Judging the judges

Just like the rest of the Australian population (if the latest ratings figures and Google analytics are anything to go by), we are just mildly obsessed with The Voice here at Stancombe.
Also, like the majority of the population, if Chinese whispers are anything to go by…Delta is really lagging in the popularity stakes over here.

So we ponder...what IS IT about her that is SO VERY ANNOYING?? Let’s pose an analogy for a moment that might ring true for anyone out there who has worked with a Creative Director over the years who supports their own ideas first, foremost and forever (rather than directing other people’s ideas and creative energies to shape them into better more robust ideas and individuals). The issue is that Delta can’t let go of Delta, and seems to only want to create individuals in her own shadow – rather than helping to craft the individual talents and personas of those artists themselves. Some people call this phenomenon a ‘one trick pony’ – and we think this is Delta’s downfall. Especially since this show is as much about the competition between the judges than it is about the competition between the artists. In fact, judging the judges is what makes The Voice stand apart from other reality singing shows.

Admit it, Seal getting Chris Sebastian and Yshrael Pascual to sing Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ was at first a strange choice indeed, (and it clearly made both vocalists squirm) – but it did allow them to be tested on another battlefront altogether, that of breaking through comfort barriers and of performance experience. It was a strategic decision to allow the cream to come to the top. Ditto when Keith Urban got Jimmy Cupples and Glenn Whitehall to step outside their comfort zone singing a Birds of Tokyo number…and how good was Laura Bunting vs Mali-Koa Hood on the 4 Non Blondes? Hello, Joel Madden. Hello!

And, herein lies the point.  Who’s the real winner?  Why, it’s the masterful mentors who choose the tracks and push them in new directions.  The best performance is intrinsically linked to the best mentor – the judges that step outside of their own comfort zone and usual genre and get their artists to do the same seem to get the best personal growth, the biggest surprises and the most love from us – but we haven’t seen this yet from Delta. Only a barrage of big-up, Diva style, Mariah-Carey-type tunes…so we ask…does Delta really have what it takes to be a true Creative Director, or is she just a great vocalist with really lovely long hair?


Doing more with less - the garage is a magical place

I like the idea that money and resources are not always the answer to solve problems. Actually, too much money and resources can stifle creativity and human ingenuity rather than stimulate it.

I think we all love those wonderful business success stories that started from kitchen tables and garages with nothing but lots of energy, hard work and a bit of luck.

This endearing video demonstrates the point quite nicely:


On the big business side of things, this concept of 'doing more with less' also seems to ring true.

I was staggered to learn that Nokia’s research and development budget of 5.9 billion euros ($7.7 billion), including 3 billion euros for devices and services, is the largest in the industry. The company spent almost six times as much as Apple on R&D last year. (source: http://www.bloomberg.com)

It's incredible that a company once so dominant in the mobile phone market, could be blind sided by a computer company with relatively no mobile phone experience. But you have to remember that Apple has a culture of doing more with less. In his rogue days, Steve Jobs built the Macintosh almost in secret without the full support and resources of Apple.

With Apple now leading the way and Android based smart phones set to overtake Nokia in the next few years, Nokia's new CEO Stephan Elop definitely has his work cut out for him.

Maybe Nokia can learn something from this man and his garage?

Some science behind creativity


Some clever people measured the brain waves of jazz musicians and found that inorder for them to play improv they had to deactivate the "dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), a brain area associated with planned actions and self-control. In other words, they were inhibiting their inhibitions, which allowed the musicians to create without worrying about what they were creating".

Check out the full article here