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The Owls and the Bees

February 24th, 2014 by

owls beesOffice observation: There are two types of employees in every company. Owls and Bees.

Owls are creative types that thrive on solitude. These introverts hate open floor plans and environments where everyone can see one another. They prefer nooks and crannies to hide away, reveling in every moment, finding creativity and ideation from within.

Steve Wozniak is probably the most famous owl that’s walked the earth in my opinion. Inspired by a primitive computer called Altair 8800 and a group of uber-technocrats called The Homebrew Computer Club, Woz tinkered for months on his own, with Steve Jobs (the Bee) joining the fun. Woz wanted to give away the final product for free, but Steve convinced him to start Apple Computer.

Bees are social creatures, driven by a spirit of full-blast collaboration front and center. Wide open floor plans inspire crowd ideation, the more players the more, bigger and better the ideas.

Mark Zuckerberg is perhaps the Bee in FaceBook, leading the hive of social creators. But that’s a guess. Open floors, no doors and brainiac competitions were the core of the culture from day one. Brilliant coding after all is a team sport, right? And the product itself feeds on social activity of us all, like bees in the hive.

The smart companies recognize there is room for both. If you’ve got an owl working for you, let them be (not Bee). If you’ve got a hive full of social buzzers making great ideas happen, give them every chance to do just that.

In business, we need both. Let the bees be, and give a hoot for the owls.

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