This is Gary. In honor of the first anniversary of our Slack channel, I want to say a couple of words about what it has meant to me and share a couple of concrete examples. Consider this a counterpart to Kole's "Community" post.
Even our modest success doesn't feel meaningfully real to me. There's too much dumb heart stuff going on to feel it all the time. So, though I can intellectually know that people like our stuff, I don't always feel it. Not only do I think patting oneself on the back is a waste of time, I also think it's inherently gross (I have never quite unpacked my relationship with pride). It's not that I'm not grateful. I'm insanely grateful. But while I intellectually know that I'm appreciated and even loved, I have a thousand bad chemicals in my brain and heart telling me that it isn't real. It's part my specific brand of fucked up and it's part hedonic treadmill.
If I defeat those chemicals, I have to defeat the impulse I have that tells me that enjoying what we have is evil, let alone taking credit for it. You see the bind I'm in!
What the Slack channel has done for me, is make some of the vague elements of whatever this is feel concrete, and thus managable. It makes the community feel very real. It's always been real to a degree. There have always been Allison Baker and Jeremy Greer and Jala Prendes and Bryan Wade. Names that kept coming up, that I got to know, and thus believe in. People I consider my friends. Slack has taken that aspect and really dialed it up.
Now, there are maybe 4 dozen people I know by name in the Slack. There's drstatic and Sporky and Syrg and opendork and ericplais and thelastrewind. And when we went to Austin, I met Brian and Tim and Shawn and Trey and Paul. It was awesome and flattering and humbling and good.
And the reason it was so powerful, is because I don't want fans, I want friends. I know that sounds like a line, but it's true. I'm so wary of a fiefdom. Creating a message board where people are there because of me borders on egotistical. But creating a message board of people with common interests, where we can chat and just hang out, doesn't feel gross.
The best part about Slack hasn't been the ego boost that comes from putting a bunch of people who like us in one place, it's watching those people find each other. People have been making podcasts, having book clubs, forming charity livestreams, all on their own. In Austin, the people we met talked about hanging out in the months to come, forming D and D sessions, having meals. That's heavy and meaningful.
That starts a feeling in my heart that I can't quite shut up. Goofing off about video games isn't important. But if I brought together a couple of people who will become friends, well, that's fucking neat. And that feels good. And after all the ones and zeroes crumble to entropic flotsome, I can feel good about feeling good about bringing people together.
I think about dying a lot. Like, a lot. And having these little touchpoints I can look to is good for my mental health. These touchpoints, these "at least one good things." So, if I end up on my death bed tomorrow, I know the Greers had lunch with some new friends in a strange town and I had a little something to do with it.
And that's due to this specific Slack community. So thank you everyone. I'm immensely grateful.