Victus Spiritus


Design Philosophy: Orchestra vs Improv Jazz

15 Aug 2010


An orchestra is defined by their tightly structured organization. Each instrumentalist has notes and nuances laid out ahead of time. The orchestra practice together regularly to achieve a pure harmony of sound matching that of the vision of the original composer. Very little is left to chance, and artistic execution and timing are the highest priorities

Improv Jazz

Improvisation stands in stark contrast to symphonies. The artists begin with a rhythm or single melody and spontaneously create rich sounds with deep interplay. They predict what others will play, find their own rhythm, and merge the music to play off of each other. Watching improvised jazz artists perform is like seeing poetry in motion.

Founders and Product Leads Decide which Model to Work With and When

Will a new startup function more like an orchestra with the lead founders and investors dictating carefully worked strategies and plans? Or will the startup have exceptionally talented improvisational artists that can blend their creative energy together to produce results on the fly. Not every company has to fall into one camp or another, in fact most don't.

Certain tasks are better tackled by a rigid system with each contributor performing a precise move. Other problems are best solved by a fluid organization that can successfully predict and react to dynamic environment changes. At other times a fixed starting strategy evolves into an improvised solution. When a team is capable of determining which strategy to go with based on their own experience, founder leadership and advisory input the new venture prospers.

Alan G. Carter referred to these groups as gel teams, and they represent the most powerful productive force in tech today. When tech journalists and bloggers refer to talent grabs, you can bet the acquiring company is purchasing