Artist vs Hack

This blog is a sequel to my previous blog: Are you truly an artist? And this blog is not for everyone, it’s for you, the few dedicated ones. It’s for the few that have the ability to change the many!

And to provide you with a hook to continue to read on, this is what I’ll be talking about – “Find out whether you’re an artist or not”, ” You are an artist or a hack?”, “Is it bad to be a hack?”. 

Through this blog, first, I’d like to present to you Seth Godin‘s model of defining a failure, a hack, an amateur, and a professional. And then provide my views on it.

So let me get straight into it, introducing ( of course, if you knew this already, this will be refreshing your memory) you to Seth Godin‘s model:

In his book “The Practice“, Seth Godin talks about the origin of the word hack and then explains to us the difference between a failure, a hack, an amateur, and a professional.

In my words, a hack is someone who’s doing it for short-term gains – it may be money or fame, a hack is someone who’s doing whatever it takes to get part of the market whether it satisfies his creative quest or not, or his personal integrity or not. A hack does not care even about how his work can negatively impact society, as long as he’s benefitting from it. The hack is simply selfish, nothing more.

Basically, the hack’s path is the easiest one. The path that is the fastest and easiest to reap rewards is what the hacks choose.

Well, let me give you some examples, it might help you understand better. A visionless greedy politician, a greedy unethical businessman, mainstream media participants – it might be so-called ‘artists’ (who of course are not one) who exist to play the songs that already exist, tik-tokers that benefit from shaking half-nude bodies, YouTubers who exist for the sake of making videos that titles what’s trending the most, on and on and on. The list goes on.

The world is very highly populated with hacks. Especially after the advent of the easy-to-post digital app like TikTok and features like Instagram reels, YouTube shorts, etc. The whole world seems to be designed for them, for mediocrity, distraction, easy choices, quick results, selfishness, etc.

On the other hand, we have pure artists, they are pure professionals. [Of course, an artist can be an amateur ( please refer to the image above) too, but it’s anyway no way near to how hacks live their life.] But I truly believe that a true artist is one who belongs to that first quadrant – A professional who has a vision and persistently serves the audience.

Artists have integrity, have creative visions, and mainly, artists are someone who creates! And the word create is so clear and depicts novelty. You can’t create what is already created, you can copy it, and that’s the main difference between a hack and an artist. An artist creates. A hack mimics. A hack – copies, he imitates or even tricks his audience/consumers to get what he aspires for. 

You might ask me, so you’re saying it is bad to be a hack? And all the hacks are essentially bad?

Well, It’s not bad to be a hack. But please, don’t pretend to be an artist!

I’ve made my best attempt to describe who is an Artist and most importantly, who is a hack, and the power of choice lies with you, you choose!

And with that said, I would like to quote one of my favorite authors – Robin Sharma:




I hope that helps you make the choice!

Thank You,

Yours Loving,

Sanath Kumar Naibhi


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