How could I still give a damn about blogs, about the web, after all day, every day for eight years or so? Well, how could I not? Let me show you what it looks like to work with the most talented, most passionate people in the world.
That video is Mena making the announcement of a surprise trip around the world to Kristen, whose moving essay about reconnecting with her father won her and her friend each a trip to Paris, Tokyo, and San Francisco. As I asked on the sixapart.com site, "Ever change somebody's life?"
I haven't, but I work with a team that has. Mena's even captured an image of what happiness looks like. And while Mena and I are lucky enough to get to sometimes put a face or voice to the work that everyone on our team does, there are dozens of other people who are just as passionate.
I've been both delighted and touched by some of the other posts I've seen recently from my coworkers. Simon had written a brilliant news post on LiveJournal the other day, then stopped to reflect about the experience:
Because most of my coworkers came from the community I don't think they make the distinction between them and us that I think the community at large does. They get affected. Some of the comments users make hurt them. Deeply. Because I'm often on a different timezone to everyone else I've sat on the end of IM with people who can't sleep out of distress.
This is the flipside of The Cluetrain Manifesto that nobody talked about.
I'm a geek and a user and a customer and I'm passionate about the things that matter to me. And, amongst many other thing, LJ matters to me. I use it everyday. We use it for work. I feel a burning urge to make it completely awesome. I get defensive about it with other people. When I'm back in England and I'm talking to my (largely LJ using, nay OBSESSED) friends my eyes shine when I talk about it. I really want to finish search now because I've got a really, REALLY cool idea I want to prototype and get signed off which I hope will completely rock everyone's world.
And there's more. Steve is the tough-guy-with-a-heart-of-gold you might have seen at the end of our Six Apart Holiday Movie, explaining the "O RLY" owl on Blogs By Phone. He explains, for all of us, "this is why I'm here:
Today, though... I'm loving on THIS startup. Don't get me wrong, I'm usually loving on this startup, but today it moves me. I love that I work on a product that would move someone to write this, and that I work for a company that would reward such an action with this (those last two links are very much worth clicking on). I know I'll get half a dozen private messages or IMs from people telling me what a fucking cornball I am, but I don't really care. I'm very proud and happy to work here and be part of what Six Apart does, both in terms of innovation and technical achievement, and personal connections and relationships.
I think, just a few months ago, I was burned out on the trappings of Web 2.0 and all that crap. I had wondered for a minute, "Is it the work?" I knew I love the company I work for, the people I work with, and most of all the community we serve. I really feel like LiveJournal, TypePad, Movable Type, and TypePad kick all kinds of ass. But maybe I had just gotten tired of it?
And what I realized is that the distractions of being around people who weren't like my coworkers, who weren't just regular members of the community, is what was stressing me out. Paying too much attention to pundits and people who don't give a damn about the web, who weren't passionate about this medium, was what had made me dissatisfied. Part of the solution, for me, was presented when I had the chance to be a little physically distant from that environment. As much as I (already!) miss sitting in the office with my fellow Six Aparters, being in New York already feels like a breath of fresh air, or at least differently stale air, when compared to going to lunch South of Market and hearing someone nattering on about podcasting.
But mostly, what I missed was showing people this passion. We had a party the other night with many Six Apart employees in attendance. And I was lucky enough to get the chance to thank them for being not just an inspiration to me in the work that I do, but in making something profound, making something meaningful just like I'd been hoping for. To thank them for having the passion to eat, sleep, and breathe this sometimes thankless and difficult work.
But in addition to helping so many others, they've also blessed me with the ability to share that gratitude with the world in a simple, direct way. I don't know of anybody else outside our company who loves their job and the work they do the way that I do. So, apropos of nothing, on the anniversary of nothing, but just because we had a really good day, thanks to everybody I work with at Six Apart, and to the community that we've all built together.
Also, I just really love that video of the phone call with Kristen.