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Engineering vs. Art
By Seth Godin
Engineering has a right answer. It is a consistent set of best practices and demonstrable proofs, repeated again and again until the answer is found.
Art has no right answer. Art can work, surely, and it can fail. Art involves the intent of the artist and the reception of the audience. And art involves an unpredictable leap.
It’s possible that you have an engineering problem. If you do, go solve it.
If you have an artistic challenge, though, quit looking for the right answer.
Plenty of engineering breakthroughs begin as artistic challenges. The artist sees what hasn’t been seen before or has the guts to start with a blank slate. After the artistic leap has been made, the engineers can dive in and optimize and productize the original insight. And yes, even if your job title is “engineer” or “direct-mail executive” or “letterpress operator,” it’s possible (and even an obligation) for you to be an artist, too.
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