Sunday, June 14, 2009


As I’ve said many times before, my philosophy of producing is simple: Hire good people. Leave them alone. Take credit for what they do.

When you follow those steps, you’re invariably more successful than you are on your own.

And considered much smarter than you actually happen to be as well.

A lot of people in this business and many other endeavors follow a different strategy. They make sure they’re the smartest people in the room.

And they do that either by not hiring people who appear more intelligent, skilled or talented than they are; or having hired them, make sure their lights stay hidden under a bushel for fear of reprisal, ridicule or the just to make their own lives easier.

The trouble with that approach is that people who are smart – are smart. And eventually they go to work for the competition and punch your lights out.

A few weeks ago, Trevor Cunningham, a pretty smart guy who lives and works in Winnipeg, posted a video on his blog that completely blew me away. It was one of the most thoughtful and intelligent explanations of what’s going on in contemporary television that I’ve ever seen.

I’ve been back to Trevor’s site to watch it several times. And then I decided, “Why send him all this traffic? Post it on your own site where a whole bunch of people who haven’t been smart enough to discover Trevor’s place yet will think I’m the really smart one who found it.”

Wait, did I just say that out loud?

Actually, the guy even smarter than Trevor or me here is Clay Shirky, an American writer and consultant on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies who teaches New Media at NYU.

This is a guy who believes “The Internet runs on love” and coined the phrase "cognitive surplus" to describe the time freed from watching television which can be enormously productive when applied to other social endeavors.

This speech from the 2008 Web 2.0 Conference is stunning on almost too many levels to count. I mean, I ran out of fingers in almost no time.

You’ll be a whole lot smarter once you’ve watched it. And then you can find even better ways to enjoy your Sunday.

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