Scott Belsky, founder of Behance, helps professionals keep their creative ideas moving forward through idea sharing and good planning. Read on for some valuable pointers on how to avoid getting trapped in the Project Plateau.
Current Residence: New York City
Occupation: Founder & CEO, Behance
Areas of Focus: Technology and Creative Industries
In 2010 Fast Company listed Behance as one of the most creative small businesses. Your advice was: keep a notebook, indulge your obsessions, share ideas, and work hard. Could you elaborate on those four points for our readers?
I actually think I was misquoted. I think creative people must do whatever they can to capture their ideas, develop them, and share them liberally. The reason is that we need more accountability and tools to keep our ideas ALIVE. Most ideas are lost in what I’ve come to call the “project plateau” – an expansive desert, void of any oasis of inspiration or excitement. It is the pure drudgery in the middle stages of a project; ceaseless follow-ups and a lot of hard work with no clear end in sight. As we trudge our way through, we get easily distracted by life’s demands. As creative minds, we also come up with new ideas which entice us to escape the doldrums of the project plateau and start all over again with something new and shiny.
To overcome the project plateau, we must disseminate our ideas so people keep us accountable. We must also develop a rhythm of execution that may very well include writing every task down (in a notebook!) and ensuring they are completed by the end of every day!
To “Make Ideas Happen”, what are the very first steps to take…refine the idea yourself, immediately put it out to your community or to the public, start building a team etc.?
Immediately put it out to your community. Why? Because sharing ideas is the shortest path to refinement, accountability, and the circumstantial opportunities that help ideas happen.
What has made Behance become so successful despite other players catering to creative professionals?
Unlike most “tech” or “consulting” companies, Behance is medium agnostic. Rather, we are mission centric. Our team is 100% dedicated to empowering creative professionals. We believe that, with better organization and better platforms for navigating creative industries, there will be more of a “creative meritocracy.”
We imagine a day when the greatest talent gets the best opportunities, rather than be in a position where it is at the mercy of antiquated systems.
This has always been our collective vision for Behance – a more organized and empowered creative world. And if we pull it off, we believe that there is a long-term opportunity to have a sustainable business that we love.
Does Behance help people develop their careers who may not be based in creative hubs such as New York or Los Angeles?
Absolutely. In fact, the Behance Network is 65% international and has 18 International Ambassadors located on every continent. From Stillwater, Oklahoma ( http://bit.ly/eD40cY ) to Barcelona, Spain ( http://bit.ly/eGMgVy ), Behance’s network is thriving in all corners of the world. We hope to help creative talent transcend geographic boundaries when it comes to getting exposure and opportunity.
What magazines and books are you currently reading?
I love Fast Company Magazine – it is a must for anyone that wants to move their industry forward. I am reading Simon Sinek’s book “Start With Why” and the novel “Einstein’s Dreams” by Alan Lightman.
Where is Behance Network going next? For you, what are the most exciting new developments?
Later this month we will launch ProSite (http://ProSite.com), a new service that we have been building for over a year! ProSite will allow Behance members to build their own personal portfolio sites that instantly sync with their Behance projects. ProSite will dramatically increase our productivity as we seek to maintain our own websites while broadcasting our portfolio work around the web.
We are very excited about ProSite. It is much more intuitive and powerful than any other portfolio building tool, and it doesn’t require any programming knowledge. We think it’s revolutionary!
Photo credit: Julia Soler