Written on Monday,
March 19th, 2012
at 03:27AM

It’s somewhat common to write up a synopsis (aka “review” aka “opinion piece” aka “to do list”) of one’s experience after attending some group event with like-minded individuals.  While I’d like to say I’m more original than that, I’m not.

A few days ago I arrived in beautiful Greenville (locally pronounced “Greenval” or also “Grnnvl” for those with brevity issues) to attend a small and motivated groups of designers, developers and creator of things for Greenville Grok. For the 99% of you who probably don’t know what a grok is, here’s a definition:

“To grok is to intimately and completely share the same reality or line of thinking with another physical or conceptual entity.”

A small group of around 100 of us gathered in groups (which were broken into 4 smaller, randomized groups) where each of us where encouraged (and sometimes coerced) into sharing thoughts and ideas, participating in discussions and broadly finding the pulse of our tidy industry. It was quite unlike any conference (it was really more a rumpus) that I had been to, as it’s not about panels or talks or speeches or having some expert unload his knowledge on you; but instead an active exploration of community thought and encouragement toward the goal of doing something good with what we do.

So, without babbling too much more, here is a list of random and ramblings thoughts and observations I curated from the two days of talking and sharing and communing:

  • A group of designers is like a bag of marbles  — if let loose you never know where we’ll roll.
  • I’m not as afraid of heights as I thought; though at 200ft, on a platform, with 10 other people, swaying in the wind, I’ve never loved hugging a tree more.
  • There is an app for that. Always.
  • Cleveland is a suck hole for delayed planes.
  • A designer is always working on something else — which isn’t to say we aren’t working on what we should. See also, ADD.
  • Many designer will dabble with going independent (notice I didn’t use the “F” word that I hate so dearly). After 5 months, 80% will realize it involves a lot more than just design and look for “stable” work.
  • The “superstars” in your career aren’t the only one’s with valuable insights. In fact, they barely scratch the surface of knowledge that is attainable through honest conservation.
  • The designers effort to find polish can hinder momentum.
  • If you’re going to leave your very expensive camera in a restaurant (forget about it until the next morning, and not be able to get it till the next day) then Greenville is the town to do it in.
  • We all naturally congregate toward those who are like us. Or better than us.
  • I find I have things to say, I’m just not sure it’s worth saying.
  • If you’re wondering if you should work on an new idea, you’ve already started.
  • Great design doesn’t mean a great idea.
  • I regret not exploring a photography career more rigorously. And now I don’t.
  • I’m blessed beyond belief to do something, though not without it’s exhaustions and stress and tiresome tasks, I absolutely adore.
  • We can’t all be great. We can only strive to do our best.
  • Don’t let your insecurity get in the way of growth.
  • Everyone has a story. Stop and listen.

4 Responses to It’s all for nothing, if not for others

  1. I like it. My favorite one is the one about superstars not having a monopoly on knowledge. They often have a platform that others dont, but shoot there’s a lot of other sources of inspiration and innovation.

  2. Great thoughts man. Completely agree. I would add that it’s great to be in a room full of “competitors” and not view or treat each other as such. I think our industry is somewhat unique in that regard.

  3. I regret not exploring a photography career more rigorously. And now I don’t. – Good for you.
    We all naturally congregate toward those who are like us. Or better than us.
    I love this quote that would be a response to the previous statement:
    “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
    ― Albert Einstein
    Great synopsis. Enjoyed.

  4. Pingback: Paul Armstrong on Grok: It’s all for nothing, if not for others | TIY / News

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