Any time I attend an event, I inevitably run into someone who asks me about some sporting event and whether or not I watched it. While I do not generally watch sports, and am therefore unable to contribute much to that conversation, I get why people ask this question – they are looking to find common ground.
Most men my age watch sports, especially here in New England where rooting for the local teams is a way of life for seemingly everybody. When I meet someone new and they ask this question, they are trying to start the conversation off with something common to us both – a shared experience.
Shared experiences allow us to connect with and relate to other people, and they can be powerful and rewarding both in toy collecting and in website design.
I’ve been collecting toys for over 20 years. There is a room in my home that is literally covered wall to wall and floor to ceiling with display cases filled with action figures of all kinds. As you can probably imagine, my toy collecting obsession is not one that I can share with many of the people I encounter in my daily life - except for my son.
Like any kid, my 10-year old son has played with toys for his entire life, and he continues to do so today, but he recently decided he also wanted to have a few special figures on display – like his father. For Christmas, he asked for some action figures from Four Horsemen Studios. This small company ran a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013 for a series of figures that including various birds (a raven, a phoenix, a falcon, etc.) reimagined as winged warriors. Two of these amazing figures were waiting for my son under the tree.
Shortly after the holidays, my son began asking me more and more questions about the Four Horsemen Studios figures in my collection. He quickly decided that he wanted some characters from some of the company’s older releases, and his enthusiasm actually got me excited for the toys and prompted me to fill some of the holes in my own display. While I was looking for figures for myself, I picked up a few for him as well and we talked more and more about his small collection and what he wanted to do with it or my large display and what he liked about it. This is a perfect example of finding common ground through a shared experience. It was pretty awesome.
Shared Experiences In Web Design
Just like there are not many people I meet whom I can share my toy collecting hobby with, there are also not many people I encounter in my life whom I can talk with about my web design work. This is one of the reasons I regularly attend web design conferences, because they allow me to connect with a room full of people who have had experiences similar to my own.
I love it when I speak to other web designers about the challenges I face, only to discover that they completely understand my perspective and have remarkably similar stories to share. Oftentimes, those stories include the solutions that they used. Hearing about those solutions helps me in my own work. They also show me that, as part of the Web Industry, I belong to something much bigger than just my own work or my own company.
If you are a web designer, it is important to be around other web designers. If you do not have the means to attend professional conferences, then look for local meetups or communicate with fellow web professionals via Twitter or other social networks - just find a way to reach out and connect with others who can share and relate to your experiences. I wish that I had done this earlier in my own career and would have realized that sharing experiences will my peers in this Web Industry would help make me a better web designer.
Get Your Own Toys
As I mentioned earlier in this article, the figures from Four Horsemen Studios that my son started his collection with were made possible through a successful Kickstarter campaign that the company ran a few years ago. That company is back again with another incredible Kickstarter now for a new line of toys that they have created called Mythic Legions. The campaign features some amazing new toys and it is running through March 11, 2015. If you’re interested in some incredibly detailed, fantasy-inspired toys, then swing on by and support this small company! Needless to say, my son and I already have our orders in and are very excited to add some Mythic Legions to our displays!