Thought Starters

The Clog VS The Sock: Does collaboration alone yield optimal results?

How many stories have you read about how important collaboration is to generating the best results?

I might get a few naysayers that will say not everyone achieves the best results in a team environment or as collaborators. It does depend on the context and it does take a variety of approaches to get the best ideas but imagine, as an example, how the music industry would have changed without the Lennon/McCartney, Page/Plant or the Jagger/Richards collaborations and what the rest of their band (team) helped them create.

What’s important about the musical collaboration analogy is the assumption that a degree of the creative process needs to happen individually but the best result comes from the notion of sharing ideas and building on those as a team.

One individual or process is not the sole contributor to the solution of a problem.

Right or wrong?

Would you agree that each of these musical collaborators went on by themselves to create success on their own? They sure did but never to the success that their original collaboration gave them. Does that predicate that there was some form of symbiotic relationship in those collaborations?

An interdependency?

It certainly seems like it to me.

Does the notion of interdependency drive the best results or does it really matter? Is collaboration bound by an interdependency or can two like-minded but fundamentally opposing forces collaborate to create something of value? Can the simple act of collaboration enhance the opportunity to excel or does the relationship require a form of symbiotic cohesion to be successful?

With those questions in mind we leave you with the following short thoughts on the relationship between a clog and a sock.

We have included a brief conversation at the end of this story that occurred between and friend and I. We thought the conversation was funny but it does, in fact, demonstrate a fundamental difference in thinking. The story idea (with comedic intent) was presented by my friend, written by me and presented back to my friend as a draft. What resulted showed me that we were thinking along two completely distinct and separate paths.

The Clogs vs The Sock

The clog is rigid. Unyielding. Practical.

The sock is flexible. Soft. Aesthetic.

The sock is hidden within the clog.

Its function is hidden from view, its aesthetic overwhelmed by the rigid nature of the clog.

Without the clog the sock would suffer. It cannot stand on its own. Is there a symbiotic relationship between the sock and the clog? Certainly the clog can survive without the sock but not in reverse. Without the clog the sock would be essentially useless as a form of protection for the foot.

There is no interdependency.

The relationship becomes an issue of comfort.

The sock makes the foot feel comfortable. Without the sock the foot can certainly survive but that’s all it is doing. Surviving. The clog, in its effort to stave off the elements, does not, in many cases, concern itself with comfort. Function is the prime purpose that defines the existence of the clog. A housing that can have a fine aesthetic but is still simply housing.

Without the sock as part of the complete footwear system the clog is simply an empty shell.

Without the clog as part of the complete footwear system the sock is an aesthetically pleasing comforting cover.

Do they need each other?

Yes and no.

But don’t you think that when they collaborate there is serendipity?

They create a beauty that can only be described as Utopian.




My friend’s initial response:

In a word or three….Wrong wrong wrong……

“Function is the prime purpose that defines the existence of the clog.”

Nope. The clog is all about form. It doesn’t give a shit about what fits in it or how. Whatever goes in it has to mould to its form regardless of function……..

Me: That’s the problem with how the clog makers think.

My friend: Without the clog the sock would suffer. It cannot stand on its own. Is there a symbiotic relationship between the sock and the clog? Certainly the clog can survive without the sock but not in reverse. Without the clog the sock would be useless.”

Incorrect. Without the sock there is pain — blisters, chaffing etc.

Me: Sure, there may be some chafing but the foot adapts to its surroundings thereby the sock is not a necessity but an enhancement. Without the sock the foot can survive but may not thoroughly enjoy the experience. With both, the experience of walking becomes pleasurable and thereby taking focus away from the system itself (clog and sock) and simply enhances the walking experience.

I am still waiting for a response……….





Over to you:

Collaboration? Or bust? Is there an interdepenency necessary in collaboration to generates the best results?


About this Author: Ralph Dopping (199 Posts)

A quirky sense-o-humour coupled with an indelible sense of stylish sarcasm makes it difficult to take the world too seriously doesn't it? My faves: fun, passion and hard work. I work here everyday:


I'm an introvert and prefer working alone, but I know the best ideas and solutions come from brainstorming. So I've set up my business to reflect both my style of working and gaining collaboration from the team. Even the people who stand alone (Oprah, for instance) have a team to back them up.

Latest blog post: The Three Things, Edition 14


Collaboration boils down to moods. And if I like you. Throw in some really good food and it gets better... as long as I have 51% control. :)


Kind of an ebb and flow; some of the stuff I do is very solitary and you are out there on that island all by yourself. Others, it takes the right team to maximize the collaborative effects but when it clicks, it is a sight to behold. 


It's all about putting the right pieces together at the right time, huh? 

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

Being a solopreneur for umpteen years; like maybe 25 off and on, I love having a team to bounce around with. The ideas flow easier with more energy and creativity. No way can people survive alone in this world any longer, unless you're writing novels in the woods of Kentucky. 


Cowboy boots! ...or my pink Muck boots... just sayin'


Ralph, I end up on my own out here, in the cyber-verse. I typically bring up having a collaborative meeting so that I can plan out and ahead of what I will post, what is important and what has occurred to each as the days pass and questions are answered... every month or so... eyes glaze over and suddenly I am sitting in front of my laptop alone, trying to understand how this happened... again.


I truly believe a team is essential, to (most) any outstanding result. I also believe with all my heart that one person can (and do) make an outstanding splash or difference...


So! I have my conversations individually, bounce things off of each person, get their reactions, note interest, ask questions, take pictures... chat with all of you, read what you have for me... and write. Just write.


Oh, and on a final note: As an Alaskan, I am a supporter of the Sock.


Caitlin Kelly
Caitlin Kelly



I work alone 99% of the time. It's the nature of what I do as a writer as it is rarely, in my journalism and book writing, a collaborative process. I get edited, which is necessary, but that's very different and only comes at the end. I would be very interested in more joint efforts  but they will not be based on writing. Some kinds of work/projects have to be done independently.

rdopping moderator

 @ginidietrich Interesting point of view Gini. (Aside: You know, I have been having so much trouble with Livefyre and the notifications. I am just seeing your comment by chance as I noticed the comment numbers had changed.) I am surprised you consider yourself an introvert with all the social you do, public speaking, events et al. I suppose it's a way to get a lot done.


Your business is an interesting model because it is such a "new" way to run a company. No office and employees working virtually across a city, country and continent (thinking @belllindsay). It would be easy to silo thinking yet you collaborate as well as a group in close proximity. There is certainly a study of work methodologies there that would interest many folks.


Thanks for dropping in. You insights are always appreciated.

rdopping moderator

Hey  @BetsyKCross I haven't Happy New Year'ed you yet. So, there you go. Yeah, 51% control. Funny lady. That's an interesting question. What percentage of decision making power is right? I think it's based on what type of food one offers and the quality of that food that determines your level of control.


Not sure what you mean by collaboration boiling down to moods. Care to elaborate?

rdopping moderator

Holy caw  @bdorman264 Are you back in rotation? Agreed, the right pieces at the right time. Essential. Have you ever golfed without shoes?

rdopping moderator

Interesting point of view  @AlaskaChickBlog I suppose when I wrote this bit I didn't think about all of us out there in the blogosphere. I did consider the notion that when someone's ideas are kept to themselves the development of the solutions may be very good but how much better could they be with a collaboration between like minds? 


Your approach is great. You are engaging and asking questions. There's a whole other post in receiving feedback and what to do with that. Not quite collaboration but also of big value.


Cheers and thanks for dropping by.

Dhara Mistry
Dhara Mistry moderator

 @rdopping  @ginidietrich Hey Ralph, i checked the notifications for your account in our email provider system, and they seem to be going through fine. Are you still having any more issues?

Latest blog post: Sample Page


 @rdopping I don't like to collaborate unless there's a good connection in the group or with the other person if it's just two of you. I was joking about moods. But I do like working with people who can roll with mine and not take me too seriously. :) (And I'd actually prefer 99%, but I think we're talking delegation at that point.LOL!)


 @rdopping No, but I hear it's worth trying; just don't step in the duck poop out there.


As far as the 'rotation' goes, it will still be hit or miss for awhile; working on some other things and will just have to see how it all fits together I suppose. 

Dhara Mistry
Dhara Mistry moderator

 @rdopping The comment version should not affect your email notifications in any way. By any chance, are the emails hitting your Spam folder?

Latest blog post: Liveblog 2

rdopping moderator

 @BetsyKCross Ha, ha! Very funny. It's so hard to tell when someone's joking......;-)