Sunday, April 17, 2011

Teams and Collaboration

I've had a perspective shift recently in regards to the power of an individual in the context of high achievement. I used to really believe in the strength of a single powerhouse muscling his or her way to what they wanted to get. One influence was the work of one of my favorite authors, Ayn Rand. The heros in her books tend to be the types that just totally kill it in their crafts and the value of them as the central driver is really played up… to a large extent, this IS mega important.

But I've been noticing more and more that the people that are real beasts at what they do are always surrounded by other people who are at their same level. Not necessarily in the same craft, but on the same or higher level at what they've chosen to do.

Related teamwork, here's the video that inspired me to get me thoughts written down about this from Kelly Cutrone of PR firm, People's Revolution. Even though it's related to fashion, it's so obviously applicate to anything else:

Just because I've recently really been into the song "Government Hooker" that Lady Gaga debuted at the Theirry Mugler show a month or so ago, I'll take her as an example...

Now even though there are people who say she has no talent, I also feel that some people always have a negative knee-jerk reaction to pop music. Hell, I have it with country music, so I can't be all that judgmental.

However, Lady Gaga's someone who, from a musical-talent standpoint (i.e. on-pitch vocals, accurate sense of rhythm, etc), has it. However, there are a lot of super-talented singers… Akon signed her (and presumably advised her related to the business side of music), she has Nicola Formichetti working with her for styling, and has producers like RedOne collaborating with her for musical direction.  An all-star team...

Here's the result of that collaboration and teamwork (plus of Sébastien Peigné, the designer working with Nicola at Mugler now). Each excelling at their strengths: Peigné and Formichehetti excelling at designing and styling the clothing, Gaga providing amazing vocals and getting the crowd riled up and hooting DURING the show and all set to tracks of a sound shaped RedOne:

No one is an island...

I remember like six years ago that a person's income is an average of the five people he or she spends the most time with. I think not only is that applicable to income, but to everything: tolerance, intelligence, fitness and health, creativity… We tend to become our peers so it's important for me to consciously select my "team" around me.


  1. i would like to pose the question of cause and effect for the final two statements in the blog: can the assertion be made that the income is a results of the people with whom you surround yourself? or are you more likely to surroud yourself by the people that are most similar to you and your achievements: be that income, lifestyle (encompassing many of the characteristics mentioned), etc?

    now the next question that branches from there: are people most likely to stay "friends" wih people that do not share common interests of common benefit?

  2. i guess you have to consider if you think that you act the way you do because of how you are naturally or because of outside influences. my perspective right now is that almost everything we think comes from the ideas we picked up from someone else and we absorb those perspectives into our mind, blend them together and decide they're our own original thoughts. so i think our environment shapes us waaay more than who we naturally are. however, since we're able to think and be conscious of it, we can use it to our advantage.

    related to friends, people usually change and evolve over time and if two people evolve in the same direction, then i see no reason why they wouldnt stay friends. but if someone changes in a way thats really in opposition with the other person, like they adopt a philosophy thats really judgemental when the other person really values a more relaxed outlook, then the two people wont see eye to eye on a lot of other things and the relationship may kinda fizzle out as they pursue their own paths

  3. funny i saw this right after writing that, but here's an example of mike motherf-in tyson, easygoing and humble now, talking about how important his peer group was to him recently:

  4. in regards to the influences of life and their structuring the latter individual, i would venure to say you are correct; that they mold not only the person's decisions directly, but the values that build the body of discourse that spans from the chosen language to the "style" that the physical body presents. thus an enjoyment for me now more than ever in the considerations of arts (including) fashion and then the softer fashions that are taken up by the masses. one interesting thing to me is the actual use of the human body as a text - clothes, facial hair, tattoos, weight-lifting, obesity - as a way to visual present what also has verbal equivelents. the most interesting is when there is a duality in discorse, a collision of the visual and the aural. they are almost like two friends that decide unknowingly to head different directions even as they attempt to ride in the same passenger car. (allí fue un disparato total al hispano)coming back from the non-linear tangent of conflict between two of the multiple sides of an individual...

    the first question was admittedly leading and its tilt was that of a certain determinism: social determinism, if you will permit the generic phrase. the initial places of interaction (ie. the home, the school, etc.) are significant places of an individuals social identity (gender, socio-economic, etc.) so the choice of who your friends are or who your team is more often than not depends on previous influences and your acceptance or rejection of the accepted norms of social development. in short, i agree that groups are one of the most important foundations for developing genious. you have to look no further than the literary and artistic movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries (just as Lady Gaga) to see the power of the group development.