We often forget that for every Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, there are countless others who love to play basketball, play the violin, write, draw, design, make music, govern or create unique things. We forget too that there was only one Michael Jordan, one Leonardo da Vinci, one Si Da Ming Zhu, one Josephine Baker, one Albert Einstein, one Golda Meir…
Respect is about many things. It is about working together. It is about understanding that people have different views. It is about building communities. And it is about fairness.
What does respect have to do with crowdSPRING?
For the past 13 years, I have practiced in a field – law – that is often ridiculed because it is commonly thought that lawyers do not respect each other, judges, clients or the law. And for some, this is a very real and unfortunate criticism. I like to think that I have always followed a different path. I have never thought that age, experience, or education are the most important criteria by which one can decide whether someone is good at what they do. I have worked with many experienced , Ivy League-educated lawyers who were not nearly as talented as those who were young and educated in a public law school. Fundamentally, whether one talks about law, sports, music, writing, or anything else, results speak louder than education and experience. A young lawyer, when given a chance, can shine. A young artist, writer, photographer musician, or designer, when given a chance and allowed to compete fairly, can show their creativity.
When Mike and I first came up with the idea for crowdSPRING, we realized that there were many people who could not effectively pursue their passions in an environment that did not respect them. Designers, artists, writers, musicians. People from all continents and dozens of countries — Africa, China, South America, Europe, Asia, Russia, and the United States, among many others. It is not a coincidence that of the three fundamental principles that guide us (level playing field, choice and the protection of intellectual property), the level playing is first. And we did not randomly come to that conclusion. We talked to people. We reached out to designers and writers, to photographers and musicians, and asked them to help us build a community and a marketplace that respects ideas and the people that contribute to the community.
We have a long way to go. There are many in the world that find it difficult to respect level playing fields. Whether in politics, art, sports, business, it is human nature to be protective of one’s domain. But we fundamentally believe that if allowed to compete fairly, honestly, and in an environment driven by results, creatives can show their passion and respect for each other.
We have been humbled by the reaction we have received. We have been humbled too by the talented designers and artists around the world, united by a common passion for their art. Maybe there are not among them the next generation of Herbert Bayer, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, El Lissitzky or Paul Rand. What if there are?
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