grool = cool + great
grool = cool + great
—from Jonah Lehrer over at The New Yorker comes this fascinating tidbit on Steve Jobs’ obsession with forcing his employees (Pixar, in this case) out of their cubicles and into the common areas.
His theory was that those chance encounters (i.e., bumping into someone and creating a knowledge spillover) WERE how work got done, especially in creative cultures.
Jobs soon realized that it wasn’t enough simply to create an airy atrium; he needed to force people to go there. He began with the mailboxes, which he shifted to the lobby. Then he moved the meeting rooms to the center of the building, followed by the cafeteria, the coffee bar, and the gift shop. Finally, he decided that the atrium should contain the only set of bathrooms in the entire building. (He was later forced to compromise and install a second pair of bathrooms.) “At first, I thought this was the most ridiculous idea,” Darla Anderson, a producer on several Pixar films, told me. “I didn’t want to have to walk all the way to the atrium every time I needed to do something. That’s just a waste of time. But Steve said, ‘Everybody has to run into each other.’ He really believed that the best meetings happened by accident, in the hallway or parking lot. And you know what? He was right. I get more done having a cup of coffee and striking up a conversation or walking to the bathroom and running into unexpected people than I do sitting at my desk.” Brad Bird, the director of “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille,” says that Jobs “made it impossible for you not to run into the rest of the company.”
Jobs’ theory tucks neatly inside a larger one called “the propinquity effect” that I’ve always loved, mainly because propinquity is such a fun word to say.
—but here’s what the word describes: The state of being close to someone or something… Proximity, in other words… and its effect can be seen in everything from the way coworkers often get too ‘close’ to one another… to the fact that major art movements tend to occur in dense urban cities (the Renaissance, the late 70s post-punk explosion in Manchester, UK, the literary expats of 1920s Paris).
Perhaps the greatest way to see the propinquity effect in action is through Jobs’ last great “and one more thing”: Apple’s ‘spaceship’ campus, where the massive circular-shaped structure has been designed to eliminate hallways, grids and (seemingly) linear approaches of all kinds in order to force employees to walk out of their offices and into one another’s minds.
Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself. I have been as sincere a worshipper of Aurora as the Greeks. I got up early and bathed in the pond; that was a religious exercise, and one of the best things which I did. They say that characters were engraven on the bathing tub of King Tchingthang to this effect: “Renew thyself completely each day; do it again, and again, and forever again.” I can understand that. Morning brings back the heroic ages.
I doubt I’d know who St. Vincent or David Byrne were without the internet. ☝️
if I could have sex with any food it would be pizza.
I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.