The Creativity 50 Speaks Out

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Grant Achatz
Grant Achatz
Chef Grant Achatz, on creativity: "Creativity, for me, is simply processing information that is around you in daily life through a specific filter. My filter happens to be food and dining. Everything that I touch and see and hear and literally taste and feel I relate to food and to eating."

Turner Duckworth's Bruce Duckworth, on marketers' way of thinking: "Often I think marketers and our clients spot the marketing gap. Rarely do they ever spot the design gap and often there is a design gap in a market. You can do something simple or rather opposite to create the difference, something unique you remember."

Jonathan Blow, on storytelling in games: "The stories that are presented [in games] are nearly never, by that I mean 99.999% of the time, stories that you derive any value from. It's kind of like porn where the story is an excuse to have the game. And it gotten so bad that even developers that thought they were writing engaging and cool stories still end up with this terrible schlock because they've grown up and played years and years of these games that don't do anything storywise."

Jason Fried, 37signals
Jason Fried, 37signals Credit: Photo by Jess Gorriti
37Signals' Jason Fried, on productivity: "I think everyone would be better served if they cut what they were doing in half and got it done. We have this saying, 'Build half a product, not a half-ass product.' Nobody likes to work on long projects; it's not part of the human condition. People don't like to work on things that don't end. It's frustrating to be working on something and not seeing the end of the tunnel. Our products could do a lot more, but we're better off just getting them out there, seeing what people really want, and doing that. I think one of the reasons companies get bogged down in these big projects is paranoia, they think you can't release something that's simple; it's just not good enough, it needs to be complicated to be good. And then, companies are really bad at saying no. They think everything has to be yes. When you say yes to everything it gets bigger and bigger and bloated and more bloated."

Google Creative Lab's Aaron Koblin, on his influences: "I grew up with computers in my life from a young age, and grew up with art and music and punk rock, that whole sense of humanity and rebellion and thinking of systems and how you can use systems to talk about systems. In a way, sometimes you can use the mediums themselves to comment on the mediums, where you're using the system itself to get people to think about the system."

Aaron Koblin
Aaron Koblin
Ge Wang, from apps maker Smule, on technology and human nature: "In some sense, you can look at the phone as a miniature, smaller version of a laptop, but in a sense the phone is more of a laptop than a computer, if you look at mobility. In the end, there's a lot of technology around us, it's just as important. I like to think technology is something that comes and goes. Human nature is something that changes a lot more slowly than technology."

Comedian Zach Galifianakis, on what creativity is: "To do something very dumb in a clever way or do something clever in a very dumb way." On what makes him laugh: "I really like to watch people misunderstand one another. I like to watch my friends who I know are so very funny struggle on stage. I can connect with it very closely. I also like watching the ad for a company called 'Tax Masters'—their president/spokesperson has the aura of a styrofoam cooler."

Rick Webb, Partner, Barbarian Group, on the company's creative structure: "We have creative directors the same as any other company, but we brainstorm every project together. The person that gets assigned a project exhibited the most leadership and passion during that process. Whoever's assigned to it is interested in it. We [work with] a wide range of agencies now going from financial to real estate all the way down to cool brands. People are interested in different things at different phases of their lives so it makes it really nice. You can have a 21-year-old kid work on an energy drink and somebody like me on The Economist and everybody's happy. Nobody's stuck working on something they don't have passion or experience for."
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