Personal Identity and the Smashing Pumpkins

Question: What do the Smashing Pumpkins and the concept of personal identity have in common?

The answer is Billy Corgan. Let me back up. Tonight I’m going to see my favorite band of all time, The Smashing Pumpkins, after waiting 16 long years to see them in concert for the first time. That’s right, I’ve been waiting since I was 10 years old. So back to the question. How toes personal identity correlate with the band leader of a popular 90’s alt-rock band? That question came to me as I was pondering how much of my own personal identity is tied to Clever Web Design.

Back in 2000, The Pumpkins disbanded and Billy Corgan formed a new band, Zwan. He was compelled to continue making music and carry on what the Pumpkins were but it just wasn’t the same. So a few years later he announced that the Smashing Pumpkins were getting back together (with only 2 of the four original members coming back). Soon after, the other original member besides Billy left the band but the Pumpkins carried on with Billy as the only remaining member. The takeaway here is that The Smashing Pumpkins, at least to Billy Corgan, were far more than the sum of four musicians creating music under the same name. The name and the idea of the Pumpkins was a deeply ingrained piece of Billy Corgan’s identity and to leave or in any way lose the Smashing Pumpkins would be to lose a piece of himself.

And that little anecdote describes exactly how I feel about Clever. I’m a web developer by profession, an entrepreneur by passion, and an artist by design. Clever allows me to channel those three things through an outlet that gives me a sense of meaning and purpose. If I were to ever lose it I would lose a part of myself which is why I fought so hard against looking for full time work outside of the business.

Unfortunately, I think I know somewhere deep down that Clever has to die one day. I don’t believe its sustainable at least not while my situation continues as it is now.

So this isn’t really about a solution to anything. Just the realization that my company is tied very deeply to my own personal sense of identity and how it reminds me of how the Smashing Pumpkins are tied in very much the same way to Billy Corgan’s identity.

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