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You get by with a little help from your friends

There are two ways to start/be a great creative business - "the group of experts" and "the group of friends".

The advantages of the group of experts are obvious. The chief one is their ability to compete with organisations many times their size. Because, in the creative industries at least, once you get larger than seven experts, you tend to be adding support staff rather than more experts. Some combination of ego, business sense, the desire to do your own thing and human/business dynamics means these things fall apart if they get too big. They either suffer from talent dilution if they grow, or bitterness and stagnation if they don't.

Ideally, the group of friends would also be a group of experts, but you can't normally have both. If Ringo had been a better drummer and a worse friend, then The Beatles wouldn't have been as good. When a business like this is working, nothing feels like work. When it's not, it's like being trapped in a horrible marriage.

The group of friends model fails, too. But the reason I like it is that the home-base is important. And that's where I think the group of friends wins over the group of experts. The experts tend to be loose, untied, uncommitted to a place or to each other. The friends like hanging out together, so they build a great place to hang out - a good, welcome environment. And, I suspect, a good environment is a huge contributor to the success of a good creative business.

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