What businesses can learn from Peter Lik

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I’ve  been watching a new show on, believe it or not; The Weather Channel. The show is called From the Edge and it features one of my long time favorite photographers, Peter Lik. (Just for the record, the show should be on The Travel Channel. And if I had my way, it would be shown between Anthony Bourdain’s, No Reservations and Dhani Jones, Tackles the Globe ) Now, it’s safe to say that I prefer unconventional art, favoring more textual shots. Nature shots just aren’t me. @peterlik is the only nature photographer I appreciate.

I really like the show and I’m sure I’d appreciate it even more if I were a photographer. I watched the shows tonight as he went from Death Valley to a wintery Montana and thought about what businesses can learn from Mr. Lik.

  • Versatile landscape – Peter doesn’t focus on one type of landscape. He’s not a desert guy. He’s not an ocean guy. He finds beauty in all aspects of the ecosystem. Businesses need to think about todays ecosystem and how they’re business may be able to take advantage of the amazing explosion that I’ve referred to as the Splinternet. In other words your business could be an iPad-centric business. Or a smartphone business. Or a Facebook only business. Think about your business model and where it fits into the ecosystem and create something beautiful.
  • Personality – Mr. Lik is a smart ass and does not hold back during the show. (I’m patiently waiting for the outtakes.) Social media has exposed the inner workings (employees) of your business and don’t be afraid to show yourself. It will attract people who like you and would like to work with you. It also pushes those clients away that really don’t want. That way you won’t have to fire them later!
  • Timing – The thing that becomes apparent as you watch the show is that there is a lot of waiting. He’s waiting for the light to be just right based on what he’s taking a picture of. Timing is one of the – if not the – key ingredients to his photography. Timing is just essential in business. It’s not easy to tell if the time is right but it’s easy to tell when it’s wrong. Do as much research as you can to figure out if the market is where it needs to be for your new offerings
  • Love the process – Business is not only about the end goal. It’s the journey of getting there. Peter will take hours to get the right spot for the perfect picture. Sometimes it simply doesn’t work. The shot just isn’t there. But he doesn’t lose interest in what he’s doing. He sees it as being a part of the process. Tailor your processes to your business model. Stay as lean as you can and enjoy the day-to-day. After all you do spend most of our time at work. Embrace it.

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I'm an Associate Teaching Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently focused on artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, biking, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive and/or surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and the art that tattooing has evolved into.

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