remote vs real

 

For all the remote, high functioning technology in the world - nothing takes the place of in-person, one to one conversation. Skype, Google Hangouts, FaceTime and every device in between are great, but not the same as some coffee and a notebook (or an iPad) and a few free hours to brainstorm, chat, discuss and listen... really listen.

I think that's why remote interaction is tough for me (and for a lot of people). Because we often don't listen well when we are remote. We are distracted by email, social networks, the next phone call and the perverbial pot on the stove... we don't pay very close attention to the person begging for our connection.

There are many priorities vying for our attention (and they may all be vitally important), but without that in-person connection to prod us into ignoring what we think is overwhelmingly important in that moment - the fragile connection is often lost. So much of the amazing work I've accomplished, be it in government or art or somewhere in between, has been over some sticky notes, a whiteboard, coffee or a glass of beer. I can't think of anything groundbreaking that I've thought of over a conference call. Sad, but hey, at least you know - I'm my best with some sticky notes and a sharpie!

Yes, we can close all the screens, mute the phone and turn down the stove, but the chemistry that is created one on one isn't quite replicable via webcam. Somehow I doubt it ever will be.