Always New Mistakes

May 15, 2008

Completeness, a path to creativity

Filed under: entrepreneur — Tags: , , , , , , — Alex Barrera @ 1:27 pm

Here I am again, writing this post in the plane on my way back home. Many things have happen during my visit to San Francisco that have profoundly affected me in ways I can’t yet understand. Hippies, Entrepreneurs, Tech guys, PhDs, Postdocs, MBAs, Bohemians, Students… that’s what I’ve found in the Bay Area and not many people understand me when I say that I really feel at home with them.

Most of the times I talk with someone about the Bay Area and/or Silicon Valley, I get to hear the same ol’ song: “But you have Silicon Valleys elsewhere; You can go to London, there are many tech guys there; …” and they are right. Different parts of America are starting to boil with hungry entrepreneurs, from Seattle to Boston, passing through Austin. In Toronto, London, Dublin or even in Madrid, my home town, you can find people eager to start their own company.

Problem is, that it’s just that. Just people interested on technology, programming, business administration, etc. Same people with the same mono thematic interests. Rare is the case where a developer is into writing, composing or teaching (Not saying that there aren’t though, I have the great luck to know people like that, but it’s rare to find them, at least for me. Maybe I don’t look where I should, maybe it’s that).

It’s got to a point where finding “Interesting” people is rare. As more and more people just care about money. True interesting people get diluted in a sea of “normal” people, lost, sometimes forever, out of reach for those who care to listen.

I don’t consider myself above the average. I’m an average person, not special at all, but I’m cursed with a double edge gift, and that is, curiosity. Why do I say that? Well, because curiosity can be something amazing, but at the same time is source of many frustrations. My curiosity needs to be continually fed with different things. New experiences, new fields of study, new people, new cultures, new languages, … The problem is that, feeding such a voracious gift, is very difficult and it even has it’s disadvantages. For example, such a curiosity renders any attempt to became a specialist, something pretty difficult.

Anyway, finding food for my curiosity is hard. Interesting people with interesting stories are scattered, so reaching them requires great effort and time. A time that is most precious for many of us. The Bay Area, nevertheless, works as a huge talent magnet for many persons of diverse conditions, educations, cultures and backgrounds. There isn’t, as far as I know, a place like it, in terms of interesting people. And when I speak about Interesting, I mean talented persons with a story (sometimes multiple stories) to tell. This doesn’t necessarily means that they need to have a PhD or be a graduate. Sometimes the most interesting experiences you find them in the streets from people with little or no education whatsoever. The point is that, I haven’t seen such an intellectually fertile place like the Bay Area in my whole life (Again, there are, for sure, places like this that I haven’t heard of, so please, if you know them, tell me about them!). What I discovered time ago, and well, I rediscovered during this trip, is that inspiration arises, most of the time, when interacting with these type of Interesting persons, and as like in a domino game, inspiration brings creativity.

The big problem I find with many people is that they are incomplete. Incomplete is a strong word to use, and I know that many people might disagree with me because as always, personal opinions are, well, personal and strongly subjective, so please keep that in mind. Most people are only interested on one or two things in life, being money and wealth one of the most common of them. They don’t care about their jobs, they don’t care about music, they don’t care about books, they don’t care about nature, and after all, why should they, no? What I’ve found is that, creative people that care about many things, are much more able to see the “big picture” everywhere. They are capable of building bridges in places where everyone else just sees dust. This is specially important for entrepreneurs if you ask me. Curiosity isn’t only something that allows people to see “further”, I truly think it enriches our soul and that at the end, when money and wealth don’t matter anymore, you are left alone with your experiences, your ideas and your ghosts.

Being curious about what surrounds us might be something you born with, although I sometimes think you can learn it with time, either way, just think, stop and think about what we tend to disregard on a daily basis. Meet new people, travel, experiment new things, hopefully you’ll get infected with the curiosity virus which will eventually enrich you as a person and as a professional, enabling you to foresee and envision what other can barely grasp.

Sorry for this extremely long diatribe full of my philosophic thoughts. Having recently experienced this enrichment at multiple levels, I thought it was worth trying to describe what I felt and specially WHY I feel the way I do about the Bay Area and its people. After all, there is much more than our jobs out there and it’s just ready for us to get it.

Images credits: Villa Sams



  1. 🙂

    Te entiendo, amigo. Creo que toda la gente quien sale del Bay Area tiene que regresar un día. Hay un tipo de imán, creo!

    Comment by Danielle — May 15, 2008 @ 3:17 pm

  2. I think you may have a really good point. Creativity usually happens at intersections. To be competitively creative means to be really good at more than one thing.

    What has really struck me though is your comment about seeing the big picture. Having a sense of where the world is going, how things fit together and what to attend to. To do that we need to be good at several things and and be around other people who are good at several things.

    Comment by Jo — May 15, 2008 @ 5:57 pm

  3. Nice post. I agree with you 100%.

    Actually, you are one of the most interesting people I found after meeting many people here in Spain. As you know, I like seeing my life as having a mision to do in Spain, so will not go back to the US, but I feel like that many times. The time you go, I will be very happy for you (and sad for us). 🙂

    I agree that arts and tech creativity are mixed. The thing that join them is talent.

    As you know people in the US put interests, activities, etc… in their CVs. I think that is cool. Having that american philosophy I allways put I play and compose piano songs, and member of AIAA, many times people here dont understand that.

    Be creative, my friend

    Comment by Jorge — May 15, 2008 @ 9:33 pm

  4. Thank you all for the comments! 😀 I’m glad to see it’s not only me feeling this way.

    @Jorge don’t worry, you can always come with me :))

    Be creative my friend hahaha great quote! 😛

    Comment by Alex Barrera — May 16, 2008 @ 1:53 pm

  5. ei alex, how are you

    its necessary start someday and one place. Already you know, you have one place and i invite you to come here and enjoy.

    reading your post, now, i think so you know more what i doing here in spain? i hope not alone and the people replication the model, garage model.

    one problem here, the people award professional but not amateur, how many times i listen my webpage is very simple!

    we have a lot good ideas, i’m sure, but if we dont have people around for share and grown each day, is nothing.

    when are drink a coffee together for share ideas, feedback and tell me bay area adventure

    Comment by raul andrés — May 17, 2008 @ 10:06 am

  6. Hey Raul! I’m glad you liked the post. Yeah we should meet someday so we can keep updated 🙂

    Big hug!

    Comment by Alex Barrera — May 19, 2008 @ 12:45 pm

  7. Hi!
    Its very true that creative people usually are good at more than one or two things. I believe so because creative people see themselves and others (and things) as one, not seperated in a strict way. When you truly appreciate life and see that everything is connected there is no boundaries for things to do! Seems like your already are on to this and can really make most out of life…
    I agree that it can be hard to find interesting people. However, what I also found was that some people I least expected to be intersting were very interesting when they opened up (so perhaps we are from time to time fooled by peoples shells and walls).
    Enjoy the Bay area I love it too!

    Comment by M — July 13, 2008 @ 11:33 pm

  8. Indeed I agree we you, sometimes we tend to be fast judges of others, and we mistakenly tag someone as not being interesting.

    Thanks for the comment!

    PS: Not around the Bay Area now and I miss it a lot 😦

    Comment by Alex Barrera — July 18, 2008 @ 3:32 pm

  9. Hi! Long time no see/chat. I enjoyed stumbling across your blog and this entry in particular. I feel that I’m part of the tribe that you describe. I know many creative interesting people that have diverse cares and are passionate about life and it’s many manifestations. People that just care about money, fame or ego are really missing the boat. My wife and I went to San Fransisco some years back and we both loved it and felt right at home. We are both musicians, performers, activists and renaissance people and your contributions help enhance and bring forward more of this recognition.

    Do you ever go to blackhat or defcon? Not sure what you are up to these days; you may have moved onto other things. If you will be going drop me an email, I’d love to meet.


    Comment by rasilon — July 31, 2008 @ 8:16 am

  10. Hey man! Long time not seen indeed! You made my day with your comment. It’s amazing how we keep finding old friends even years later!

    I’m very glad you liked the post 😀

    I’m sending u an email.

    Comment by Alex Barrera — August 4, 2008 @ 10:00 am

  11. Creativity

    This is my photo. It was used without my permission.
    Where did you get it from?

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