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The World’s First Creative Director

November 14, 2013 — 0

Finding the best creative talent is among the most difficult tasks any leader faces.   Most of us only get it right every once in a while.  There are lots of reasons why: structure, communication, timing, vibe, process.  I often hear colleagues and peers lament the challenge. Where does the best creative talent come from?  How do we find it? When I was asked to write a chapter for a new book called "Unscrolled," I resisted.  The assignment was to interpret -- or intentionally misiniterpret -- the Bible. I'm happy to misinterpret most anything; I usually do.  That's what my TED talk was about. But the Bible?  Yeesh.

When the editor of the book, Roger Bennett, assigned me my portion, Exodus 35:30-35, I read it skeptically.  It's the chapter in which God instructs Moses to hire a master craftsman named Bezalel (who was just 13 years old) to design and build the Tabernacle.  Big job, yo! The more I read about Bezalel, the clearer it became: Bezalel was the world's first creative director. The guy wasn't just tasked with designing and overseeing the construction of the Tabernacle.  He also oversaw the interior design, all materials, even the oils and ritual objects to be used in ceremony and worship. The brief was vague:  "To make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts." Biggest question is, why Bezalel? Historians have struggled with that for a long time, or maybe they haven't.  I was surprised to find so little critical discourse.  Especially when you consider it's the best example we have of an artist deputized by God directly.   For Christ's sake, Bezalel's name literally translates to "in the shadow of God." Today, deciding on who should lead your creative work can be a brutal, painstaking experience.  It shouldn't be, but it is.  You don't know until you dig in and get dirty whether you've chosen right.  And by then it's often too late.  So many ways for things not to work out. Maybe God knew that, going in.  Maybe that's why the Almighty ECD first asked Moses if he was cool with Bezalel getting the job.  Moses famously replied, "Lord, if he is acceptable to Thee, surely he must be so to me!"  But that wasn't enough, God made Moses ask "the people" if his choice of Bezalel was acceptable to them. Turns out, it was.  The people rallied around their new creative director, and the Tabernacle became, well, a hit. God imbued Bezalel with quite a bit to prepare him for the gig:  "He has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills."  Not bad on a resume. More than that, though, the best creative directors know they can't be given the job by anyone, not even the boss.  They have to earn it from the team.  All the time.  They must prove an inspired touch of the divine.  And they must make everyone around them better.  That's why the greatest skill God gave Bezalel was "the ability to teach others." That's exactly what Bezalel did.  And in doing so, he earned the job he was given.

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Sarah Palin Just Found Out What Alex Grossman Did To Her On Facebook

August 13, 2009 — 5

Uh oh. My friend Alex Grossman emailed me last night that the prank's over, he just got caught being "Governor Palin" on Facebook. Remember that day, months ago, when we could all log on to Facebook and register our names? Well, Alex registered his, like the rest of his. And then -- oops -- Alex registered for Governor Palin. He meant well. No he didn't. And then he started having more fun, as his fake Palin page attracted legions of real Palin (and Jesus) supporters. The more "friends" he made as Palin, the more daring he became in engaging them. As Palin, he encouraged them to "talk to a gay person today," "touch a black person," you get the idea.... Katherine Rosman broke the story in the Wall Street Journal this morning. Here's an excerpt from Katherine's piece about Alex: Using a photo of Palin sitting in a car with her seatbelt on and writing a message that read, “Happy 4th of July and God Bless!?!”, Grossman posted his page. Almost instantly, he found himself with about 100 requests from people wanting to be his – uh, Governor Palin’s – friend. He accepted them all. Updating the page almost every day, Grossman said he most often posted earnest messages about Palin’s love of God and country. But on occasion, he wrote posts he intended to be overtly satirical, so as to “tip my hat to those that I thought knew better,” he explained. He posted messages like, “I need a salmon recipe for tonight. Todd just brought home a fresh one. Something spicy!” (Dozens of “friends” sent recipes in response.) Another update read, “GOD LOVES US ALL, no matter how black or African, or even gay or Jewish we are.” He though for sure people would catch on when he, as Palin, became a fan of Strunk & White. For the full story, click here For more about Alex Grossman, who happens to also be a crazygood TV, film, web & commercial writer and producer, click here For the real Alex Grossman on Facebook, click here