Why You Want a Prize (Really)

Why is it that even after 30, 50 or 80 years we still admire feature films that have won an OSCAR? Is it because they’re really good (by whatever measures) or because they’ve won a prize, or maybe in between? When we look at all the other films from any given year, we’re not feeling the same way, are we? You’ll always find some flaw in them, and sometimes, you’ll even find the whole thing shabby, having poor image quality, bad sound design, a cheap score, what-have-you.

But in the day the film was new, it was different. And that’s what we forget when looking at whatever product, but especially ones that are more or less art — not only are they influenced by fashion trends of their genre, but of course also of production standards at their time. Today your $99 mobile phone shoots video with better image quality than a camera that cost $50,000 twenty years back. Today your $300 PC can (technically) help you create a more lavish sound design than a full-fledged studio in the mid-90s.

This applies for other areas as well. Only eight years back, you cold earn a lot of respect with web programmers when you developed your own CMS. Not today, because it’s an unnecessary effort — there’s more than a dozen free systems out there, why start from scratch?

How about your work? Are the things you’ve done and achieved worth acknowledging by today’s standards? Has the bar that used to protect your field of expertise lowered in a way that pretty much anyone can compete with you? And has the bar that marks outstanding results raised so high you hardly come close? And which is worse?

When more or less everything becomes ubiquitous, when everything is always available in one form or another, when scarcity is not a problem to deal with anymore, you’re way better off when you have managed to earn a prize with what you done, no matter when, it won’t really lose any of its shine. Even better when this one prize has a tradition and still exists today. It helps you stand out, makes you a winner, not only of the award, but overall, and for a long time to come.


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