Friday, October 08, 2010 

Brains & Genius | Barry Krause Of Suite Partners

Within the last few days I've had the opportunity to meet (experience?) Mr. Barry Krause, the Queso Grande of Suite Partners of Chicago (left). In that short time I have: Jammed some tunes with him & his staff at his house (he's a drummer), tipped a few with him, met his wife & kids, seen him strategize an upcoming project with a fashion designer, watch him energize his staff, speak with him 1-on-1 until the wee hours, checked out two amazing showcase interactive spaces he created and - he introduced me to the CEO (I thought he said?) of Craftsman Tools. Of course there's more to the story (below), but in my view, the real headline is this: Could Barry an actual genius? And what is the best definition of genius, anyway?
I'm certain I've met at least one genius in my life: Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Years ago in Los Angeles, I had a pre-production meeting for The Rock & Roll Kitchen with him and his whatever-the-hell-he-really-was, his psychologist Eugene Landy. Although I understand Landy helped pull Brian out of his suicide spin, he proceeded to cross WAY over the line after that: controlling every aspect of his life, putting words in his mouth, dictating where he could & couldn't go... this vampire even had the moxy to start writing songs with him! But at least he seemed to recognize Wilson for what he is: the company they (Landy) formed was called (as I remember) "Brains & Genius." Which brings us to what I think a genius is, and why Barry Krause may be one.
To me, Brian Wilson is a genius not so much because of his songwriting, arranging and producing skills; it's because he had BOTH the brainpower/talent plus the ability to translate his gifts into tangible, measurable things that impacted his world and influenced others. Given that definition, Mr. Krause may well be a genius, too. 
Backing up a bit: Barry Krause & Suite Partners have created what appears to be a truly unique, forward-thinking, wild-west digital playground for Sears/Kenmore/Craftsman that directly targets and embraces social media, streaming video, and seems to hit the bullseye on acknowledging something I've known for a long time: Cooking & home improvement shows are entertainment first, education second.

I'm sure I'll touch on Barry's two showcase spaces later ( is one; not sure where to find the Craftsman space right now), but meantime, check out all the definitions of "genius" I found (below).

Extraordinary intellectual and creative power.
b. A person of extraordinary intellect and talent: "One is not born a genius, one becomes a genius" (Simone de Beauvoir).
c. A person who has an exceptionally high intelligence quotient, typically above 140.
a. A strong natural talent, aptitude, or inclination: has a genius for choosing the right words.
b. One who has such a talent or inclination: a genius at diplomacy.
3. The prevailing spirit or distinctive character, as of a place, a person, or an era: the genius of Elizabethan England.
4. pl. ge·ni·i (jn-) Roman Mythology A tutelary deity or guardian spirit of a person or place.
5. A person who has great influence over another.
6. A jinni in Muslim mythology.

[Middle English, guardian spirit, from Latin; see gen- in Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

genius [ˈdʒiːnɪəs -njəs]
n pl -uses for senses 5, 6, genii [ˈdʒiːnɪˌaɪ]
1. a person with exceptional ability, esp of a highly original kind
2. such ability or capacity Mozart's musical genius
3. the distinctive spirit or creative nature of a nation, era, language, etc.
4. a person considered as exerting great influence of a certain sort an evil genius
5. (Myth & Legend / Classical Myth & Legend) Roman myth
a.  the guiding spirit who attends a person from birth to death
b.  the guardian spirit of a place, group of people, or institution
6. (Myth & Legend / Non-European Myth & Legend) Arabic myth (usually plural) a demon; jinn
[from Latin, from gignere to beget]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

ThesaurusLegend:  Synonyms Related Words Antonyms
Noun1.genius - someone who has exceptional intellectual ability and originality; "Mozart was a child genius"; "he's smart but he's no Einstein"
intellectual, intellect - a person who uses the mind creatively
prodigy - an unusually gifted or intelligent (young) person; someone whose talents excite wonder and admiration; "she is a chess prodigy"

2.genius - unusual mental ability
intelligence - the ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience
coruscation - a sudden or striking display of brilliance; "coruscations of great wit"
pyrotechnics - (music) brilliance of display (as in the performance of music)
scintillation - a brilliant display of wit

3.genius - someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field
expert - a person with special knowledge or ability who performs skillfully
track star - a star runner

4.genius - exceptional creative ability
creative thinking, creativeness, creativity - the ability to create

5.genius - a natural talent; "he has a flair for mathematics"; "he has a genius for interior decorating"
endowment, natural endowment, talent, gift - natural abilities or qualities

Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2008 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

1. brilliance, ability, talent, capacity, gift, bent, faculty, excellence, endowment, flair, inclination, knack, propensity, aptitude, cleverness, creative power, GEnys (S.M.S.) This is the mark of her genius as a designer.
2. master, expert, mastermind, brain (informal), buff (informal), intellect (informal), adept, maestro, virtuoso, boffin (Brit. informal), whiz (informal), hotshot (informal), rocket scientist (informal, chiefly U.S.), wonk (informal), brainbox, maven (U.S.), master-hand, fundi (S. African), GEnys (S.M.S.) a 14-year-old mathematical genius
fool, idiot, dunce, imbecile, simpleton, dolt, half-wit, nincompoop
"Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration" [Thomas Alva Edison Life]
"When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him" [Jonathan Swift Thoughts on Various Subjects]
"The true genius is a mind of large general powers, accidentally determined to some particular direction" [Dr. Johnson Lives of the English Poets]
"Genius is...the child of imitation" [Joshua Reynolds Discourses on Art]
"If I have seen further [than other men] it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants" [Isaac Newton letter to Robert Hooke]
"Genius must be born, and never can be taught" [John Dryden To Mr. Congreve]
"In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts" [Ralph Waldo Emerson Self-Reliance]
"Genius does what it must,"
"And Talent does what it can" [Owen Meredith Last Words of a Sensitive Second-rate Poet]
"It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing" [Gertrude Stein Everybody's Autobiography]
"Genius is only a greater aptitude for patience" [Comte de Buffon]

A good or evil spirit, or demon, supposed by the ancients to preside over a man's destiny in life; a tutelary deity; a supernatural being; a spirit, good or bad. Cf. Jinnee.

The peculiar structure of mind with which each individual is endowed by nature; that disposition or aptitude of mind which is peculiar to each man, and which qualifies him for certain kinds of action or special success in any pursuit; special taste, inclination, or disposition; as, a genius for history, for poetry, or painting.

Peculiar character; animating spirit, as of a nation, a religion, a language.

Distinguished mental superiority; uncommon intellectual power; especially, superior power of invention or origination of any kind, or of forming new combinations; as, a man of genius.

A man endowed with uncommon vigor of mind; a man of superior intellectual faculties; as, Shakespeare was a rare genius.