Tag Archives: Art

Collaboration Kills Creativity

Work is always better when someone does it alone. Even when it’s bad.

The world is full of things made by committee. It’s because it’s efficient. I see this when I coordinate teams – of video game players, of writers, of marketers.

When everyone gives their opinion on a project, the project is completed with minimum fuss. It works, it’s safe. And it rarely is interesting. It’s never fantastic.

But when I give someone the autonomy to disappear for a couple of days and come back with something vomited from the depts of their soul?

It may be a failure, it may not work. It might be that nobody likes it. But you know it’s the real thing. It’s art. It was born of the song sung by a person’s soul, without interference from outside forces. And when is it good, when it does work? It is transformative.

Even if the interference comes from someone who knows more, who has better taste, who is more experienced and has more technical ability – it does not matter. Even if it is technically and artistically “better”, it loses the individual stamp, the personal commitment.

There are many companies claiming to be “failure friendly.” But they waste the potential of the concept. While proclaiming that there is no problem in failing, they make sure that all work passes through a sieve of consensus, to ensure quality.

There is a certain time for the peer group’s opinion, for the masters’ suggestions, for quality control by the boss. That time is after having a prototype built, a first draft done, a project tested.

The group helps you decide if it’s good, or if it’s bad. If it’s salvageable, or condemned. Whether it is perfect, or where it can be improved.

But the genesis, the act of creation, the idea – this has to belong to the individual.

Because showing our idea – or as close to reality as we can bring it – is a thousand times more precise than explaining it.


Part of what’s fun about of writing these daily essays is finding the right picture to publish alongside.

In a world of Facebook and Twitter and Instagram posts, of 24-hour news channels, it’s easy to forget that with a simple online search, we can look at hundreds of classic paintings.

Thirty years ago, these works were only accessible to a handful of connoisseurs with the means to travel around the world and visit the (sometimes private) galleries that hosted them. A book filled with replicas of a fraction of these works would be very expensive – too expensive for someone who merely wished to dabble, to enjoy.

We’re ever drowning in a flood of new information, new works, new products. The new, after all, is what sells. It is very difficult to make a profit by maintaining a free online art gallery with thousands of works. Keeping a Facebook page dedicated to the beauty of classical art doesn’t get the likes flowing.

But still, these two things exist; and many more like them.

A more beautiful life is within reach of anyone with an internet connection.

This is something worth being thankful for.

Painting: Minerva and the Nine Muses, by Hendrick van Balen.


You will never see the post that was meant to be here today.

It was written. And it was translated into another language. But it will never be published.

In a restaurant, you may think the chef is taking too long. But what you do not see is that he made the dish, and tasted it. And then, he dropped it in the trash and started again.

The chef will not present excuses. He knows you will be displeased with waiting for the meal, however good it may be. But he’d rather live with this than present a dish with which he did not feel satisfied.

There are things that you only realize won’t work after you’ve finished them. You realize they aren’t worthy of other people’s time and attention. To be clear, making them, the craft itself, that wasn’t a failure! This was a path that had to be traveled.

But after having the courage necessary to do the work, one must have the courage necessary to leave it unserved.

Painting: “Cook with Food”, by Frans Snyders