People of the Internet

25 September 2013

The internet is awesome. Actually, no. The people of the internet are awesome. The reason I know this is because last week I attended two conferences where I got to be with a lot of them. Some I’d just met, but some I’d been following for years – even a decade or more.

That term: following. I used it a lot over the last six days. “I’ve been following you for a long time.”

I said it to Shaun Inman, Dave Shea, Cameron Moll, Tom Watson (well, his wife, actually), Drew Warkentin, Jeff Sheldon, Sean Ferrell, Paul Armstrong, and many others. What I realized is that I’d been “following” these people long before Twitter, so the statement sounded trite and didn’t communicate the level of respect I have them. What I wanted to tell them, actually, was that their work had inspired and mentored me from afar.

Circles Conference was held in Dallas and organized by Ismael Burciaga. Its emphasis was on creativity, design, and art – and, ultimately, the inspiration of all those things. The talks themselves were great, and I enjoyed hearing from every speaker. But I was more inspired by meeting and speaking with the people who made up the conference. For instance:

Just click through some of those profiles, Dribbble accounts, blogs, etc. You can’t help but be inspired.

The same was true of XOXO – which I sort of see as a gathering of artists and inventors (a gross over generalization, I know). The “d-word” (disruption) was used sparingly, but the idea permeated almost every talk and discussion. To what end? Not surprisingly, almost every talk touched on the idea of community – people coming together.

Some of the wonderful people I met at XOXO:

So, for me, if I had any takeaways from the two conferences, they almost certainly all collide in the intersection between community, creativity, disruption, and people – particularly the people who make the internet.

People are awesome. That’s my big revelation from this past week. No duh, right?