in·ti·mate

i think there’s something to intimacy. even though it’s almost certainly the wrong word for what i’m talking about (i really mean something closer to a gender-inclusive-bromance).

nonetheless, i want to make a case for it. and i want to make a case for it in terms of the creative process. and in terms of engineering as one such example of this process.

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arguably, the greatest philosophical work of the last 100 years, “A Thousand Plateaus,” was written by two men, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guatarri. just after Felix’s death, in a letter to Kunicchi Uno titled “How Felix and I worked together”, Gilles Deleuze wrote:

Our differences worked against us, but they worked for us even more. We never had the same rhythm. Felix would sometimes complain that I didn’t respond to the long letters he would send me: it’s because I wasn’t up to it, not at that moment. I was only able to use them later, after a month or two, when Felix had already moved on. And during our meetings, we didn’t dialogue: one of us would speak, and the other would listen. I refused to let Felix go, even when he had had enough, and Felix kept after me, even when I was exhausted. Gradually, a concept would acquire an autonomous existence, which sometimes we continued to understand differently (for example, we never did understand “the organless body” in quite the same way). Working together was never a homogenization, but a proliferation, an accumulation of bifurcations, a rhizome. I could tell you who came up with this particular theme or that particular idea, but from my perspective, Felix had these brainstorms, and I was like a lightning rod. Whatever I grounded would leap up again, changed, and then Felix would start again, etc. and that is how we progressed.

the success of nearly all my projects can be largely attributed to, and maybe even presupposed by a similar working dynamic.

it’s no secret that I’ve made my career as a kind of open source Garfunkel, having the opportunity to work very closely with first [@ded](//twitter.com/ded), then [@mdo](//twitter.com/mdo), then [@sayrer](//twitter.com/sayrer), and most recently [@maccman](//twitter.com/maccman).

in creative partnerships you need to be secure enough to tell someone when they’re fucking up, while also trusting enough to listen to their objections and take them seriously. doing so means an ally when everyone is against you and a critic when everyone is on your side. it means exposure to new territories and new insights. and it means longevity through a sort of mutual accountability.

you will learn SO MUCH. and you and your project will be better for it.

such relationships have produced some of the most important creative works in human history, from the first successful flight, to the worlds most successful search engine.

in my experience, getting someone involved initially has always worked out better than starting a project alone (and certainly better than bringing someone on later). conversation being the catalyst for truly creative gestures.

what has your experience been?

 
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