The Importance of Being Part of a Community
Tonight was the first time I've been to a tech meetup in almost 8 months - I thought I didn't miss attending them. Turns out I did and quite a lot.
Since both moving house 9 months ago and moving offices to Wapping (East London), my interaction with central London, and in turn, the tech community came to a stand still. The need to travel further away from home and the lack of colleagues attending meetups after work meant that the motivation to attend them disappeared. It's something that I didn't think I'd really miss. I always enjoyed attending them but felt that I would learn just as much from reading articles and silently observing conversations on Twitter. Not only did I physical not attend events but my interactions over networks such as Twitter and Reddit became almost none exist. I didn't feel like this was a problem, at least I wasn't missing it.
That brings me to tonight. I'm currently heading back home from London Web Standards, an event I was invited to attend last minute by an old colleague and good friend John Catterfeld. In a show of support for his first talk (and to hear the latest gossip at my old office) I attended. The gossip was fantastic - (there was some story about a bath and a stripper) and the talk wasn't bad either - well done John.
The highlight of the talks tonight were from John Catterfeld, Dan Appelquist and Daniel Knell who all presented something interesting and/or educational. The magic didn't happen at the event though but instead before and after. When I was younger, people would always tell me that's where you learn the most and they have always been right. A catchup with the always enthusiastic Patrick Hamann reminded me of something I'd forgotten - I love what I do and I love talking to like minded people who are pushing the boundaries of our industry. Work is life is work is life. I came away from that conversation feeling more motivated than I've felt in a long while; ready to push the boundaries of what we can do at Rightmove (my new workplace and home).
Committing to events on a regular basis can be tricky, but I urge you to attend a few once in a while - it might just give you the boost you need. Encourage a few team members to come along as well. The more the merrier.