After spending 3 weeks at the lab I've had a chance to interact with a larger group of permie-minded individuals and one thing I've come away with is the sense of non-competitive collaboration that happens there.
Josh and I had a good conversation about how this dynamic played out and our conclusion was this: At the lab you'll be hashing out ideas with a group and nobody hesitates to point out the flaws. There's nothing negative or spiteful about it, in fact quite the opposite: people are eager to help you avoid wasting your time on a mistake so you can accelerate your forward velocity and reach your end goal. For someone who's used to most people shooting down ideas just to make themselves feel some kind of superiority over you it was a great experience.
"Instead of Pay It Forward I prefer Plant It Forward" ~Howard Story / "God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools." ~John Muir