William Gibson, Creativity and Twitter

In the 90s, extreme good fortune landed me in an executive MBA program:  I worked and went to school full time, year round, for 2 years.   It was a lot of work.   All the time.  (I loved it.)

It’s easy to conjure memories of reading.  Case studies.  On the train, over meals, and even on the day’s state-of-the-art cardio technology:  the Stairmaster.   No movies, TV or non-business books.

Somehow, though, I read William Gibson’s early cyberpunk novels.

In 1993, there was an internet, but no World Wide Web, to speak of.

The internet was the business story; our business school community was aflame with curiosity and creativity.  What could we do with this thing?

(Upon graduating, I convinced my management to hire a PhD student and one of his colleagues, who created one of financial services’ first websites for us:  its function was extremely basic.  There was little will or budget to lead the market on this, disappointingly.  But I digress.)

In the 80s, Gibson had written about data thieves, an increasingly borderless world, intertwined corporate and government agendas, cyberspace addicts.

In 1995, these ideas felt so fresh that I gave Mona Lisa Overdrive to a professor.  I felt that Gibson was visionary and important, and that the business community should pay attention — but I couldn’t put my finger on why.

This summer, I brought out Neuromancer for my ad hoc “friend and client” reading club.

Today, Gibson’s back with a new book.  Here’s quick intro on Gibson’s ideas and views on how we use technology, via WNYC’s Kurt Anderson.

Studio 360 – Show 1140 – William Gibson

Fascinating:  Gibson’s writing process sounds like a method he’s developed to translate his “right brain” into verbal behavior.

Listening to this interview, my mind was struck by a connection to Fred Wilson’s blog post, which crossed my feedreader today, on creativity and successful early stage investments:

“When we look at our portfolio and analyze what has worked and what has not, we see a high correlation between having that “creative element” firmly ensconced into the founding team and success. The teams that are engineer heavy and creative light have not worked nearly as well as the teams that are creative heavy and engineer light.”

This connects me back to Gibson.   I’ve been trying to tell friends why I see value in Twitter:  Gibson calls it a “novelty aggregator.”


Artists and creators who bridge the felt sense of a story or phenomenon, make it verbal or visual so that it can be shared — and acted on — they’re the ones who will succeed.

Painters, writers, entertainers.  And people who lead organizations.

(Twitter:  what rendered it “visible” to investors like Wilson?)

And how can we create like this with our teams?

Photo by etharooni, used under Creative Commons License.

2 thoughts on “William Gibson, Creativity and Twitter

  1. I remember reading Neuromancer and then being shocked at the copyright date.
    Neuromancer and Count Zero from Gibson are incredible. Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash is another cyberpunk novel that is definetly worth reading.
    And have you tried steampunk? The Diamond Age by Stephenson is another fantastic read.

    1. Thanks for stopping in! And, great suggestions. I’ve read Cryptonomicon, but haven’t kept up with either Stephenson or Gibson. I remember an old colleague loving Snow Crash, and Zero History looks intriguing. On a related note, Lisbeth Salander is the direct descendant of many of Gibson’s female characters. (Hah, though timing is odd, as Gibson’s women exist in one of his futures.)

      A trip to the bookstore might just be the ticket for some weekend reading. Thank you so much.

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