Thursday, April 14, 2011

A glass nugget on success via the individuals on the team

Does a team succeed because of an individual, or does a team succeed because of the team?


There's been a lot of chatter about Noah Glass, the so-called lost founder of Twitter. Some people may be misled by the hype to believe that Noah Glass invented Twitter and then Ev Williams stole it from him. But that is NOT what Glass said in the Business Insider Interview:

To not be included in the story was hard to swallow at first, but when I realized what was happening to the product, this thing I helped create, the thing's not about me. The thing's about itself. Twitter is a phenomenon and a massively beneficial tool and it's incredibly useful and it helps a lot of people. I realized the story's not about me. That's okay....

That's a thing I want to reiterate - you're trying to look for the full story. Some people have gotten credit, some people haven't. The reality is it was a group effort. There were lots of people putting ideas into and it couldn't have been done without this group of people. Whether or not there's individuals who get credit or don't get credit, that may be totally irrelevant. It was a collaboration. And it was almost a collaboration that came out of necessity.

So even Glass is saying that the Twitter story isn't all about him. So maybe we should swing the pendulum the other way and say that it's THE TEAM that matters, and the individual doesn't. Take a look at the Denver Nuggets:

What the Nuggets have achieved since the whole fiasco surrounding shipping Carmelo Anthony off to the New York Knicks for what most assumed were just spare parts has been nothing short of amazing. This club (50-32) has gone 18-7 since ridding themselves of that particular distraction, and has almost proven itself to be better not worse as a result of it.

This is how Alex Groberman of Opposing Views describes the recent success of the Denver Nuggets. And this is not the first time that the mere presence of a superstar has appeared to hobble a basketball team. Bpth LeBron James and Kobe Bryant have been accused of tanking games. Those who believe that they purposely tanked the games claim that they did so to display how little support they were getting from their teammates. To my knowledge, Carmelo Anthony was never accused of tanking a Denver Nuggets game, but many have noted how the Nuggets are playing better without a superstar on the team.

But let's return to what Alex Groberman says. The mere absence of Carmelo Anthony is NOT what guaranteed the Denver Nuggets' success:

With eight players averaging double figures now, Denver appears to be more versatile, explosive and fluid in their offensive game play. No more standing around, watching the ball come to a halt as Anthony tries to go one-on-five for George Karl’s team. Now, everyone is a willing participant, and everyone has a role to play. Worth noting, by the way, is that the Nuggets improvements aren’t limited to the offensive end. They have become noticeably better on the defensive side of the ball since shedding Anthony, and that has impacted their newfound success just as much, if not more than their offensive capabilities.

So the issue is not the presence of a superstar. The issue is a more even distribution of work that allows all to participate.

The Lakers, with or without Kobe Bryant, will perform better if all of the players are involved and contributing. It's harder to defend against five people than it is to defend against Kobe alone.

Twitter, with or without any one of the key players, will perform better if the entire organization is involved in the undertaking. It doesn't really matter which founders are in or out, provided that the founder who are left - or whoever else ends up running Twitter - take the time to solicit ideas from their staff.
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