The Lowest Common Denominator

Came across a great line by Scott Storch, one of the mega-producers in the music industry today while I was flipping through Rolling Stone:

“It’s a chore for me to hold back my mind to do this simple shit…People want something they can understand, something they can break down in their head and understand the rhythms.  There’s more money in those little songs.”

In reading about how Storch got started in the music industry and then reading the ads for the music and films schools in the back of the magazine, I wonder if these schools do more harm for artistic talent and skill than they do good. Part of becoming great at doing these kinds of things is the experience of working with what you’ve got. Working with a simple palette is at once limiting and also expansive in that it stretches one’s creative ability and skill to get the most out of limited resources; it forces one to develop unique techniques and workarounds that would otherwise not be necessary. It’s kind of a “whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” philosophy.

I can certainly understand where Storch is coming from in that line, though. Often, on projects, I have these badass ideas on revolutionary (relatively speaking) changes to an existing application or UI that would simply blow people’s minds. Instead, I often encounter a resistance to these types of ideas as clients tend to have a limited imagination or are constrained by the limited imaginations of their users, which is quite sad for me.

I call this: “developing for the lowest common denominator”. It’s a sad way for creative minds to work when one must contort ideas and visions to satisfy the simpler minds and those that have no imagination.

Take BumpTop, for example. It is far too revolutionary (as compared to the classic Windows folder paradigm) for its own good. Users have limited imaginations to be able to envision how such things would benefit them (or perhaps it may not benefit them).

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