My response to the Art of Asking

Wow, you have to watch this TED talk – Amanda Palmer and the Art of Asking. I think it is the best  TED talk I have seem and that really is saying something. I don’t want to quote from it, or explain in detail in case you think you then don’t need to watch it. You really do have to watch it!

Amanda’s talking about the art of asking and how she has built up her connections with her fans over time and now she asks them for things, such as a piano to rehearse, a milk crate to do her talk with, or to fund her next tour via kickstarter and how she sees it as an exchange.

This talk caused a very visceral reaction in me, and I am not sure why. Possibly because she is open and honest about her experience, how people have hurt her by things that they have said and how she reacts to them. People generally are not that open and honest about their feelings. Especially English people!

This is the new way of working, I have backed quite a few things on Kickstarter – mainly computer games that I want to see developed – a platform with a girl lead character who isn’t all short dresses and boobs? Yes, please – have some money. I like the fact that you can donate at a level that suits you. My husband has also backed a lot on Kickstarter, again, mainly geeky stuff.

I also paid £8 for Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’ when they did the ‘pay what you want’ release. I felt this was a fair amount for a band that I love, seen as though they didn’t have to produce physical CDs. For a new band that I hadn’t heard of I would probably not pay very much, until I know that I liked them. In the same way as I copied the first ever Tori Amos, Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead album from a friend and then bought every single one they wrote there after. The same can be said of a lot of people I am sure. I do believe in paying artists for their work, which is why even now, when I could probably download a lot of music free I buy my music downloads. Admittedly I no longer buy music at the rate that I did when I was younger, but it is still important to me.

This way of working also only works when you do put the work in and you build a lot of connections, and are genuine, which Amanda clearly is. The projects that my husband and I have backed on Kickstarter we have heard about through Boing Boing, or in Gavin’s case via his very geeky forums. Both of which are aimed at a niche market, with people who are interested in that sort of thing. You have to put the work in, this isn’t an easy, quick way of working, or a get rich quick scheme.

Her talk has become one of the most downloaded talks in a very short period of time and I can easy see why. Maybe it will change the music industry, maybe it will change how we interact with people, maybe it will just make many of us think. And wish we were brave enough to connect with so many people and to be able to ask….

p.s. have you noticed how I am being much more personal than normal in this post – I have told you I am a geek, talked about my husband and told you about the music I buy – which I personally think is a big tell about someone…. I guess Amanda really has inspired me to be more open, honest and a little bit vulnerable.


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