Light bulbs and laser beams

This past week, I borrowed John Maeda’s The Laws of Simplicity from the Toronto Public Library. It’s a slim book, but it gave me a lot to chew on.

While discussing his sixth law (Context), Maeda says:

I was once advised by my teacher Nicholas Negroponte to become a light bulb instead of a laser beam, at an age and time in my career when I was all focus. His point was that you can either brighten a single point with laser precision, or else use the same light to illuminate everything around you.

This struck me, particularly when I thought about it in terms of my own work, which often feels very narrowly focused.

As someone who works in public radio, I really need to remember that I’m in the lightbulb business.