You don’t have to like new art, but it helps to understand it

When John Cage published 4'33'', a piece of silent music, there was much consternation. Years later, it's still easy to joke about the absurdity of a piece of music consisting of four minutes and thirty three seconds of silence.

And when the first internet companies that proposed free as a business model (free email, free social networks, etc.) started to gain traction with investors, there was an even louder chorus from those that cried foul.

When (part of) your marketplace embraces a 'new' that makes no sense to you, it's essential you understand the point of view that's leading people to embrace this new idea. No, you don't have to cheer it on, collect it, support it or pretend you think it's the greatest breakthrough ever. But yes, you probably need to understand why other people were touched, inspired or found something worth talking about.

Can you explain to me why some people wait in line for that car or that new restaurant? Do you understand why this person is being talked about online or promoted at work? Does it make sense to you that this canvas sells for five times as much as that one?

Denigrating art you don't understand doesn't hurt the art–it reveals something about your willingness to learn.