Friday, November 6, 2009

Ignoring Everybody

Today I found another piece of inspirational writing, although this one is hilarious too. I am reading Hugh MacLeod's very excellent Ignore Everybody, a little book about the creative process. Part of it is on Hugh's own website, and I urge you to go and take a gander, but I would like to reproduce a snippet right here, so that you don't have to scroll all the way when you're there. This is one of the truest oblique descriptions of corporate life I've ever had the pleasure to come across. Thank you Hugh; you're, once again, spot-on.

Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with com­panies that champion creativity. Nor can you bully a subordinate into becoming a genius.

Since the modern, scientifically-conceived corporation was invented in the early half of the Twentieth Century, creativity has been sacrificed in favor of forwarding the interests of the “Team Player”.

Fair enough. There was more money in doing it that way; that’s why they did it.

There’s only one problem. Team Players are not very good at creating value on their own. They are not autonomous; they need a team in order to exist.

So now corporations are awash with non-autonomous thinkers.

“I don’t know. What do you think?”

“I don’t know. What do you think?”

“I don’t know. What do you think?”

“I don’t know. What do you think?”

“I don’t know. What do you think?”

“I don’t know. What do you think?”

And so on.

Creating an economically viable entity where lack of original thought is handsomely rewar­ded creates a rich, fertile environment for parasites to breed. And that’s exactly what’s been happening. So now we have millions upon millions of human tapeworms thriving in the Western World, making love to their Powerpoint presentations, feasting on the creati­vity of others.

What happens to an ecology, when the parasite level reaches critical mass?

The ecology dies.

If you’re creative, if you can think independently, if you can articulate passion, if you can override the fear of being wrong, then your company needs you now more than it ever did. And now your company can no longer afford to pretend that isn’t the case.

So dust off your horn and start tooting it. Exactly.

However if you’re not paricularly creative, then you’re in real trouble. And there’s no buzz word or “new paradigm” that can help you. They may not have mentioned this in business school, but… people like watching dinosaurs die.
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