For this week’s Focus On Thursday…
I’m moving my focus away from the work I’ve done with my clients to share with you a new term I’d recently discovered.
Have you ever seen someone recommend a book and you enthusiastically buy it and then forget about it?
It’s sat on a shelf, and it catches your eye. You get to have that joy of rediscovering it.
That’s what happened to me with Austin Kleon’s books Show your work and keep going.
I’ve only just started reading show your work, as I needed a kick up the butt to get the Cambridge businesses in pictures project going.
Austin introduced to me a concept called Sceinus.
What is Scenius?
Scenius is a term coined by Brian Eno. Here’s a video of Brian explaining the concept
. Or if you’d like here’s Austin Kleon’s explanation:
“There’s a healthier way of thinking about creativity that the musician Brian Eno refers to as “scenius.” Under this model, great ideas are often birthed by a group of creative individuals—artists, curators, thinkers, theorists, and other tastemakers—who make up an “ecology of talent.” If you look back closely at history, many of the people who we think of as lone geniuses were actually part of “a whole scene of people who were supporting each other, looking at each other’s work, copying from each other, stealing ideas, and contributing ideas.”
Scenius doesn’t take away from the achievements of those great individuals: it just acknowledges that good work isn’t created in a vacuum and that creativity is always, in some sense, a collaboration, the result of a mind connected to other minds.
What I love about the idea of scenius is that it makes room in the story of creativity for the rest of us: the people who don’t consider ourselves geniuses. Being a valuable part of a scenius is not necessarily about how smart or talented you are, but about what you have to contribute—the ideas you share, the quality of the connections you make, and the conversations you start. If we forget about genius and think more about how we can nurture and contribute to a scenius, we can adjust our own expectations and the expectations of the worlds we want to accept us. We can stop asking what others can do for us, and start asking what we can do for others.”
To put it even more simply: Genius is an ecosystem, scenius is an ecosystem.
Reading this turned all the lightbulbs on in my head to the point I had high beams shooting out of my eyes.
Being a lone genius isn’t fun or rewarding.
The starving artist concept is romanticising that creatives can’t create a life where they can thrive.
Holding your work inside you won’t result in the approval which sometimes I seek from my peers.
I also get a little irritated when I’m called an expert of a genius in my field. It is something we all strive to become but when achieved it becomes meaningless. The thing which I strive for is continuously learning, from my peers and my own Scenius.
In the three years which I’ve been in business, working for myself and creating my own path I’ve learnt how being part of a community is a powerful thing. I’ve seen how self-proclaimed ‘geniuses’ are full of themselves and powered by their own ego.
Their followers baying at their feet. Their control comes from the fact they know they are the figurehead it’s not a community they’ve created but a hierarchy.
Brian Eno very clearly understood that to create amazing things it needs to be done collaboratively. For us to survive and flourish is to cooperate with others, care about the people in our networks and ultimately raise each other up.
Being British we feel uncomfortable about celebrating how well we’re doing; it’s looked upon as arrogance and we shy away from blowing our own trumpet. But what about when it’s a group of likeminded people blowing their trumpets together in unison?
There are three Cambridge Sceiniuses I’m part of and I want to share them with you.
I met Alex at Ed Goodman’s St Ives Business Lounge’s mastermind session over three years ago and I’ve always been inspired by Alex’s story. Alex used to work in IT, but it just wasn’t enough for him.
He started attending local networking groups before making the jump into becoming a business owner, and throughout the years I’ve seen him grown and flourish into a serial entrepreneur.
Alex has also helped me with my business and I’m proud to call him my business mentor.
Shifties is based in St Neots which has a thriving small business community. I’ve attended coworking sessions which Shifities have arranged usually in the amazing Art & Soul café. There’s a lot of other events which Shifities puts on like the end of month gathering, Shifities brekky, 6 a side football and the NAM challenge.
There’s something about Shifties I’m attracted too. It’s made very clear that their values of connecting with others, learning and growing together are the forefront of the community. It’s like there’s a shared driving force of being together is much better than being alone and Alex and his team have worked hard to maintain this feeling over the last few years.
They have a busy Facebook group of over 700 members and during COVID19 has stepped up to support business owners during this time with lots of events which includes weekly business news reviews, mastermind sessions, virtual networking, and different challenges to develop new skills.
BOOM Business Owners Open Mastermind
BOOM is the brainchild of Ed Goodman who is the creator of Freelance Heroes. Ed’s been a huge part of my businesses story in the beginning by being the first person to give me a part-time job as Cambridge business lounge’s community manager.
It was pretty much the perfect job for someone who’d decided to try out this being their own boss lark. I got to meet other realty interesting business owners and individuals who were remote workers.
Ed used to run Cambridge Business Lounge’s mastermind session and another mastermind in St Ives. As the event in St Ives fell on my day off, I was able to come and join in.
If you’ve never heard of a mastermind session, it’s a chance to put a problem to a group of your peers and get a range of different solutions. The mastermind sessions are communities in themselves as it’s expected that the person with the problem should come back and report their progress at the next session.
In this mastermind session, I met and began relationships with people like Alex Hughes, Lenka Koppova, Sadie Geoghegan-Dann, Penni & Jo Pickering, Jade Hockie, Rachel Way and Les Howard.
The trust and openness of this group is unparalleled. You know that when you’re in our group, you will laugh, it’s totally fine to cry and the rest of the group will cry with you.
If you’re angry or frustrated the whole group will feel it and empathise with you.
Because this is the longest group I’ve been attending I’m extremely fond of it. Even if Ed keeps calling me Lenka…
The Marketing Meetup
Over four years ago, Joe Glover was working at Genie ventures as a marketing manager. He loved his job but he had an idea to create a community of like-minded marketing professionals.
One balmy Cambridge summer evening he hosted the first-ever Marketing Meetup in the servery of Redgate.
Joe’s philosophy for The marketing meet up was simple:
I remember attending the first event, remembering how amazing the food was and the number of people who turned up.
Joe pulls in over 100 people to each event for the simple reason that it’s a really, really nice place for the marketers of the world to come together to listen, learn, meet, and share knowledge.
The evening begins with networking and then moves on to two talks from different speakers with different topics which information from these can be actioned straight away.
I’ve been very lucky to have been involved with the marketing meetup giving a talk on what your profile photo says about you.
Doing a pop-up headshot photo booth:
Most recently introducing the community to ElevateHer – Cambridge’s Female Tech icons.
Joe isn’t someone who is afraid to express his feelings. He regularly tells our community he loves us; how grateful he is for how people have come together to learn and connect.
We love you too Joe.
This has led Joe to expand The Marketing Meetup across the UK and in 2020 expanding the community into the USA.
I want to highlight how Joe and Alex have been such amazing pillars of enthusiasm and motivation during COVID19. Both have moved all their events online and provided people with a way to keep connected in this really crazy time.
It’s about keeping consistent with being able to keep connected to the communities who keep us going. They understand this and have gone out of there way to be there for us.
I must be honest; I am in awe of the speaker’s Joe’s been able to get for his recent events.
My highlights have been Margaret Molloy’s talk on branding during Covid19, and also Rand Fishkin’s talk on how to gain a competitive edge in times of fear and uncertainty.
I know when I walk into The Marketing Meetup, I’m sure to get a big smile and a hug from Joe. I’m going to connect with some wicked awesome people and learn skills I can go back and apply into my business.
If you get the chance at the next in-person Marketing Meetup, glance over at Joe when it’s quiet and I guarantee he’ll have a big smile of love and gratitude for everyone in the room.
Who would you call your Scenius?
I’d love to know who your Scenius is, and what they’ve done for you.