I’m rereading and checking everything I have written for my book on concepting and here’s another chapter I’d like to share.

From consumer to producer

Way back when we used to work for God. Ploughing, sowing, harvesting to make as much from the world as we could. The official line was that this all benefited the glory of God. We needed machines to ramp up production. We were increasing production and our goal became being the best cog in the machine you could be. But after a while we were producing so much we weren’t needed primarily as producers, but as consumers. And here we are today.

We are surrounded by branding, marketing and advertising. Companies want to sell us products and services. So we need to crave their products and services. And never be completely happy. The craving is what keeps us buying. Stand a few feet away from your life and consider the impact that our consumer society has on what you see, feel, want and eventually buy. Unless you live in a convent there is no denying the omnipresence of brands and companies in your life.

All that screaming and yelling, all those flickering lights, subtle seductive voices, funny videos you want to share: they all eat away at our time. Time we could spend talking to friends, making something, being bored (very important!), we spend watching commercials, playing Angry Birds, checking up on facebook. (Just by writing that I felt the urge to take my phone out of my pocket and check facebook).

You need to make the rules.

You need to stop being a consumer of the news, the entertainment, the friend-updates, the weather, games and bags of crisps. Be a warrior instead, or an archaeologist of culture, an inventor of entertainment, a shrink for the masses, whatever you want to be. Just stop wasting time. If you already are one of these, I am terribly sorry for yelling at you.

Now, since you have changed so much as a person by me writing these lines, I’d like you to take a look at the world around you. H&M is selling designer clothes once a year. All our cars need to be ‘sporty’. We have just realised we spent all of our allowance for the next twenty years. People who never take the train, hate the train. More and more people are single and don’t want to be.

Since you are a producer: you need to get to the bottom of all of this. What is this world about? Why do people do things they regret so often? Read books. Talk to people. Talk to other people. Interview a hero. Interview another hero. Work on the knowledge that is important to you.