The Disconnected Director
Ben Casnocha recently sent me a Hollywood Reporter interview with the director Christopher Nolan. About halfway through the transcript, the journalist asks Nolan if it’s true that he doesn’t have an e-mail address.
“It is true,” Nolan responds.
He then elaborates:
Well, I’ve never used email because I don’t find it would help me with anything I’m doing. I just couldn’t be bothered about it.
What interests me about Nolan’s answer is not the details of his technology choices (his ability to avoid e-mail is specific to his incredibly esoteric job), but instead the thought process he applied in making them.
It would be easy to list dozens of benefits that Nolan would reap if he used e-mail. But his decision process is not focused on whether the technology can offer any benefit.
He’s clearly instead mono-focused on the impact of the technology on the thing he’s trying to do better than anyone else in the world: direct successful movies.
For this goal, e-mail is largely irrelevant — so Nolan doesn’t bother. This diligent discarding of anything not substantially connected to his major professional goals, we can conjecture, goes a long way toward explaining his success.
Each year, Silicon Valley investors are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into companies whose sole purpose is to try to capture our attention long enough to sell ads. Given this onslaught of shiny digital addictiveness, we could all probably use a dose of Nolan’s sang froid response to such entreaties: if you’re not helping me become world class, then get the hell out of my way.
(Photo by Conmunity)