Marketing lessons from Leonardo Da Vinci

Da Vinci, a genius unrivalled, still.

I know, this is a VERY random article. You’re probably thinking ‘huh, Leonardo Da Vinci, the geezer from Ubisoft’s Assassins creed and Tom Hank’s Da Vinci Code? What does he have to do with marketing, SEO, social media and PPC ads?’

But, you’re right. I probably am ‘reaching’. I wrote this on my phone on the plane back from Venice after spending hours in the Leonardo Da Vinci museum.

And, it got me thinking,

Do we have the capacity to rival men like him, now? Will we ever see anyone or anything like him? Can we learn anything from Da Vinci that is relevant to modern-day and, in particular, the lives of marketers?

I think my answer is yes. So, bare with me…

Who was Da Vinci?

Leonardo Da Vinci:

  • a renaissance innovator,

  • jack of all trades, master of most,

  • artist,

  • engineer,

  • military genius,

  • scientist

  • and more.

Labels do no justice, for a man that, in one lifetime, lived hundreds, and in 50 years, progressed 500.

Bringing a god down from his lonely pedestal and back amongst men.

This is crucial, in order to understand Da Vinci, and to decipher what lessons we can learn from him.

Myself, and many psychologists and/or historians, are firm believers that Da Vinci was the embodiment of ADHD.

As are almost all those like him, that built and discovered everything we use, know and do.

How can they not be? Indeed, at least it is something to consider.

There’s no doubt that, beyond the immeasurable genius, Leo would have experienced imposter syndrome, mental illness, physical illness, threats, public and diplomatic hatred and hell he probably shat himself a few times.

We’ve all been there. We’re all human – which he found out.

‘In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has come and the first of that which comes, so with present time…’

In 1489 – Da Vinci began obtaining skulls to dissect and study the internal workings of man. His theory was that there was a ‘common sense’ meeting point that he considered the seat of one’s soul – which is, in fact, the nervous system.

Da Vinci was the first to depict the human muscles, blood vessels, organs, nerves and more. He was particularly interested in facial expressions and why and how they occur. This specific focus allowed him to conjure the infamous smile and forever-following eyes on the Mona Lisa.

He performed these studies into the body and brain during his time in Florence and Milan around 1510. However, from 1514, these studies were abruptly stopped due to accusations of necromancy from those who didn’t like Da Vinci. Cancel culture is a constant in history, it seems!

These are just a couple of examples of innovations that pushed humanity forward that don’t even touch the surface of his genius.

But, how was he able to do these seemingly random things, with ease…

Da Vinci’s secret, and the actual point to this post

Da Vinci, like marketers, spun dozens of plates at the same time.

However, unlike most, he did it successfully.

What was his secret? The flywheel.

The flywheel was the key to Da Vinci’s engineering.

Flywheels hit a moment of inertia, and when reached, they reduce the amount of strength needed to preserve energy.

da vinci flywheel

Now, obviously, marketers are not engineering projects.

However, we can still see a flywheel as a theory and tool that can be implemented in different areas, too.

So, here is your food for thought: what is your flywheel?

What can you implement, today, in your business, marketing campaign or general day-to-day life that will allow you to reach a state of inertia and keep up your momentum and speed while preserving energy and strength.

Implementing the flywheel approach is exactly Da Vinci’s secret, and it can be yours, too.

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