When we get together, things happen. When we go on Zoom, they don't.
If any industry could be dispersed, it would surely be the technology industry. The moguls who gave us Facebook, Google and Oracle are neighbours in Menlo Park, just south of San Francisco.
If anyone could work remotely, surely they could - but they choose physical closeness.
The headquarters of Facebook is (according to Google Maps) a 23-minute drive from Menlo Park - hardly the other end of the planet. Tesla is an eight-minute drive. Twitter is 36 minutes.
It's true that you would need to fly for two hours to get to see Bill Gates at his office up the coast in Seattle - but hey, with a chauffeur to the airport and maybe a private jet, it's not a trek.
The people who created the technology where distance is no object choose to live and work near each other.
There's a reason for that. They are not daft and they know that creativity happens where people crowd. It's how universities generate ideas.
Creativity does not happen in isolation, staring at a screen and repeating "I can't hear you. You're on mute."
The great(est) American comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, put it better when his fellow New Yorkers started moaning and saying the city was dead and they were leaving for Florida(!):
"Energy, attitude and personality cannot be 'remoted' through even the best fibre-optic lines. That's the whole reason many of us moved to New York in the first place."
It is fashionable to knock cities. The best of them are noisy, threatening, smelly, mongrel, grumpy - and brilliant. They buzz with energy and people who engage with each other. It's how humour and other creative ideas happen.
We can all dream of living on the coast and drinking crisp white wine all the time - but give me a rough city any day.
I know people who once lived in perpetual sunshine, overlooking the ocean, who would say: "Another day in paradise."
They were actually bored witless. After a few years, they started saying it with a sigh. They now live in London.
In 2013, the new chief executive of Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer, sent an email to employees.
"Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home," it read. "We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together."
She had been Google's 20th employee before moving to the top job at Yahoo!. If anyone ought to know the advantages of remote working, it is her - but she sees disadvantages.
Of course, there are advantages, like cost and the flexibility employees feel (a flexibility some employers may come to regret).
In other words, working from home may make us more productive but it will also make us less creative. Which is better may depend on the type of job we do.
This has been quantified. In 2014, a bunch of academics led by a professor at Stanford University studied a Chinese travel agency. Call centre workers were divided randomly into two groups. One worked from home and the other from the office.
"Home working led to a 13 per cent performance increase, of which 9 per cent was from working more minutes per shift (fewer breaks and sick days) and 4 per cent from more calls per minute (attributed to a quieter and more convenient working environment).
"Home workers also reported improved work satisfaction, and their attrition rate halved."
But they were call centre workers. For creative jobs, it's different.
Steve Jobs knew that.
"Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions," he said.
"You run into someone, you ask what they're doing, you say 'Wow', and soon you're cooking up all sorts of ideas."
Maybe there needs to be a middle way, so employers save on the office bills and employees still get to meet each other and bang ideas about.
Don't worry: Silicon Valley is working on it.
It's called the "innovation hub".
The executive chairman of IBM, Ginni Rometty ("chairman" in a non-gendered sense), says: "What we envision is the office becoming an innovation hub. You'll come in for a purpose."
The concept seems to be that workers would perform tasks at home but then come into a pared-down office to brainstorm in teams.
I can tell them for nothing that it won't do the job.
Creativity is like a yeast which bubbles and ferments in the right atmosphere.
Steve Jobs knew it. I'm with him.
- Steve Evans is a Canberra Times reporter.