Work alone

From Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, there’s this excerpt from the memoir of Steve Wozniak, the quieter and lesser known of the two Steves who founded Apple:

“Most inventors and engineers I’ve met are like me—they’re shy and they live in their heads. They’re almost like artists. In fact, the very best of them are artists. And artists work best alone where they can control an invention’s design without a lot of other people designing it for marketing or some other committee. I don’t believe anything really revolutionary has been invented by committee. If you’re that rare engineer who’s an inventor and also an artist, I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone. You’re going to be best able to design revolutionary products and features if you’re working on your own. Not on a committee. Not on a team.”

I do think that group work is overrated. Group brainstorming, even, has been shown to actually come up with fewer ideas than when individuals work on idea generation alone.

A team possibly can improve your ideas and offer feedback and new possibilities and enact plans to execute ideas, but the fundamental work is likely done on your own, in your zone.