The Truth About Collaboration
THE TRUTH ABOUT COLLABORATION.
When I think of Collaboration, I immediately go to music. When an artist wants to stay relevant they “feature” their faces off. In a recent conversation with an incredible songwriter (whose name I will leave out for the sake of looking cool), they said, “Collaborations are hotter than singles right now, I can think of 5 songs I’ve presented to artists who have asked me to restructure the songs for features or duets.” And as I checked the charts today, (May 13, 2020 when this was written) I am delighted to see a milestone of 4 black female hip hop artists holding down the #1 and #2 spots on the Billboard top 100 charts. Not solo — through collaboration.
This got me thinking…
- ARE. SOCIAL. ANIMALS. We’re wired that way — we thrive in the presence of other humans, where we can play, work and generate ideas together. So why are schools teaching younger and younger kids how important it is to beat out the competition? So. Short. Sighted. Perhaps they’re learning from us: All too often, women compete against each other rather than unite in support of one another, while men are guided to work alone to achieve greatness.
In reality, collaborations are one of the BEST ways to build your brand, get your name out and work with people who will teach, inspire and learn from you. Creating cohesive collaborative projects takes courage and trust, but successful collabs can result in really amazing outcomes. I can think of several, but Virgil Abloh, King of Collabs, comes to mind first. Everything his brand touches, from Ikea to Baccerat, turns to gold because he understands the power of association. I mean for fuckssake, who hasn’t Off-White collaborated with at this point?
I’ve learned a good bit about successful collaborations from my own experience. Take these and FLY. You will not regret it.
Find Your Pod
Collaboration is an intimate process. Yes, we want collabs that are awesome and mind-blowing, but don’t just jump into one with the next willing body. Do your research. A collaboration should be a melding of two (or more) ideals to create something greater than the sum of its parts, otherwise known as a mastermind.
First, figure out your audience. Knowing their demographics, psychographics, behavioral patterns and location is critical. Now, align yourself with influencers with overlapping audiences. You both want to give your fans something they’ll enjoy, so put some thought into how your brands complement each other. If you have a fitness brand, maybe you want to collaborate with a great nutrition brand.
I used to hate the adage “It’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big one.” What will bridge the gap? Let’s stay in nature on this one.
Humpback whales were a childhood obsession of mine, more on that another time (you must have missed my 1-hour presentation on marine wildlife, Thanksgiving 1985). They have developed an ingenious method of cooperative fishing called bubble-net feeding. First, hunting members of a pod form a large circle deep below fish and krill. The whales then blow a cylindrical wall of bubbles as they swim upwards in a spiral path, confusing the fish and krill, who then concentrate at the surface, making an easy feast for the whales.
It’s simple: We’re stronger together. When you find people with similar goals, your combined skills and efforts can reach a synergy that serves all — where everybody eats. So find your pod, share what you know, help others and you will be helped in return.
Comunicado es Muy Importante.
Talk, chat, express, whatever — just make sure you’re SAYING what you BELIEVE. And lookout for this danger zone: communities that think exactly alike. I’m telling you, that is a slow death. Communities that challenge your ideology but align with your values, catalyze growth. Being open and transparent from the outset about goals will set the relationship off on a good footing.
- Your objective – WHAT
- The reason for your objective – WHY
- Your strategy for achieving your objective – HOW
WHEN? Now. Stop putting it off. So much amazingness starts to happen when you find compatible partnerships.
Don’t be afraid to share your ideas and look like a clown. Remember what I talked about in Women Don’t Talk Like Me, from blog 1 of The Talie Experience: Everyone wants to feel heard like they matter and their work matters.
Know your strengths and weaknesses. I know, I’m not good at details. Do you think that this site would be complete and utter sickness (smirk face) if I didn’t have a team bouncing ideas off each other, editing this shit and designing graphics for me? Hell no. We all exist in this society together, and we all have special strengths that can add value to someone else’s life. I can scan someone’s profile or business and know very quickly, sometimes within seconds, which direction to take. It’s a superpower, and I use it to bring me toward people with different superpowers for the ultimate collaboration.
We’ve all been fed this sack of shit about how to get ahead in life: run in the rat race and beat everyone else.
Well, I’m sick of racing and I don’t want to beat you, I want to join you. We’re all in this together. Each one of us has extraordinariness at our disposal. Each one of us has something special to contribute..
So my challenge to you? Carry out a detailed self-assessment. Figure out what you have to offer from your own personal toolkit. Maybe you’re the one everyone comes to for advice. Maybe you have amazing photography skills. Maybe you’re a fantastic chef. Whatever it is, it’s part of your superpower set.
Take that skill, grow it, nurture it, and offer it out to the world. List it in the comments below! Open yourself up to new opportunities, and connect with us on Instagram. Let’s collaborate, share ideas, and get stirring that glorious melting pot of creativity!
Diddy, another King Collaborator, said it best: “Think about what’s best for the song, not the solo.”
Competition is out. Collaboration is in.