Today I came back to my regular haunt which is The Summit at 780 Valencia Street. It’s this rad space that’s owned by I/O Ventures which is a startup incubator and they have segmented half of the space into a cafe with free internet. As a result the place is abundant with creatives, entrepreneurs, tech employees and just generally cool people so it’s like a big co-work space.
I’ve probably made about ten friends here in the last two weeks and each day I’m always in awe of the new person I’ll meet.
Yesterday was a conversation about guns laws that somehow turned into a content publishing discussion with a girl from YouTube who presses the button on whether your content gets published or removed.
Last week I became friends with my new bff Nick Frost who runs a startup called StartupList which aggregates and keeps you posted on what cool startups are doing. We’ve been shooting feedback and ideas all week and it’s certainly helped us both get some clarity on our ideas.
And today was a chat with a guy called Paul Rush who is the founder of an awesome digital agency here called Substantial. After a few seconds of chatting we realised we shared a huge passion for music, a shared experience of running digital agencies and similar opinions on sustainable business models versus hyped up startups.
Each day I leave here and whilst I’ve achieved my work, I’ve also met a lot more like minded people who provide me with new perspectives, enabling and validation. Some people would say I’m not ‘being productive’ yet if life is about feeling connected with like minded people and being happy, then I would argue I’ve never been more productive.
Let me put this to you. Today is Tuesday 30 August and I could be anywhere in the world. I could be in Brisbane, I could be in Paris, I could be on a beach in the Bahamas or as it turns out, I’m in San Francisco at The Summit specifically. I like to think about how much this simple geographic decision influences who I am and what I ‘do’ in life. Obviously there’s more to it than that. Many people come here, plug in and leave never to know who was sitting beside them. Those who have met me on the other hand, know I tend to somehow find my way into people’s lives. The difference is however is that I’m in a place that enables and supports my style with smile and a story rather than suspicion. This environment enables me rather than disables me.
It’s why I practice my music in a recording studio with a producer, drive thirty minutes each day to row with a club that has a crew culture and only spend time with friends who inspire me in some way. These things enable me and support my ‘style’.
These are all part of creating the best environment for you to feel happy and in love with what you’re doing. It could be geographic, social, political, emotional etc. And it seems that most people sell themselves short on their environment thinking somehow it doesn’t matter. Speak with any creative agency and their ‘funky’ offices aren’t a coincidence. Hospitals are clean for a reason. Cafes are chilled and laid back for a reason.
What’s your environment like and in what way do you contribute to it? Is it depressing and shitty thus making you act/feel this way or is it enabling and positive? Does it support what you’re trying to achieve and do you support it in return? If not, maybe you’re in – or have created – the ‘wrong’ environment.