Almost everyday I’m reminded of where I came from and what inspires me by a poem framed in my office. It’s called “In back of the real” written and signed by Allen Ginsberg. In college, I worked at the San Jose Center for Poetry and Literature and had the privilege to meet Allen and several famous poets. As a student, I envisioned a day when my writing might also transform how people see the world and inspire change. Living in San Francisco during the 90’s, my job in publishing quickly led to the Internet. The burst of the DotCom Bubble (see graphic below) prompted a move to New York City and a career as an analyst covering digital marketing technologies and companies such as Google that were rapidly disrupting traditional media.
Most of my time was spent helping businesses and then investors understand the competitive threat, future market opportunity and business models of emerging technology companies and how they might reshape our future. I quickly understood that research and data are critical to understanding new businesses and building influential narratives. Communications backed by research and data created new opportunities, opened minds and transformed traditional perceptions.
Having recently relocated back to San Jose, I hung the framed poem in my new office and read it with a fresh pair of eyes. The poem refers to the hay flower as the “flower of industry” which many interpret as an allegory for the working person. It’s also called a “tough spiky ugly flower” but a “flower nonetheless.” (No wonder the name and URL were available!) Reading further, the poem ends on a positive note for the hay flower, which I interpret as the power of perception “…with the form of the great yellow Rose in your brain! This is the flower of the World.” I believe it’s our perception, the great yellow rose in our brain, that represents the beauty we choose to see in the world. Even as the flower of industry lays on the “asphalt highway,” a flower nonetheless, there is promise. While industry can be tough, spiky and even ugly, we have the ability to change our perception and our place in the world.
There is no better way to change perceptions than finding and communicating the truths we discover through research and data. There is promise in changing how we build and perceive the future of industry and our place in it. Research and data help translate the vision of emerging technology into reality and empower us to shape a better future, drive fundamental change and inspire action. This is where the poem ends and where Hayflower begins.
In respect of U.S. copyright & artists’ rights in general, In back of the real can be read here: