Our brethren over at ERE have a intriguing blog post today by Mark Bregman about the difficultly recognizing top talent titled, Violinist in the Subway — Can we Recognize Talent? It’s a good question, and something you should be talking about in your own organization.
Perhaps you have heard the story: Internationally acclaimed concert violinist Joshua Bell once agreed to don street clothes and play his $3.5 million dollar Stradivarius violin in a Washington D.C. subway station, as a social experiment, sponsored by The Washington Post. (Watch the video on YouTube below.)
Lots of “what-iffing” and supposing was done in advance. What if he is recognized and a huge crowd gathers? What if he went unrecognized; wouldn’t people still recognize his extraordinary talent and the difficult pieces he was playing, and stop in their tracks to listen?
So what happened? Bell played six difficult pieces, for a total of 43 minutes. No one applauded after the pieces ended. A crowd never gathered. A very small number of people recognized Bell, and commented to him, but didn’t really linger. He collected $32.17 in his open violin case, but included in that was a $20 that one admirer gave him. By the way, Bell took a cab back and forth to his hotel, not because he’s lazy, but to protect the valuable violin.”
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