More About the Author
Avid surfer and outdoorsman Dr. Elliot McGucken (Dr. E to his students!) attended Princeton University on the Judith Resnik Scholarship where he studied the foundations of relativity and quantum mechanics with the late Dr. John Archibald Wheeler. Dr. E's physics Ph.D. dissertation titled "Multiple Unit Artificial Retina Chipset to Aid the Visually Impaired and Enhanced Holed-Emitter CMOS Phototransistors" received several Fight for Sight and NSF grants, as well as a Merrill Lynch Innovations award. The technology, which was featured in Popular Science, NSF's Frontiers Magazine, and numerous other popular and academic journals, is now helping the blind see. Dr. E's trailblazing class The Hero's Odyssey in Art, Entrepreneurship, & Technology was funded in part by the Kauffman Foundation at UNC Chapel Hill and Pepperdine University.
BusinessWeek: Where Entrepreneurship Connects to the Classics . . . From Beethoven to Bob Dylan. . ."every artist is an entrepreneur," says Dr. Elliot McGucken.
The New York Times: McGucken's course (The Hero's Odyssey in Artistic Entrepreneurship & Technology) . . . rests on the principle that those who create art should have the skills to own it, profit from it and protect it. "It's about how to make your passion your profession, your avocation your vocation, and to make this long-term sustainable."
Jack Bogle: Founder and Former CEO of Vanguard: (Dr. E's) course The Hero's Odyssey in Artistic Entrepreneurship and Technology is an inspiring tribute to the relevance of classical ideals in our modern lives.
William Ferriss, former Chair of the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA): Many thanks for the impressive work that you are doing. I look forward to keeping in touch and commend you on the innovative teaching you do.
Dr. John Archibald Wheeler--Princeton University's Joseph Henry Professor of Physics--wrote, "More intellectual curiosity, versatility and yen for physics than Elliot McGucken's I have never seen in any senior or graduate student. . . Originality, powerful motivation, and a can-do spirit make me think that McGucken is a top bet for graduate school in physics. . . I say this on the basis of close contacts with him over the past year and a half. . . I gave him as an independent task to figure out the time factor in the standard Schwarzchild expression around a spherically-symmetric center of attraction. I gave him the proofs of my new general-audience, calculus-free book on general relativity, A Journey Into Gravity and Space Time. There the space part of the Schwarzchild geometric is worked out by purely geometric methods. "Can you, by poor-man's reasoning, derive what I never have, the time part?" He could and did, and wrote it all up in a beautifully clear account. . . .his second junior paper . . . entitled Within a Context, was done with another advisor (Nobel Laureate Joseph Taylor), and dealt with an entirely different part of physics, the Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky experiment and delayed choice experiments in general. . . this paper was so outstanding. . . I am absolutely delighted that this semester McGucken is doing a project with the cyclotron group on time reversal asymmetry. Electronics, machine-shop work and making equipment function are things in which he now revels. But he revels in Shakespeare, too. Acting the part of Prospero in The Tempest. . ."
In the appendix of Dr. E's award-winning physics Ph.D. dissertation was an early treatment of Moving Dimensions Theory which ultimately resulted in Dr. E's discovery of the Law of Dynamic Dimensions, written simply as dx4/dt=ic. Moving Dimensions Theory is the Holy Grail of physics, representing a simple, physical model underlying and thus unifying relativity, quantum entanglement, the second law of thermodynamics, time and all its arrows and asymmetries, and more.
Dr. E's photography--his epic landscapes, pro surfers, and exalted model goddesses (45SURF Hero's Odyssey Mythology Photography)--has received over 500,000,000 views while appearing on the newsstands in Nikon User Magazine, Resource Magazine, and other publications. His current gallery show "An Odyssey of Light," hanging in Los Angeles, celebrates the art, science, and technology of light. (http://elliotmcgucken.com ) In 2014, Dr. E donated numerous pieces of his limited-edition fine art photography to Los Angeles hospitals, including his ten-foot-wide triptych of Monument Valley titled "The Iliad, Odyssey, and Aeneid." Dr. E is currently involved with high-tech startups dealing with fine art photography.
Dr. E's 2007 standing-room-only SXSW lecture on Hero's Odyssey Entrepreneurship lead to his popular IT Conversations podcast interview with Tom Parish: "Tired of being a starving artist? Dr. Elliot McGucken's Artistic Entrepreneurship & Technology 101 puts together a new approach to entrepreneurship and the arts through a fascinating application of the classic journey of mythological heroes. McGucken, a physicist, has taught the class at both UNC Chapel Hill and Pepperdine, and has expanded the concept through blogs, a festival, and an upcoming book. . . In this interview McGucken describes how the course applies the structure of the monomyth, the fundamental pattern of the great hero narratives throughout history, from Odysseus, Jesus, and Buddha to Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and The Matrix. . . . McGucken even takes it a step beyond, using examples from modern real-life success stories like Richard Branson and Kid Rock. McGucken explains why the web's democratization of both the means of production and distribution can be used by the big companies to continue to exploit artists, or instead used by indie artists themselves who preserve their own rights in their successful journey. It's your choice, if you take it." (Please listen to the podcast for free!
- http://itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail1887.html )
Dr. E is currently writing a book based on his class detailing the parallels of hero's odyssey mythology and entrepreneurship titled The Hero's Odyssey in Arts Entrepreneurship & Technology.
While in high school, Dr. E received the Bausch & Lomb Science Award and William Tenney Scholar-Athlete Award at Firestone High. The Judith Resnik Memorial Scholarship (given to the top science student in Akron, Ohio in honor of astronaut Judith Resnik who passed on in the tragic Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster) helped him attend Princeton University, where he studied physics and creative writing, while studying with the Nobel Laureate Joseph Taylor and the late physics great Dr. John Archibald Wheeler--Princeton's Joseph Henry Professor of Physics.
Dr. E received the Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at UNC Chapel Hill, as well as an honorary membership in the American Association of Physics Teachers.
The New York Times: McGucken's course (The Hero's Odyssey in Arts Entrepreneurship & Technology) rests on the principle that those who create art should have the skills to own it, profit from it, and protect it. "It's about how to make your passion your profession, your avocation your vocation, and to make this long-term sustainable..." he says.
2010 Webster's Technology Quotations, Facts, and Phrases: Artistic Entrepreneurship & Technology 101 is an open-source course being offered by Dr. Elliot McGucken.
Business Week: The classics inspired America's Declaration of Independence, which McGucken sees as an entrepreneurial document. Life has a way of "calling us to adventure. . ." McGucken points out that that one lesson of the classics is, "Chance favors the prepared mind. Instead of viewing risk as a bad thing, we can also view it as a good thing."
Jack Bogle: Founder and Former CEO of Vanguard: (Dr. E's) course The Hero's Journey in Artistic Entrepreneurship and Technology is an inspiring tribute to the relevance of classical ideals in our modern lives. --Jack Bogle in his book Enough True Measures of Business, Money, and Life, Wiley 2008
Dr. E's research and patent applications on social networks, ecommerce, and digital rights management for artists, musicians, and creators are referenced in patents issued to Google (GOOG), IBM (IBM), Sony (SONE), Ebay (EBAY), and other leading entities in the realm of digital media and social networking.
Princeton Club of Southern California: Hero's Journey Renaissance Festival: Ideals in Innovation: The Hero's Odyssey Entrepreneurship Festival with Dr. E aims to provide students, artists, and entrepreneurs with the inspiration and tools to make their passions their professions--to protect and profit from their ideas--to take ownership in their careers and creations. This entrepreneurship event celebrates the ultimate Renaissance Man--Leonardo da Vinci--while saluting "hero's odyssey mythology" in the realms of screenwriting, videogames, film, academia, and robotics--robots inspired by da Vinci's designs.
Dr. E wrote the introduction to the 2010 book Disciplining the Arts: Teaching Entrepreneurship in Context by Dr. Gary D. Beckman, published by Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2010
Popular Science: A microchip studded with tiny sensors may give sight to the blind. . . Such a device must be small and have a constant power supply. The solution: a microchip the size of a match head, embedded with photosensors and electrodes that translate light patterns into electrical currents to stimulate the ganglion cells. . . Scientists Wentai Liu and Elliot McGucken are evaluating the microchip in the lab before human testing begins. (the retina technology is now helping people see)
Wake Forest University SEA: Dr. Elliot McGucken is a trend-setter in "artistic entrepreneurship" and entrepreneurial applications with new internet technologies.
Business Week: From Beethoven to Bob Dylan: "Every artist is an entrepreneur." So argues Dr. Elliot McGucken, a visiting professor at Pepperdine University, in an online video introduction to his course, Art Entrepreneurship & Technology 101, which has the professor lecturing from the shore of a small lake. Among his suggestions for artists who want to be more entrepreneurial: "launch a blog."
William Ferriss, former Chair of the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA): "Many thanks for the impressive work that you are doing. I look forward to keeping in touch and commend you on the innovative teaching you do."
The Wall Street Journal: After winning (the Merrill Lynch Innovations Grant Contest for an artificial retina for the blind titled Multiple unit artificial retina chipset to aid the visually impaired and enhanced holed-emitter CMOS phototransistors), he got to tour the New York Stock Exchange. Dr. McGucken caught the entrepreneurial bug. Eventually, he launched an internet company devoted to his longtime passions: writing and classical literature. . .The Web site is filled with Dr. McGucken's poetry and commentary and discussion groups on classic literature. "It's all written in a classical context with a Generation X attitude," he says. He sells ads to online vendors in fields ranging from life insurance to pantyhose and has a deal with Amazon.com that gives him a cut of sales generated by his site. . . HE HAS RESISTED the siren call of big business, although he has talked to venture capitalists and he almost sold out to a larger company before that company was taken over. Dr. McGucken wouldn't mind being part of a larger site, but he doesn't want to be a larger company. "If I was to try to squeeze huge profits out of it to please venture capitalists, it would ruin the spirit of it," he says. . .
I.D.E.A. to Exit: An Entrepreneurial Journey: Author and Professor Elliot McGucken, Ph.D. describes the entrepreneurial process to his arts students through an analogy to ancient literature. He describes the first stage of the entrepreneur and that of the classic "hero" story as a journey in which the hero, or entrepreneur, "embarks on a quest that requires separation and departure from the familiar world.. . . The entrepreneur moves into the unknown and the unproven. . ." Departure from the familiar is what keeps many from not exploring their entrepreneurial world at all. --Jeffrey Weber: I.D.E.A. to Exit: An Entrepreneurial Journey, p. 3, (Published 2010 by Mill City Press)
The University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business: The art of entrepreneurship: There is an increasing attention on the concept of artists as entrepreneurs emerging globally -- artists are becoming more business savvy and finding new ways of sustaining their artistic livelihood. Artists of all kinds are applying their creativity in new ways as businesspeople, and proving that it is possible to leave the "starving artist" notion behind in favour of the "business savvy artist." In the US, the New York Times recently picked up on this trend, and in a feature presented some successful artists changing the game. According to Elliot McGucken who teaches the course Artist Entrepreneurs at the University of North Carolina, the advancement of business skills "rests on the principle that those who create art should have the skills to own it, profit from it and protect it. . . It's about how to make your passion your profession, your avocation your vocation, and to make this long-term sustainable," he says. This business imperative to the world of the arts has become all the more important in the past year, as the recession has not left the art world unscathed . while most of the media attention is on corporates, the plight of the arts is an important issue that needs addressing as well.
Book Magazine: Ex-prof takes love of literature online: After earning a Ph.D. in physics from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and getting a teaching post at nearby Davidson College, McGucken quit to devote all his time to--what else--his Web site. . . a "classical portal," a huge index of chat-rooms, essays and poetry--each with a literary theme. A quick tour reveals a number of McGucken's own poems as well as live discussions for fans of everyone from Daniel Quinn to Herman Melville to Sylvia Plath to Joseph Heller. "I want to bring the classics to life for my generation. . ." It all ties in nicely with North Carolina's Outer Banks, one of McGucken's favorite haunts...
Go Into the Story: The Web's #1 Screenwriting Blog: The Hero's Journey as entrepreneurial model? GITS reader and long-time friend Richard Rumble sourced this interesting site that uses The Hero's Journey as the basis for teaching entrepreneurship. At first, that might leave you scratching your head, but check out this outline from the website: Artistic Entrepreneurship 101 Outline: Structure (based on wikipedia's monomyth): The executive summary of your artistic business venture.
Dr. E's The Hero's Odyssey in Arts Entrepreneurship & Technology
* 1.1 Departure (or Separation): Taking that first step--blog your vision.
o 1.1.1 The Call to Adventure: Artistic passions & dreams
o 1.1.2 Refusal of the Call: Is it practical?
o 1.1.3 Supernatural Aid: Use the force, Luke. The harder you work, the luckier you get.
o 1.1.4 The Crossing of the First Threshold: Business structures / market research
o 1.1.5 The Belly of the Whale: The business plan, raising funds, intellectual property
* 1.2 Initiation: Building the team, incorporating
o 1.2.1 The Road of Trials: Striving toward profitablitity
o 1.2.2 The Meeting with the Goddess: First customers! Early success!
o 1.2.3 Temptation: Seeking short-term profits over long-term wealth.
o 1.2.4 Atonement with the Father: Competing or collaborating with the big guys--the Microsofts and Apples, the Hollywood studios
o 1.2.5 Realizing the core business Apotheosis
o 1.2.6 The Ultimate Boon: Newfound business acumen!
* 1.3 Return: It is all for naught without the road back!
o 1.3.1 Refusal of the Return: Don't lose site of the core business!
o 1.3.2 The Magic Flight: Exit strategy! IPO or selling the company!
o 1.3.3 Rescue from Without: When business competition is your best friend.
o 1.3.4 The Crossing of the Return Threshold: The venture is a success!
o 1.3.5 Master of Two Worlds: You know what it takes--like Richard Branson you can do it again.
o 1.3.6 Freedom to Live: Financial freedom to pursue your dreams!!
--Go Into the Story: The Web's #1 Screenwriting Blog
ARTS ENTREPRENEURSHIP: HOW TO BE A HERO
by Mike Vargo
The 2007 Kauffman Foundation's Thoughtbook reported on Dr. E's summer 2006 interview: Elliot McGucken has an artful way of teaching entrepreneurship to artists. He explains the entrepreneurial process, for instance, by comparing it to the classic "hero's odyssey" in myths and epics. Typically, in the first stage of the story, the hero embarks on a quest that requires "separation" or "departure" from the familiar world (here McGucken finds strong parallels to the decision to start a company) -- and after many twists, the odyssey ends with the hero's "return" (exit strategy). . . . "Every aspect of classical story, including antagonists, mentors, reversals of fortune, and the seizing of the sword from the stone, may be found in the realm of entrepreneurship," McGucken claims. And there's more. The college course he designed -- open to students in any major, working in any of the visual, literary or performing arts -- mixes classical concepts with cutting-edge practical advice, such as how to use open-source DRM (digital rights management) to keep the ogres from snatching your profits. . . . The course is called Artistic Entrepreneurship and Technology 101. First offered this past spring at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, with support from the Kauffman Campuses Initiative, it has drawn rave reviews from students. The core message of AE&T 101 is that "ideals are real," and in fact are practical: that you don't have to choose between being a starving artist or selling out. By starting a venture of your own that combines high artistic standards with sound business principles, you can "rock your dreams," McGucken tells students; he says that in the arts as in business, pursuing "fundamental value" pays off. . . McGucken began his career in science. In the late 1990s he was a promising young physics researcher with a faculty position at Davidson College. But he wrote on the side and had long loved classical literature, from the Greeks to the great novelists. Feeling that these got too little attention nowadays he had launched a Web site, jollyroger.com, to host online forums about the Great Books and to offer his own commentary. And lo, the quest drew eyeballs. Before long, he says, "the advertising income from jollyroger was more than I was making from my professorship." . . . By the 2005-06 academic year McGucken was involved with several more arts-related Internet ventures while teaching physics part-time at UNC in Chapel Hill. There the Kauffman Campuses mission to teach entrepreneurship in all fields inspired his creation of the AE&T course, which immediately had the look of an idea whose time had come: more than 110 students applied for 40 seats. . . . Those chosen included undergrads from the liberal and fine arts, plus artistically oriented computer-science students, MBAs, and a law student. They combined their skills on projects, actually starting arts ventures or moving them along. Some showed up with ventures well under way, like Will Hackney, a freshman with over a dozen local bands signed to a record label he'd started in high school. Pierce Freelon, an African-American Studies major and member of a hip-hop duo called Language Arts, was branching into ventures ranging from a Web site on "blackademics" to the design of a hip-hop curriculum for K-12 schools.
Don't Count on It! Reflections on Investment Illusions, Capitalism, "Mutual" Funds, Indexing, Entrepreneurship, Idealism, and Heroes : "Vanguard: Saga of Heroes (Chapter 23) presents a very different interpretation than you might expect from its title. This chapter is based on a lecture I presented to Pepperdine University (CA) students, at the request of Professor Elliot McGucken, as part of his course The Hero's Journey in Arts Entrepreneurship & Technology 101. "Dr. E" relies heavily upon such classics as Homer's Odyssey and Dante's Inferno, and honors me by including with these classics my own The Battle for The Soul of Capitalism. This essay focuses on Vanguard's odyssey, a voyage punctuated with challenges, narrow escapes, and ultimate fulfillment. I conlude by urging introspection upon our financial leaders, an idea that failed to get much traction back in 2007 when it might have helped. But these leaders were simply making too much money, taking too much risk, and showing too little concern about the crises then building. . . -p. 436: "It's no mean task to measure up to the high appraisal of my career that has been so generously expressed by Dr. Elliot McGucken. That he has, remarkably, placed my 2005 book, The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism, on the same reading list as The Odyssey--let alone the same planet!--adds even more to my burden in meeting the expectations of those who are aware of this background. . ." --Vanguard, Saga of Heroes, p. 469, Don't Count on It published 2010 by John Wiley & Sons
Elon Magazine: Visionary Research: Elon Professor Wins Award for Work on Restoring Sight to the Blind: At first glance, assistant physics professor Elliot McGucken doesn't fit the image of an award-winning scientist. With his youthful expression and rumpled, casual clothing. . . But when McGucken talks about his work, a different picture begins to emerge. Beneath the low-key exterior is an experienced, cutting-edge researcher. To McGucken, scientific inquiry is as much art as it is science. "You have to keep an open mind and a broad persepective," he says. "The best insights you get happen outside the lab. . . McGucken's insights recently won him a $20,000 innovation grant from the Merrill Lynch Forum in New York. His contributions towards a design for a computer chip-based implant aimed at helping millions of people with retinal blindness won second place in a compettion that drew more than two-hundred proposals from sixty countries. . . People using the device woul wear a special set of eyeglasses, McGucken syas. The chip set, weighing only a few grams, would enable them to see simple shapes and movements and read large print.
The Charlotte Business Journal: If we're short of geniuses, Dr. Elliot McGucken can likely help. McGucken is a newly recruited physics prof at Davidson College, but that's just half the story -- literally. For fun, he has another hobby: a modestly successful literary and classics Web page . . . It's successful enough that The Wall Street Journal highlighted McGucken's dual roles . . . He's also shopping a recently completed novel ("it has a lot of classic literary references") and wrapped up a stint playing in a grunge band in Chapel Hill. With some understatement, McGucken, who has a doctoral degree in physics/electrical engineering, says the range of activities ensures a career no matter how perilous the academic world becomes.
The News & Observer: THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG HACKER Elliot McGucken, a physics professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is just back from an open-source software conference -- the conference on Open Source Content Management, or OSCOM -- at Harvard. While there, McGucken and his colleague Blake Waters discussed Authena, an open-source program for artists, musicians, photographers and authors. Authena allows creative types to sell their work online while controlling their rights to the material. Connect's Christina Dyrness caught up with McGucken -- who also started the Web site www.jollyroger.com, which is devoted to classic books -- on the Chapel Hill campus and tried to get him to talk about Authena, which is a project sponsored by the Durham-based Center for the Public Domain. Q. Let's start at the beginning. What is Authena? A. It's about the application of open-source to the arts. And it also kind of ties into the rise of the artist hacker. Because when you look at the Linux operating system, it's all created by hackers.
The New York Times' "Cybertimes" reported: "Would Joyce have written in annotated hypertext? . . .Ironically, the medium developed as a way for a handful of privileged scholars to exchange ideas over long distances has evolved into a medium for the masses to share their scholarly -- and singularly valid -- ideas of great works. Joyce, who distrusted the voice from on high, would have loved it. . . And whether the academics accept it or not doesn't matter; because the dialogue that's developed online on the subject of Joyce and the likes of Melville, Fitzgerald, Camus, Shakespeare, and Hemingway adds instantly to the understanding of literature simply because of the depth of the online debate. It is simply unprecedented. . . .In addition to discussing literature, you can preview and e-mail a Great Thoughts Greeting(TM) Shakespearean sonnet on the Jolly Roger site. . . ."While it has often been tough to find good conversation in the bars and cafes around Chapel Hill, it has never been so on our Web sites," says Elliot McGucken, president of the North Carolina-based Kill Devil Hill site, named for a hill on Cape Hatteras and billing itself as "The World's Largest Literary Cafe." "We are now serving over 1,000,000 page views a month, and the day has long ago passed when we were able to keep up with all the interesting posts and cool conversations." That's certainly an understatement. KillDevilHill.Com and two related sites -- Western Canon University and The Jolly Roger, two avowed pro-Western canon communities that make little room for modern literature -- teem with discussion, the kind that goes well beyond freshman lit 101. On the Mark Twain discussion board, a visitor wonders aloud about the "aspects of nature" in the Royal Nonesuch performance in Huckleberry Finn. There are arguments over William Shakespeare's childhood in the Shakespearean section. Over on the Herman Melville board, posters discuss Ahab's use of the sea chart as a controlling mechanism and Ishmael's artistic nature." -- http://www.nytimes.com/library/cyber/nation/120597nation.html
Dr. E's soon-to-be-produced screenplay The Legend of McCoy Mountain & The Gold 45 Revolver, based on his novel of the same name, has received numerous honors and awards including:
*Burbank International Film Festival Best Adapted Screenplay
*Hollywood's PGA Producers Guild of America Producers' Showcase
Semifinalist: Hosted by Walt Disney & ABC Entertainment Group
*Winner: Second Place Screenwriting Award at the Los Angeles Film, TV,
and New Media Festival.
*Finalist/Official Selection Beverly Hills International Film Festival
*Runner-up Hollywood Reel Film Festival
*Semifinalist in the LA Film, TV, & Webisode Festival
*Winner: Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood Merit Award
*Finalist Nevada Film Festival
*Hollywood's Producers Guild of America PGA "Producers Showcase"
Semifinalist: Hosted by Sony Pictures
*Movie Script Golden Brad Winner 1st-6th Rounds
*Top-5 Finalist of the Dixie Film Festival in Athens, Georgia
*Finalist/Winner in the Yosemite International Film Festival
*Semifinalist and Official Selection of New York's Independent
Film Quarterly Film & New Media Festival
*Los Angeles Art House Film Festival Honorable Mention
*Official Selection/Finalist Columbia Gorge International Film Festival
*The 2011 California Film Awards Honorable Mention
*The Colorado Film Festival Honorable Mention
*Top-4 Finalist in the Los Angeles Sunset Film Festival
More information regarding Dr. E's odyssey may be found at http://elliotmcgucken.com & http://elliotmcguckenphotography.com
All the Best on Your Epic Hero's Odyssey!