“The only people for me are the mad ones: the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who… burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow Roman candles.” — Jack Kerouac
I’ve had a big crush on the idea of community for as long as I can remember.
Not in the sense that we need to get together around a campfire, braid our hair and tie-dye everything we can get our hands-on. More in the sense that as individuals we’re multi-faceted and multi-dimensional, so we have the potential to create and relate in a billion different ways.
Sound like hippy-dippy bullsh*t? Stick with me for a second.
As far as I’m concerned the best people in life are many things all at once. Let’s be honest — who in their right mind is up for being pigeonholed? Wherever you are and whatever you do, you’re the product of countless experiences: minutes, hours, days, years of interacting with the world, honing your skills, and deciding how you want to live…and work.
Complex minds have the advantage of being ultra-versatile — these are the types of people to look out for if you’re keen to be blindsided by brilliance. And after working in the creative industries for over a decade, I can tell you several war stories that involve people being unfairly dismissed because someone decided they just don’t fit the bill. It’s these stories that have made me a big believer that genius is found in the unconventional and the overlooked.
Truth is, I’ve always been uninspired by the idea of conventional employment — I think it’s the hiring process that I find distressing. Why anyone would want to belong to a team that was built by reeling in a load of half-baked cover letters and shuffling through stacks of identical CVs is beyond me.
If I’m looking to make magic and to have an inspiring group of people by my side, I really don’t need to scroll through a list of your hobbies typed out in Times New Roman. What I do need is to know what makes you tick — to get a feel for how our brains might work together and understand how (and why) we might inspire each other.
So rather than be part of the problem, and join in on the unsettling practice of slamming doors in people’s faces, I’m interested in getting into bed with those who agree that the system is broken. I want to go out of my way to meet the people who’ve heard ‘no’ more than ‘yes’; who don’t quite fit in; who can’t cram their globe-spanning lives onto one side of A4. I want to jam with the world’s most talented “misfits” — the rule-breakers who tell incredible stories and have “out there” ideas.
Life has shown me that this kind of talent is often found in unexpected places, and if you can hone a sixth sense for seeking it out, you’ve struck gold. Luckily I’ve gotten rather good at it, and have even figured out a major component of the secret sauce needed to sniff out these gems: promote the idea of working towards a common culture.
The key to thriving communities and to creating a space for unusual minds to do their thing is a shared frame of reference and a mutual purpose — that’s how you work towards a common goal. Practicing what you preach is of the utmost importance — that’s how you get street cred and that coveted badge of respect.
In a world where brands get their 15 minutes of fame because they can cough up the cash for fancy campaigns and attention, it’s all too easy to forget that in reality, people relate to people. Sure, brands can pay top dollar to fabricate emotional intelligence, but audiences are getting smarter and are harder to fool.
Human connection should be the foundation for creative collaborations, so why do we neglect the true powerhouses behind all this “meaningful” storytelling? Shining a spotlight on the highest bidder is easy, cash can move mountains, but how often does your everyday person get to tell their tale and showcase their talents?
Perhaps those stories are never told because it’s so noisy out there — deafening even. Sometimes it’s hard to hear the smaller voices, often because nobody gives them a chance, but trust me — they’ve got the most important things to say. In a world where the art of listening has become such a commodity, we could argue, that if we started speaking as a collective, we’d create purposeful noise, and everybody would get a chance to stand on the soapbox.
Which brings us to What Does Not.
What Does Not (WDN) is here to stand out and to shine a light on the legends who get overlooked. In other words, the mission here is to build a global collective of talented humans with stories to tell and to create content with a purpose. We’re interested in building a community rooted in culture, so we’re calling all creatives, freelancers, and side-hustlers with raw talent and transferable skills to come together.
Our motto: Listen, relate, create.
What does not kill you makes you stronger, and all that jazz.