Generalist

My experiences and skills are broad, general. At the museum I would introduce myself as a generalist, even though I’d spent most of my studies on the 20th century — I did have quite a few Northern Renaissance / Medieval credits too. When developing gallery programs, I looked to the experts in the field to shed new light on works of art and bring them to life as only a true specialist can. Tell us all of the secrets and help us understand what it was like when this was made, how did this impact society, and how can I relate to it?

As a game designer, I covered everything from end-to-end, ideation, concept, through to release and updates, but I made sure to hire a better game designer to level the games. I relied on his expertise to fill in my gaps; I had no qualms about hiring someone who would destroy all my scores. I could handle the client and moving the game through the milestones to release, but I couldn’t pretend to have his XP. Same with the art director. My philosophy was that they could only make me better, fill in my gaps and make the entire team better.

When building teams, we often look for compatible skills. I think it is too easy to fall into the default mode of looking for people just like you. You identify with them, project your situation and experiences, make assumptions. By looking for different experiences and deeper levels of expertise, you can broaden your own understanding. As a team working closely together at the game studio, we could anticipate each other’s moves and points of view, but we could not replace each other. As much as we had internalized about each other through working back-to-back crunch-times, we still relied on the specific skills and expertise unique to the person. As many gallery talks as I attended on Indonesian textiles, Carol was still expert. I would never stop learning from her and the incredible wealth of knowledge that she had gathered over a lifetime of study.

I’m okay with being a generalist, because I understand the value of specialists.

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