on Jeffries wrote on firstname.lastname@example.org :
I suppose most boys want to be Superman or Spiderman when they are little. Fact is, we'll have more impact on the world by working with people than by working alone. The sooner the young genius figures that out, the better.
Another way to understand the super hero myth is that each of us is capable of being great, but the normal pressures of tribal life encourage us to hide our capabilities so we won't stand out.
Standing out is a sure way to get hammered down. So the super hero who mythos is a reminder to us all the we are capable of reaching down, overcoming obstacles, and doing great things.
That the super hero image has become iconic speaks to how much we need to balance the message of conformity we get on a daily basis.
Personally I want Einstein thinking the big thoughts. And I want 1000s of teams working all around the world on cancer too. We can have the lone genius, we can have the Manhattan project, we can have the Justice League, we can have the team member that does great things but may not fit in 100%. On a system wide basis the power of progress is a function of the interplay of them all.
The simple rule that teams are most important is too simple.
In a group I enjoy spending the most time on that chaotic border of individual and team creativity. I hate being in a group where people are passive and wait to take direction. That's what happens when people forget they too can be superheros.
I also hate being on team where everyone thinks everyone else is an idiot. That's what happens when people are like Lex Luthor and need to control everything to feel safe.
Fortunately we don't need go to either extreme.
I think Joel has an interesting take on this subject in his High Notes article at http://joelonsoftware.com/articles/HighNotes.html .