A new frontier in 2013

It’s been a time since I last blogged, and during that time much has happened. Within the last two months, I moved my life across the country; started working at Findery; stumbled upon another vegan developer, Jim Whimpey, on the internet and found an apartment with him; joined a new rock gym, Mission Cliffs; survived the apocalypse; and became an everyday commuter on The Wiggle. And in the midst of all this happening, I still managed to dip my toes into the ocean of things to explore that a new city provides.

And so begins my first year on the western frontier. Surrounded by thousands upon thousands of people who do what I do, where creativity and innovation seeps from manholes and rains from the sky. And while this may be a hyperbole, it is so only by a little. I’ve come away from networking and industry events having met a dozen people at a time who are working on their version of the Next Big Thing, having either quit their jobs entirely to dedicate themselves to their dream or simply continued their normal work and elected to spend each other waking moment on their project.

The immediate reaction of a young creative in this city: how can you possibly distinguish yourself in an environment like this, so saturated with smart, hard-working people? But it truly is only that, an immediate reaction, for the overwhelming sense is one of being energized by the collective drive of a city whose veins pulse with innovation and creativity. I must remind myself that, after all, this is why I moved here. This culture and community will push me, as much as I will push myself, to do better work.

Let’s make people smile

Looking back at my beginning-of-the-year post from 2012, my goals were different because many were driven by being in a smaller developer community in Burlington. Speaking at events is certainly going to carry over, but my goals for 2013 are mostly different, and more focused on personal growth. In lieu of leaving a bulleted list in this post to potentially stare me in the face for the remainder of my career, I will deliver my goals for 2013 as a concept:

I want to create things that elicit an emotional response. At my new job, I get to help build just such a thing every day. Therefore, I will do similar in my side projects. By “eliciting an emotional response”, what I actually refer to here might mean anything from inspiring somebody, to making somebody smile, to actually helping create lasting value for a person.

Last month myself and the rest of our team at Findery got to sit down and chat with Evan Williams for a bit. One of the concepts he mentioned while talking with us was that of internet “snack food”: products that don’t creating lasting value, but satisfy our need for instant gratification and positive reinforcement. That was my takeaway, at least. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I realize how spot-on that analogy is. And more than ever it has inspired me to distance myself from creating things that aren’t going to create real value.

TL;DR

In 2013, I will not be creating snack foods.