I’ve ALWAYS hated music competitions.
Battle of the Bands, Van Cliburn Piano Competition, American Idol, The Voice, the list goes on-and-on.
So yes, I will not be watching the Grammy Awards next Sunday. I believe that music should be celebrated and everyone that participates, from Adele to your niece in kindergarten, should be considered winners. Now, I do not mind when award shows celebrate success in the marketplace, based on true ratings or the numbers of viewers and listeners. This is fair and the marketplace is truly the place that should be considered in career success. It’s just all this subjective nonsense based on judges who make the competition all about themselves.
I am currently reading the book ‘Romance on Three Legs’, a book about Glenn Gould and his pursuit of the perfect piano. What really draws me to Gould is his passion, his eccentricities and the fact that he was a pretty decent guy. He also detested music competitions, even though he pretty much had to participate. He also won his fair share, not surprisingly since he may be the worlds best piano player to live.
Glenn Gould was a perfectionist who let his talent and his craft speak for himself, and he was rewarded with market success and the ability to pursue his talent even deeper. He didn’t need a blog and he didn’t need to worry about his “brand”. He just played.
Since I equate music and programming equally, I’m equally annoyed when I see programmer competitions, hack-a-thons, and start-up pitches that are little more than a beauty contest. I have to admit that I participate in these, but mostly as a mentor, where my job is to encourage and inspire. Again, the true place for competition is in the marketplace or, when you’re pitching an idea, to run through a rigorous process, well understood, that can evaluate the business opportunity. It’s not that I hate the idea of people getting together to collaborate on ideas and technology, or even to evaluate the outcome. I just hate the perception that occurs on selecting winners and losers. It’s Monday, I’m cranky.
Leave that to customers to decide.