The New Renaissance: Why It Pays To Be A Master #IndustryTips


“All great acts of genius began with the same consideration: Do not be constrained by your present reality.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Controversial rapper/producer/fashion designer Kanye West has long proclaimed himself to be a ‘renaissance man’, a phrase used to describe a person with outstanding talent and versatility in many areas. Which begs the question, does a modern day renaissance man with the brilliance of Leonardo da Vinci actually exist in our time?



Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most famous renaissance men to ever live. He is best known for painting the Mona Lisa and was an accomplished painter/architect/engineer/theatrical producer. Born in 1519 during the Renaissance, a French term meaning rebirth to describe a period between 1400-1600 when new thinking around the rediscovery of classical Greek philosophy became manifest in art, architecture, politics, science and literature.

Childish Gambino recently blew the world away with the release of the, ‘This Is America’, music video. Better known as Donald Glover, the actor/writer/singer/rapper, captivated global audiences with one of the most provocative pieces of visual art witnessed this decade, garnering a record breaking number of online views. Amazing as the music video is what struck me even more deeply was Donald Glover’s ability to bring this level of talent to everything he does. Could he be the modern day renaissance man so many try but fail to be? With a display of such seamless effort between each of his disciplines why is it still a taboo be, ‘a jack of all trades’?

‘Slash worker’, is a term coined by author Marci Alboher to describe the increasing number of people who follow multiprolonged careers. After all who do you know who isn’t an artist ‘slash’ producer ‘slash’ graphic designer ‘slash’ DJ? In her book, One Person/Mulitple Careers, Alboher recommends developing slash careers over time stating it is better to deeply immerse yourself in one career and master it before taking on another ‘slash’.

“Whatever you are, be a good one.”

The danger in doing too much too soon is you become that person who does many things without mastering any of them. For too long having multiple career titles revealed a person who dabbled in many things without being great at any of them. This stereotype is flipped on its head when you have the discipline to do one thing really well until it is mastered. This means putting your all into each thing you do to become truly accomplished at whatever you put your hand to.

In the last two years we have seen a dramatic uplift in the popularity of UK urban music, with expansion in other areas of business and the creative industries. Could this mark a new renaissance which will be remembered for centuries to come, and if so how will you master multiple talents to inspire future generations?

get really good 
see patterns
remain curious

Deb McKoy is the Founder and Consultant at Peppergrain Ltd, London, UK. LinkedIn Twitter