Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Beatles, Florence (Italy), and [MC]2

This is an article I wrote the for August 2011 IMTS Insider.

The Beatles, Florence (Italy), and [MC]2

August 10, 2011

MC2, November 8-10, 2011 - Hyatt Regency, Cincinnati, Ohio What do The Beatles, the city of Florence, Italy, and the MTConnect: Connecting Manufacturing Conference [MC]2 all have in common? Are we moving [MC]2 from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Florence, Italy, and having Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr as the entertainment for the opening reception? That would be nice, but highly unlikely. So, what is the common thread? Let me explain.

There are a number of books and articles that have been written of late attempting to quantify the age-old question of "nature vs. nurture" in determining someone's success. In Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers, Gladwell quantifies just how much The Beatles played together before their "instant success" appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show in February of 1964. The Beatles played live in Hamburg, Germany, more than 1,200 times from 1960 to 1964. Those nights totaled more than 10,000 hours because they were playing 8 to 10 hours a night, 7 days a week.

It would be easy to misunderstand the premise of Outliers if that was the only story I shared. Gladwell discussed the concept of his book further when he was interviewed by USA Today in late 2008. "The biggest misconception about success is that we do it solely on our smarts, ambition, hustle and hard work. There's an awful lot more that goes into it than we admit." Gladwell emphasizes that if you want to understand why someone is successful, you also need to look beyond the nature and nurture argument, and take a look at other data points such as when and where they were born. Everything from current technology to societal and cultural shifts can have a strong influence on success.

In Daniel Coyle's book, The Talent Code, Coyle asks the question: "Why did so many incredible talents come from Florence, Italy, during the renaissance?" By incredibly talented, we are talking about Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante, and Galileo, to name just a few. What was different about Florence, Italy? Guilds. What made Florence so unique were how these guilds were organized and the proven mentoring framework. Young boys were put into apprentice programs with masters that would last 5 to 10 years. The apprenticeship was very organized and emphasized a hands-on approach that would build apprentices' skills from the ground up. These young artists invested thousands and thousands of hours learning their skills under the tutelage of masters.

So, what do The Beatles, the city of Florence, Italy, and the MTConnect: Connecting Manufacturing Conference [MC]2 all have in common? While we won't have Paul or Ringo as entertainment, we will have the masters of MTConnect and manufacturing, and we will be providing days of business and technical sessions in a hands-on framework to create the virtual "guilds" that will continue to live on long after the conference. At the MTConnect Institute, we strongly believe that [MC]2 could be the best investment in your future that either you or your company could make in 2011!

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By: Dave Edstrom
Director, The Office of Strategic Innovation
AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology

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