BY SAUL GRIFFITH
DIT: Raising Our Collective Barn
at family events there’s never a shortage of
labor. This swarm of young people seems to
compete to see who can get the most work
done in the shortest time. That’s the beauty
of barn raising — our social drive to display
our prowess is engaged, and stuff gets done
quickly with smiles and laughs.
I HAVE A FRIEND WHO STARTED USING
the term DIT (“do it together”) instead of DIY,
and I love the notion. It’s a rare project that’s
completely DIY, and certainly the projects
that are the most fun involve collaboration —
even if it’s just with the cranky old guy at the
hardware store who ties your whole project
together with some piece of ancient wisdom
that should have been obvious but wasn’t.
I’ve been building an attic playspace for my
toddler recently. What I really mean is we’ve
been building it. At least a dozen friends and
family have contributed, from framing the
space to painting murals to building a ladder.
What’s beautiful is how much everyone has
enjoyed being part of the build. Sure, they get
paid in tea, cookies, and cold beer (the cur-rencies of DIT), but they also look forward to
sharing the space with us in the future. When
unexpected visitors drop by, I enlist them and
they accept with gratitude. It is indeed a nice
day to whitewash the fence.
It’s like barn raising. Hundreds of years ago,
this is the way many things were built — by
depending on each other, investing in our
community through shouldering a fair load.
My own culture (Australian) still idealizes
the notion of “mateship”: sticking together
through thick and thin, leaning on one another
when there’s hard “yakka” (work) to do.
It’s astonishing how much easier hard
yakka is when you’re doing it with friends. My
wife has about 50 cousins (no, really), and
Saul Griffith is a new father and entrepreneur. otherlab.com
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