‘One can wish upon a star, two can make a wish come true’ sang Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston in their hit song ‘It Takes Two’. The lyric supported the age-old adage that working with a partner divides a task and multiplies its success. It’s just another way of saying there is ‘strength in numbers’ or, as an American football coach might state, ‘teamwork makes the dream work’.
No one is surprised that ‘two heads are better than one’. The Cambridge English Dictionary defines ‘collaboration’ as ‘the situation of two or more people working together to create or achieve the same thing’. In some cases this ‘same thing’ has produced life-changing results so let’s remind ourselves of some of the most significant collaborations that have shaped our culture.
Let’s start with two American brothers. Orville and Wilbur Wright were aviators, engineers and inventors credited with building and flying the world’s first successful airplane. They got their start fixing bicycles but together went on to develop the three-axis controls that made flying a fixed-wing aircraft possible. They made the first sustained, controlled flight of a powered heavier-than-air aircraft on December 17, 1903, four miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Their work together resulted in one of the formative inventions of the 20th century – and is directly responsible for jet-lag, deep-vein thrombosis and Ryan Air.
Francis Crick and James Watson, together with Maurice Wilkins, won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery of the structure of DNA. Drs. Watson and Crick didn’t know each other well before they began working together. But, by building on the work of the chemist Dr. Rosalind Franklin, they were able to describe the double helix that forms the framework for the building blocks of life – and to lay the foundation for understanding the genetics of all living things. Together they made one of the most significant scientific discoveries of the 20th century.
Ice cream might not seem quite as important as the discovery of DNA or the invention of the airplane but Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen have probably been responsible for putting more smiles on faces. Cohen’s focus on the chunky texture that makes Ben and Jerry’s ice cream unique, combined with Greenfield’s passion for its rich and complex taste have revolutionised the industry. Fudge brownie and chocolate chip cookie dough makes this one of the PEA staffs’ favourite collaborations of all time.
Steve Jobs is the most famous name we associate with the phenomenon that is Apple. But in collaboration with computer scientist Ed Catmull and Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter he led Pixar from being a small film studio to the gold-standard in cinematic computer animation. In 1995 Toy Story was the first global computer-animated feature film and together they created some of the most beloved animated films and characters of all time. We all love Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, WALL-E and Up.
The list of game-changing collaborations is endless. We haven’t mentioned Lennon & McCartney, Marks & Spencer, Morecombe & Wise, Procter & Gamble, Laurel & Hardy, Venus & Serena Williams or Scooby Doo & Shaggy. These are combinations whose whole value is greater than the sum of their parts.
This is the philosophy we have at PEA. We are very good at what we do but we know that we are even better when we work closely with our clients. We don’t want to be a supplier that provides a service but a valued team member working as one for the same goals and objectives, speaking the same language and developing the strategy together.
We listen. We copy your need for growth. We give you reach, flexibility, expense reduction, growth and, above all, great service. It’s why our client collaborations last such a long time.
Peter Toyberg is Group Managing Director of PEA and holds an MSc in Economics from Copenhagen Business School and has extensive experience in the management of private equity funds. Peter specialises in technical fund structuring, tax reviews, AIFMD, turn-key back office services solutions, and depositary solutions.