ideal saya tentang bekerja saat ini sangat terinspirasi dari dua orang berikut: Jon Favreau, Chief Speechwriter dari Presiden Obama dan Jony Ive, Senior VP Industrial Design untuk Apple.

Keduanya masih muda, menghasilkan karya luar biasa serta memiliki karakter dan style yang dalam satu kata bisa disebut: Remarkable

Jon Favreau

Presiden Obama menyebutnya sebagai pembaca pikirannya. Jon atau dipanggil juga sebagai Favs, tahun ini baru akan berumur 31 tahun, adalah orang kepercayaan Obama dalam menulis pidato dan menjabat sebagai Chief Speechwriter termuda dalam sejarah Gedung Putih. Ini sangat menarik karena Sang Presiden sendiri dikenal sebagai penulis dan orator yang luar biasa.

Jon mulai bekerja sebagai penulis pidato untuk Obama sejak presiden pertama African American ini menjadi senator di tahun 2004. Alkisah, Jon yang saat itu baru lulus kuliah di usia 23 tahun masih bekerja untuk John Kerry (kandidat presiden saat itu) menginterupsi Barack Obama yang sedang berlatih untuk memberikan sambutan untuk Kongres Partai Demokrat saat itu. Walaupun tidak terlalu terkesan dengan resume-nya yang belum ada apa-apanya kecuali magang di SenatorKerry, Barack Obama waktu itu mengundang Jon untuk interview dan akhirnya berpendapat mungkin anak muda ini bisa bekerjasama dengan dia dalam masa kampanye.


source: The Washington Post


Sejak itu, Favs ditarik menjadi speechwriter, yang berarti seluruh pidato kampanye Obama sampai pidato pelantikan dan sampai sekarang adalah hasil sentuhan anak muda ini. Tentunya butuh talenta dan kerja keras luar biasa untuk bisa dipercaya seorang presiden negara adikuasa dan untuk tetap memberikan “value” dalam setiap karya


Jony Ive

Menurut istri Steve Jobs, pendiri Apple ini tidak mempunyai loyalty kepada pegawai maupun teman-temannya…kecuali pada Jony Ive.

Desainer yang tahun ini baru memasuki usia 45 tahun ini adalah orang yang menjadi kepala desainer untuk iMac, PowerBook, MacBook Air, iPod, iPhone, dan iPad. Steve Jobs sangat mengagumi pria Inggris ini karena menurut Steve, anak buahnya ini adalah seorang seniman sejati.



Sebelum bergabung dengan Apple, pria yang sekarang sudah mendapat gelar kehormatan bangsawan dari Ratu Inggris ini adalah co-founder dari Tangerine, sebuah perusahaan konsultan desain. Jony mendapat kehormatan yang sangat tinggi dari Steve Jobs dan menjadikan Desain sebagai inti dari operasi Apple, dimana bagian lain seperti Engineering dan Manufacturing harus bisa mengikuti desain. Ini berbeda dengan perusahaan lain dimana desain pada akhirnya berkompromi karena produk susah dibuat sesuai desain atau tidak ada material yang cocok.

Apa yang bisa dipelajari?

Bekerja di jaman ini berarti mencari kekuatan kita dan fokus dalam mengasah kekuatan itu sehingga bisa menghasilkan karya yang luar biasa.

Menjadi Remarkable.