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Change the process, change the outcome

If you have not yet checked out Mick Gordon’s GDC talk “DOOM: Behind the Music” yet, stop what you’re doing right now and go watch.

I tell you this as a guy whom, if I’m honest, I’m at the point in my life and career where I’m mostly tired of audio/tech talks.  There is a distinct lack of talks that are inspiring to me, and I get way more out of social meetups and learning specifically about people than listening to talks about implementation & process.

But Mick’s talk is different.  Way different.  It oozes all of the interesting creative & process nuggest you’d expect, he’s also (thankfully) super funny, but most importantly he addresses deep and important ideas.

So seriously, halt your life for about 45 minutes and watch his main talk. Once you’re done I want to chat with you about his main topic:

Change the process, change the outcome.

The way Mick works this central theme through his talk sits primarily in two topics:

  1. Creating & the creative process
  2. In the team dynamic

I think his points are brilliant and definitely need to be focused on – especially within the topic he’s discussing.  It’s almost always good to put yourself in foreign situations creatively, and fostering a team environment where failure is acceptable is beyond brilliant.

But in light of many conversations I’ve had with members of the audio community recently, I want to take his ideas and expand on them.  Let me put the theme in front of you again:

Change the process, change the outcome.

I believe this sentence should be a game changer to you, personally.

Every single one of us can apply this statement when it comes to the outcomes we seek, and the actions we take to achieve them.  When Mick hit a creative wall in the form of his client who responded with “Meh.”, he wanted to change that outcome – so he went back to work on his process.  Eventually he landed on the sound of last year’s (award winning, btw) DOOM.

Here’s another way you may, as an audio person, be familiar with seeing Mick’s phrase:

Shit in, shit out


Good audio starts with the source.

The first one is a little harsh, but it gets the point across.  If you’re not getting the outcome you seek, then the thing you need to work on is the process you took to get there.

This applies to sound design.  If you’re not getting the sound you’re looking for, you might need to blow up at least part of your chain if not the whole thing.

This applies to your career.  Are you starting out and struggling at getting any traction?  You should re-evaluate how you’re hunting for work, or how you’re marketing yourself.  If you’ve been stagnant in the same job and want to move up in your career, it’s probably time to re-evaluate how you’re working in order to move up.

Maybe you’re not making the money you want.  Consider the fact that the process it takes you to earn $500 a month isn’t going to be the same it takes to make $5,000 a month, or $50,000 a month.

This even applies to facets of your personal life.

Personally I’ve previously shared 3 goals I have to complete before September of this year:

  1. Sell an audio product with 5 presales
  2. Get six pack abs
  3. Take my wife to Hawaii

To complete the first goal, I had to change my process and work to learn how to find out what product people wanted to buy, and then create it.  Prior to that I’d try and make something cool, and then fall on my face (bad process).

To complete my second goal, I’m having to change the processes of how I eat and exercise.  I’m definitely still failing at this one, but I’m going to try my hardest to find the process that works for me.

To complete my third goal, I had to set up a savings account and make a bunch of decisions.  I’m not quite done here yet either – I still need to make the final decisions and spend the money.  But we’re most of the way there!

So I’d encourage you to take Mick’s recommendation to heart.  Think about it hard, and be honest with yourself about how it could apply to you.  I’m not kidding when I say it coud absolutely be life changing.

Again – Change the process, change the outcome.

To say this is absolutely brilliant I think is an understatement.  Thanks Mick!

Again, go watch the GDC talk if you have gotten this far and haven’t watched yet.  I’m not kidding, it’s that good.

Copyright 2016-2017, Adam T. Croft, all rights reserved.