We’re better together
Weakness, conflict and doughnuts make for a perfect collaboration, says the Esquire guy
To collaborate with another person is to admit weakness. There’s no way of ge;ing around it. If you
weren’t in a position of weakness, you
wouldn’t need anyone else’s help. When
engaging in a collaboration, you’re saying,
I don’t know how to do this on my own.
You’re both saying that. You’re co-failing,
really. Which is the best way to start a
partnership. Because along with vulnerability comes trust. And trust is everything.
KEY TECHNICAL MATTERS
When collaborating, a period
of silence is an important
tool for resetting creativity.
Unless those notes strictly
Collaboration is 34 percent
less effective when done via
Unless it lasts for more than
30 seconds, in which case it
is a staring contest.
Especially if the doodling
involves concentric circles
symbolizing the rings of hell.
52 percent less effective
when done via phone.
Entrepreneur June 2012 20|
WHO TO COLLABORATE WI TH
There are two criteria. You want a peer,
obviously—you can’t have a true col-
laboration with someone who is above or
below you hierarchically. But more impor-
tant than a peer, you want a complement.
You need a Jobs to your Wozniak, a Hall to
your Oates, a rhino to your tickbird. You
want someone who knows as much as
you do, just not about the same things.
“The fact that I don’t have any techni-
cal background means I’m not impeded
by my knowledge of what it’s going to
take to build something, so I’m free to
just dream up features and ideas,” says
Cyrus Farudi, founder along with Omri
Cohen of Capsule, a web and mobile app
built for event planning, group interac-
tion and photo sharing. “Luckily, my
partner, who has a technical background,
has a very ‘yes, it can be done’ a;itude.
There have been screaming matches
when I’ve tried to get too involved in
something on the tech side.”
Related: It helps if your collaborator is
a person you don’t like all that much—or
at least is someone with whom you’re
always on the verge of arguing. Tension
can produce wonderful things. It has to.
“Collaborating is about co-laboring,”
says Nilofer Merchant, innovation ex-
Which is fine as long as your
goal is to innovate new
approaches to staring. Or
contests. Or the eyes. Or the
soul. Or inaction.
The best environment for
collaborating is neutral
territory: a conference room,
a coffee shop, a bar.
71 percent less effective
when done via literally yelling
across a divide.
Collaborate is a verb.
During a two-person
collaboration, the person
taking notes is slightly less
in charge than the person
not taking notes.
The worst environment for
collaborating is non-neutral
territory: your office, your car,
a 4-by-4-foot area delin-
eated by masking tape and
labeled “The MeZone.”
Coendeavor is not a verb.
Cothink is also not a verb.
Cocoa is sometimes nice
if you’re collaborating
during the winter.
ILLUSTRATION© CHRIS PHILPOT