Defying Categorization

People often ask me the question, should I do have two twitter addresses — one for business, one for personal? And authors I know that are experts on innovation then want to write two different books: one for women giving themselves permission, and the other on innovation models.



We keep these elements separate — business from personal and personal from business. And yet, I wonder, is that really bringing all of us? Is that going to maximize value creation?

It strikes me the best movies are not discrete categories, like Romantics, or Dramas. The best movies are blends of two different categories; they are cross-genre. Romantic Comedies; like, Harry Met Sally. Political Romances, like The American President. Comedy and Action; like, Die Hard. Then, there are ones that have 3 major categories like G.I Jane which combines war, drama, romance. Star Wars is an ultimate blend of many genres. Obviously, it’s science fiction/fantasy, but it’s also a romance, comedy, drama, adventure. I think you’d probably most likely call it a classic and let it defy classification! One of my favorite movies of all time, the entire Godfather trilogy, is a combination of stories weaving together history, romance, action, and family.

And maybe there’s a lesson there for all of us…. maybe the best actually defy categorization entirely. (What is It’s A Wonderful Life“? I have no idea but I know I appreciate it for what it is.)

Maybe we’re all better off by accepting our integrated yet complex selves.

Yesterday, I blogged about Scott Adams’s failures contributing to his successes. It was the blend of his 4 categories that let’s him be him. He said he had negligible art talent, some basic writing skills, an ordinary sense of humor and business world experience. Blended together, they are him. He defies categorization. He allows himself to be unique, different, and that allows him to create a certain kind of value.

What are your categories? Are you a fashionista, marketing maven, who is a fabulous trend spotter? Or you are a snarky person, who can draw and do web stuff? Or perhaps you are a prophetic voice combined with insights into the human psyche, combined with a sense of humor?

What kind of value could you create by defying categorization?


2 Replies

  1. OK. White space. First to comment. A bit shy. But what you just wrote is awesome. It resonates powerfully with a post I “resurrected” this morning from my archives.It didn’t belong to any specific category. Or rather all of them. Women. Speaking. Story Telling. Leadership. Communication Skills. Empowerment. Comics. Etc… It also featured a very simple comics. I judged it simplistic although I loved it.But this morning…is it good friday’s influence? I gave this little childish post a second life.It was retweeted by Whitney Johnson, with a link to your awesome talk about Super Heroes. It gave me credit, faith in what I had done.No category. Tags. Plenty of tags, desires, passions, imperfections. Me.I changed my bio in my TED profile also today (very productive day…) and inserted my Twitter bio, which is more personal, eclectic and real me.That’s a good sign! Thanks a lot, Nilofer for sharing that post (and drawing!)

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