One thing that didn’t dawn upon me until recently, was this: If I were to choose from being a producer or a financer, what would I choose?
The owner class
When you have made a product, you want it to stay. You wish to see it go big and grand. When you own the product, you have seen its birth. But more than that, you have nurtured it, and its dream, even when you weren’t working on it. Creation is a very passionate and emotional process. Just like an artist would savour his painting, sculpture or design, any product is developed through the same mesh of dedication, dreaming and the intense desire to ‘build’. So whenever I meet people who have generated an idea and given it a form, I see their love for the product in their demonstration. It will be technically precise and sharply placed in a bigger picture, as that piece of a puzzle that will now complete the maze. The sense of conversation prompts you to wonder if you agree that there was indeed a missing piece. If there was indeed, then you may wonder if this product really is the answer. That product guy might have similar thoughts and will tend to question himself a million times about how that piece really fits into this invisible puzzle. Eventually, if the prototype manages to attract enough attention and find its practical utility to pay back the expenses that went into the process of shaping it, it might be onto something. From that point, begins the journey of the creator, into the unknown adventurous path to immortalise his identity.
The observer’s lens
People work hard to make ends meet. With ever increasing scope to own things and establish new levels of comfort (and eventual discomfort), money becomes the key to a lot of problems (and solutions). So when this ‘creator’ wants to grow big, he meets one of those who have an appreciation for this process of creation and hopefully sees the potential of commercializing it. By the way, I think there is nothing wrong with the idea of commercialization. It in fact, is an obligation upon the artists to create value for their work. So unless the world finds an alternate means of exchanging goods, attracting money will remain an essential ingredient to the potpourri of living. So this dear person, the investor ensures that the business concept gets funded. He also looks into the process which brings the product in the most easily consumable and widely desirable form. The love of the product remains seated only as deeply, that it can wither some clouds of uncertainty. At the end of the day, this person is here to make money. So, for all the parallel lines he may wish to draw in the organizational structure, the process of commercialization alone reflects his merit. The moment this piece of art loses starts losing its monetary value, the investor knows he made a wrong decision. This one wrong decision may cost him his money, reputation and credibility. He believed in the claim of the creator-that-and insufficient scrutiny are his career’s nightmare.
The believer class
The creator will remain the originator and face behind the product. If the product fails, its short lived fame may still leave him fulfilled with an eternal sentiment of having made a contribution. But this investor, who didn’t own the product, risked his money, placed bets on the traction, is left empty handed. So even before he enters the game, he knows his risk. So very simply, he can only be that much involved with the product. The process of discovery for the investor is to establish validity in one of the dreams and take that idea to be a monetized success. It involves the complexity of creating a business and striking a balance between the product and its demand. This person can be as dedicated as the founder himself. But at the end of the day, he needs to remain objective. Also, living all by himself, untouched by the sacred bond of ownership, he knows the value of his gamble. But gambling is another art all together. A bet where there is no product to establish the validity of wit. The only testimony to a successful execution is money.
Which side would I rather be? I would choose being an inventor, the creator. Betting has never been my stronghold. Neither has been objective detachment.