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New Tech Blog: Max On Media
Max On Media is a technology-based blog written by Burke Liburt. Burke Liburt is the co-founder and CMO of SynchroPET, a biomedical device company that has licensed patented nuclear imaging technologies from Brookhaven National Laboratories. He has developed marketing strategies at television groups (Dun & Bradstreet/ ABC Television) and at his own multi-media company. Read Max On Media Now!
Stony Brook Innovation Center Blog


Oct 31 2015

The most helpful topic for an Innovation Center blog would seem to be examining whether innovativeness can be instilled in people the way installing computer programs enables us to do different things, and if so, how is it downloaded, or learned?  Is there a single Skill Set underpinning all the other attributes that are identifiable in the majority of innovators, short of the few savants floating around, and even there?  Do innovations like the light bulb and Internet arise out of nowhere, or evolve as species do: putting similar things together again and again, and how is that done? 

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair.
                        Hover through the fog and filthy air.”



I’ve taken to calling old clients, with whom I haven’t spoken for some years, and leaving crypic messages to see if they can guess “What’s My Line?” as a famous old TV show put it, where a panel of esteemed people did likewise with a guest, who did something significant without becoming a household name like they were, and two pretenders, who muddied the waters.
“The only thing that happens when you get Neal’s dander up, is that he smiles.  Who am I” for example.  I may not be the only person he’s known in 40 years of running a substantial business that deals with several hundred people, who noticed this, but I am probably the only one, who would make note of such a detail for him.
Another client is a former Cy Young Award winner, the best pitcher in one of the baseball leagues Once Upon A Time, whose Voice Mail I asked this morning, with the World Series fast upon us, “Perhaps in your entire lifetime, the question has never raged hotter, what with 100 mph Cy Young winning pitchers getting knocked outa the ballpark game after game, whether the hand is indeed quicker than the eye.  Who am I?”

‘Tis the season for ghouls and goblins, costumes and candy treats.  The trees all around me are more yellow, orange, and red again than green.  One would surmise that secret identities are an inherent part of nature, not just the domain of superheroes.  Native people donned animal identities.  James Thurber’s classic story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” not to mention the many ways that the rest of us identify with Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, Stagecoach, Mission Impossible, James Bond, and other movies about heroes of every kind, suggest that there is something of The Scarlet Pimpernel and Zorro in all of us. 
Every job is something of a mask.  A business suit and the many standardized outfits that workplaces of all kinds have, are something of a costume.  Our identity in the job is a mask unto itself. 
At face value, we think of masks as concealing our true self, whereas historically and prehistorically (which isn’t necessarily before civilization, as we by and large know it, began; little more than 100 years ago, if that, Native Americans had no written history) and commonly wore masks and painted faces and donned animal totems), masks revealed our true selves.  I spent a decade as the county liaison to the small business lobby, for which I got more businesses involved here than in any of 650 districts throughout the country, and was known there as … Captain Kirk, who boldly went where no representative had gone before.  I was flown to Washington and ceremoniously inducted into their Hall of Fame by the first President George Bush.  As they used to say on What’s My Line, “Will the real David Myers please stand up?” 

Power has gotten a bad rap in personal affairs, as well as business circles.  To the best of my knowledge, Peter Block spearheaded the Stewardship movement away from power with a delightful book of that title, although the concept was already implicit, if not so named, in much of renowned Peter Drucker’s and Warren Bennis’ writings long before Peter Block coined the term.  It’s the old conundrum about true strength enabling someone to be weak, and weakness requiring someone to be strong. 
Power is an inherent force in every object and creature.  The Question is always how well it is used.  The better someone does, the more of it they generally acquire.  Much of business literature is about the seemingly ceaseless war between management and labor over the exercise of powers inherent in both, with labor decidedly feeling that they are being short-changed, or under-valued, relative to their importance.  Wherever potential power is not actualized, a stress point exists. You can pretty well tell in two sentences, talking with someone, how much true power they actually have, much of which they may be holding in abeyance and exercise judiciously, and conversely how much someone tries to pretend they have, over and above what they actually possess.  They can likewise tell—or should I say, smell—yours the same way.  We sense, watching Superman in the guise of meek, mild-mannered Clark Kent, that his immense powers are forever alert.  To the best of my recollection, he sometimes uses his X-Ray vision on the sly, to detect trouble before anyone else is aware of it.   
Since Odysseus returns to Ithaca disguised as a beggar, one would surmise that the importance of being able to change and utilize identities convincingly is as old as the ages.  Turns out, The Uniform Structure of Information delineated throughout the blogs, is also your guide for The Uniform Structure of Identities, as well as communicating, learning, and doing things innovatively.   The better someone can illustrate every point they make anecdotally, and the more relevant and dramatic those are, the less pressure is on them to be convincing, and the more comfortable they are in new or unfamiliar situations.  The more comfortable someone is, dealing with the rest of the world, the more comfortable the rest of the world tends to be with them,
Almost a year ago, I quoted the seminal psychologist, Alfred Adler, in “It’s Crying Time Again,” and alluded to it again in the first post this year, “What, Me Worry?”  Some people are able to use their fictitious secret identities to their advantage, to accomplish and exceed goals, while other get lost in them, unable to continually bring them to bear on reality.  Adler separated such people into neurotic and healthy categories.  I contend again and again that it is a matter of whether someone has mastered the skill of relating situations to others like them in reality, or lacking that skill.
Villains are no less famously adept at it, from Sherlock Holmes’ eternal nemesis, Professor Moriarty, all the way back to disguise being the chief weapon of the devil. I‘ve said it before, and you’ll probably hear it said again, gentle readers: Be careful what you wish for.

Stony Brook University Innovation Center, Stony Brook, NY 11794-3775

Phone: 631.632.7171
Fax: 631.632.8181