I thought you were dead
I got into business back in 2003 I believe it was.
Back then (and over the ten years that followed), it was “easy” to build an online presence (or maybe it was just easy to find your scene). Yes, I think that’s it—it was easy to find your scene.
“Our ability to survive, to be calm, to even be happy, to possibly be successful, stems entirely from the quality of the people you surround yourself with. Surround yourself with creative, smart, good, honest people and good things will happen. You are your scene.” —James Altucher
I found my scene over those ten years.
(Many more who I know I’m forgetting.)
Back then, these were just regular blogs (with a small b). Regular people. Regular dreamers. Hanging out. Doing their work. All trying to find community. All trying to figure it out. And all trying to make a difference.
It was easy to find people—and find other people who were interested in growing, collaborating, spending time together, tackling similar problems, and helping each other out.
It was a fun time to be in business.
I was young then, only in my early- to mid-twenties, so I had no idea what I was doing—and when I said “easy” earlier, I really did just mean at finding a scene, because the work (always true) was hard. Figuring it out was hard. Rowing the boat was hard. Navigating and course-correcting was hard. Nothing’s changed there.
I got out of business for a while. I still did a few projects here and there, but mostly I avoided it (and writing) for four or five years. When I decided to get back in the arena, things had changed.
All of a sudden there were 1.7 billion (with a b) websites out there (compared to 41 million in 2003). And everything had turned into the Superbowl. Mass produced. Mass marketed. Even the “corner blog” seemed different. You could no longer get to know anyone.
I set up a blog or two, but thought, “Has everything changed that much? Is the blog no longer the mothership?” (I wrote about that back in the day—still believe it.) But things were definitely different now. No one was connecting. We were in a new era of swipe and scroll. (How do you make connections like that? Where’s the conversation?)
I felt even more lost than I did back in the early 2000’s. Blogging, social networking, podcasting—I was doing all of these things to meet people, to meet other business owners who actually wanted to grow and build their businesses and connect with other like-minded (and different-minded) folks online. Now, it felt like no one wanted to connect (they just want to scroll and swipe). Not me, I was here to make friends—true, legit, rising-tide friends who wanted to see each other grow and succeed, who actually wanted to know each other and support each other and be friends (for the next ten years).
I was getting more than a little discouraged. I was an old-timer now (apparently), pining away over days past. I could imagine what it must have felt like being seventy-two and having your grandkids give you a computer so that you can get on “the Facebook” back in ‘05. (How do you turn this thing on, much less do anything with it?)
(I thought you were dead!)
Imagine my relief.
Paul’s not dead.
Neither is Tom.
The corner blog is still there. Things have just grown since I was last here. Hard to recognize the place.
Sure, things are different.
But it’s still our town.