Choose to Trust

Is collaboration a real thing, or will it always lead to a classic yes-man scenario, where a strong-minded individual gets an automatic yes from a subordinate? When do the most pure moments of collaboration actually happen?

We’ve been having these little in-house debates for awhile now.

In my mind, collaboration is when like-minded people come together to produce something that’s bigger than themselves, and I think the only way you get there is to trust the people that you are with. Collaboration takes trust and trust is formed in person. Working together is what makes a mighty river… or a mighty Voltron.


Working together is what makes a mighty river, or a mighty Voltron.

There’s something to be said about being in the same place at the same time, with the same temperature, same music playing, and the same energy in the room. That energy transfers from person to person as they observe the environment around them. There’s something about getting to know somebody and trusting them. Getting them to understand you so that they can collaborate with you more.

I just don’t think it can be replicated through, say, a video chat experience. We feed off of each other in kind of a weird, social way when we’re in person, that we simply don’t get from any other medium right now.

Did I mention our team is spread out between the Midwest and East Coast?

That’s right. We don’t get a lot of one-on-one time, or even in-person interaction time together. Everything we do happens across services like WebEx, Basecamp, or Google Hangouts; and even as we head into new platforms like Facebook Spaces, a recently announced VR chatroom opportunity, it still just isn’t the same as sitting around a table and collaborating together.

It’s clearly unique — and fun to talk about in our industry — because a lot of agencies have the luxury of being together in the same room all the time. We have the opposite, and it would be silly of me to ever sit back and complain about that. After all, as one of our co-founders, I made the company this way.

Why did I do it? Because without trust, collaboration doesn’t happen. Without collaboration, nothing good gets made.