Sunday, October 17, 2010

Leave me alone.

I happened upon these sentences in 3-time Pulitzer-winner Thomas Friedman's column in today's New York Times and they hit me like a ton of bricks. Friedman is a progenitor of "the world is flat." And he's someone whom I usually respect, but what's below rubbed my goat the wrong way:

"The logic is that all of us are smarter than one of us, and the unique feature of today’s flat world is that you can actually tap the brains and skills of all of us, or at least more people in more places. Companies and countries that enable that will thrive more than those that don’t."

I'll be blunt.

When it comes to ideas, I hate collaboration.

I hate everybody adding to an idea.

I hate the idea that all of us are better than some of us.

Apple is not a product of group-think. Nor is Virgin. Nor are successful companies, countries and politicians.

There are times of course when you need to listen to others. Take their pulse and consider other povs. But good work, good thinking, good ideas synthesizes imputs and decides alone what is right and good.

I don't want to live in a Twitterocracy.


Tore Claesson said...

I think you're right George. Just to take but one example from our (banal) ad world. After the first batch of the classic VW ads was put together it became easier to do more of them, and easier to apply the philosophy to a generation of ads for many other brands. Only one person can come up with the first ad, the original idea, the thing that starts a tide. After that many can contribute. Lots of people can write the tenth ad or improve on a design. Even though the many can contribute to something to make it bigger, better, more, whatever, it takes one to come up with the first. And of course, the chance that some is capable of coming up with something new and unique might be higher if many are working on the same problem. But. It's not the collaboration or even the crowd as such that is key. It's the one that stands out in
the crowd. And it doesn't take a crowd for that.

KL said...

Couldn't agree more. Years ago I took apart in a team building exercise where you rank ordered things you'd need after a moon landing accident, so that the next lunar module could rescue you, there was a "right" answer from NASA. One other guy and I got much higher scores on our own than we did later in the groups. (Contrary to the point of the exercise.) When asked why we didn't raise our team scores, we'd both gotten tired of arguing with boneheads in our respective committees and checked out. Consensus is way too often lowest common denominator, and group-think yields a mediocre average.

Unknown said...

In radio talk-show speak, "First time commenter, long time reader."

I couldn't agree with your post more. As a creative, nothing annoys me more than seeing a good piece of work watered down by clowns lacking the first clue as to what constitutes an effective spot.

Anonymous said...

i couldnt agree with you more. with tore claesson, kl and terrance as well. even with anonymous. except its last sentence.

collaboration can be good. but only if the idea comes first, not the ego.