Here’s a test of your analytical ability. And don’t worry…I’m just as much in this as you. We all are. Here’s the test: If you were walking through a subway tunnel, about to board your train, would you stop to listen to an violinist playing a beautiful song? Or would you just walk on by and jump aboard as the doors close?
Interesting story in the Washington Post Magazine this past week about a world class violinist playing a Stradivarius in an entry to a subway station in Washington D.C. Very interesting story. The sociological implications aside, this story got more response than any other in the author’s career (and was also the story that was mentioned the most to Seth Godin as well). And there are lots of interesting questions that should be asked about what it means when this can happen.
But I have to tell you, my first response wasn’t about our low appreciation for the Arts! It was that all of us have an intensity about the mission we are on (whether that mission is going to Target for batteries or saving the world) and it is just plain tough to get people’s attention. Even for an awesome opportunity like stopping for a moment to listen to Joshua Bell play his Stradivarius, hand crafted in 1713 and worth a reported 3.5 million dollars. And like the 1097 people who simply walked by on that January morning in Washington D.C. we all do the same. If it’s not on our agenda…we just walk by.
Interesting…don’t you think? It begs a lot of questions. For the marketer…it screams, "what do you have to do to get people’s attention?" For the leader…it whispers, even a little hauntingly, "what great opportunities have I missed in my preoccupation with my own agenda?" For the team member…it agonizes, "even if I have a world-class idea, no one will ever hear it!"
Just a little Friday musing on a story that is really quite a story. You can check out the the story’s follow-up right here.