Friday, March 18, 2005

welcome to wonkaville

Ok, let's do an experiment:

Take someone who is intelligent and creative, and give them a coveted design position in their chosen field. Then lock them in a cubicle for three years of 16-hour days during which six layers of middle management compete to crush the soul, kill the dreams, and stifle the creativity of the hapless designer.

Just as a theoretical example, for instance, let's say that designer is me. Watch as I lose faith in humanity, lose interest in my field, and quit my job (essentially retiring from my field) after three years because stress-induced nerve damage is causing me severe chronic pain and limiting my ability to move (essentially retiring me from life).

Now, a different experiment: take a designer and put them in fucking fairyland. Have break rooms that are more coherently themed than the sections of Disneyland, and let the designer choose what sort of space they want to work in, even if that means they want to work in rows of little cottages. Then step back and watch them be awesome. Let's call this company 'Pixar', and watch their happy little designers crank out success after success.

At Penetrode, management felt that 'personal items' in the cubicles would distract worker drones from their slavish tasks. At Pixar, they do everything they can to keep the designer from encountering anything that doesn't directly inspire happiness and creativity. Which company do you think is doing better?