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“Is This Dylan Or Is This Donovan?”

At one point during my conversation with Mark Stevens, he mentioned one of his favorite scenes from Don’t Look Back, the D.A. Pennebaker documentary about Bob Dylan. It’s a moment when Donovan comes into the room, picks up a guitar, and plays a perfectly nice song, and then, as Stevens recalls it, “Dylan rips the guitar of his hands almost before he’s finished and plays ‘Baby Blue.’” It’s a powerful metaphor, he says, for the things we do in our daily business lives, and the difference between mediocrity and excellence. “It’s like, this is Donovan, and we need to get to Dylan… But it’s hard to be Dylan!”

So that’s something to think about in terms of the project you’re working on: “Ask yourself,” Stevens says, “is this Dylan or is this Donovan?” (But, before I get a ton of hate mail coming in, being Donovan can be a good thing! Especially around “Atlantis” time.)

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