Why Obsessives May Hate Scheduling Meetings
I remember at Harvey Mudd College I would often be really interested in really specific technical topics and go through great difficulties to talk to anyone about them, especially the professors. Many of the engineering professors would be out during all of the convenient times for me (after 5pm M-T, and most of Friday because most seemed to be out consulting). Sure I could schedule meetings, but that didn’t feel right. I wanted to walk in and start talking.
It recently dawned on me what very quick discussion was so important to me. It was because I knew I would loose interest quickly and wanted to get my thoughts out while they were with me. I would often hours or days on end obsessing on an issue, and all of it was fresh and new to my memory right then. Scheduling a meeting a week after would throw everything off. Not only was it not convenient, but I had no way of knowing what I would be interested in the next week. I notice this now. I plan meetings about partnerships, then get really excited about product development and loose interest in the meetings. It makes it really hard to hold discussions with other people in the area. Therefore it seems very important to have a large variety of people in my general vicinity that will handle my somewhat unpredictable interests while being close enough not to have to schedule an appointment any more than a few hours away.
Fortunately I’m living with 17 other smart people in Rise SF, which definitely is a plus. But the location is restricting (Twin Peaks, SF) and I don’t interact routinely with large groups of people outside the house. Maybe this is one reason why building 20 and similar tightly packed intelectual networks work so well. Even if people can meet each other doesn’t mean it will be convenient; them being able to stop in at a whim may be significantly more efficient and productive. This way they can discuss what they are interested in, in the moment they are interested in it.
More information on Building 20 here, toward the end. It’s a fascinating read.