The following is a modified amalgam of popular posts from Steve’s blog, Build a Better Box.
It’s time for a barn raising. A roll-up-your-sleeves, work-up-a-sweat, grab-a-hammer-and-get-busy barn raising. Part Habitat for Humanity, part Monster Garage. Except the “humanity” is our industry, and the barn we’re raising is our craft; the thing that will feed us, shelter us, keep us sane.
Hundreds of years ago, some of my ancestors came over on the Mayflower. There were no “jobs” but plenty of work to do. They were not concerned about competition; they were concerned about collectively lending their skills and labor to prosper and grow. When one ate, they all ate. When one needed shelter, they all pitched in to build a house. They raised barns. They were a team in every sense.
Flash forward almost 400 years. A little while back, while speaking at a meeting for an industry organization, one of the questions that the group pondered was, “Why are we here?” The group loves to network, hang out, and eat free food. But one of the primary personal agendas of nearly all networking and industry groups is, of course, to make connections and collaborations that lead to valuable and rewarding work.
I said, “Let’s play a game. It’s called ‘Gilligan’s Island.’ We are all the survivors of a massive ship wreck, a ship called The S.S. Creative Agency. The agency – in all its big-box splendor, with 15,000 feet of gleaming steel and chrome furniture, pinball machines, and door after etched glass door of offices – can no longer sustain itself and shuts down. And we are the marooned marketers and creatives washed ashore on an island. What do we do?” The silence was deafening, and hit close to home for many.
“I’ll tell you what we do: we keep creating. We create because that’s what we do. We never stop, no matter what.” It sank in – you could see it in their faces.
As restless marketers and creatives, we can’t sit still. We collaborate. We make stuff. Every day, the smartest of us raise barns. Barn raisings that say, “If we build it, they will come.”