Why It’s Important to Share Your Shitty Ideas.
Adam Long
8910

Yeah, people put way too much stock in being right all the time — or at least not being wrong all the time.

I’ve got crippling social anxiety problems, but somehow I’m pretty comfortable sharing potentially-shitty ideas with my co-workers. Maybe it’s just that my co-workers are open to that sort of thing, or maybe I’ve cultivated a public perception of myself as a sort of idea factory — if one doesn’t work, I have 10 more behind it.

Arguably the most important thing I learned in design school was how to give and receive honest, non-judgmental criticism, and most of my fellow designers & artists are also more open about criticism than many other people I’ve encountered, because we know that nobody gets better by hiding their work from criticism.

I’ve even learned to hold myself back from criticizing the work of non-artists, because many people don’t know how to deal with honest criticism. They identify with their work, so criticism seems like a personal attack to them. (See also: politics.) Most people don’t know what the phrase “kill your darlings” means, and how important it is.

To that end, another very important thing I learned in design school was to make many different attempts and iterations of ideas, even if you think they’re good.

Also, I often find myself taking on the role of the devil’s advocate. It’s good to have someone willing to say “what if we did X” when everyone else is saying you should do Y. But you’ve gotta be sure that people know that’s what you’re doing, or you may come off looking like an asshole.