Last month marked my fourteenth wedding anniversary, and, as usual at such times, my wife and I spent some time reminiscing about the years leading up to now. We remembered smiling for pictures on that hot Arizona day in June. We remembered promising to love each other for better or for worse. We remembered how that proved to be harder than we expected when the rubber hit the road. We remembered the people we had in our life to help and encourage us along the way, and we remembered how “hard” became “easier,” and how our marriage became a source of joy to us both.
In our industry, weddings are front and center a lot of the time. I love that, because it is always wonderful to see moments of love and happiness so beautifully documented. It's also easy to see those images and get the idea that marriage is a fairy tale. We, like most or all married couples, were quickly disillusioned from that idea. There is difficulty in that, in realizing that marriage can be messy and hard and frustrating. But, while marriage is not always a fairy tale, it's also not always crummy. After a year of being married, we moved to a place that I had always loved–Hume Lake Christian Camps in the Sequoia National Monument in central California. Hume Lake is one of the biggest camps in California, with about 250 people living there year-round, and we spent the next five years living and working in this tight-knit community. In an environment like that, you get close to people quickly, and we benefited from close friendships with other newlyweds, as well as having relationships with couples who were a few steps ahead of us in life. It turns out, this is exactly what our marriage needed to thrive. We needed the comfort that comes from having friends who are going through the same things, and we needed the encouragement that comes from the examples of people who have already gone through it.
Community. It's what our marriage needed, and it's what so many professional creatives need as well.
It was during this time that David Jay and I started Showit, which launched the next chapter in our lives as we built a software company. DJ was coming from college and had experienced a community of students and faculty that grew him, and I was coming from a camp where the community had shaped me, and we founded a company that cared more about community than about profit. This led to almost all of our initiatives revolving around how to get photographers together, how to break the isolation that so many solitary photographers felt in their businesses, and how to create an industry that gives and shares so that everyone succeeds. The photography businesses that we saw go under seemed to always happen in isolation, while the successful ones that we watched explode did it together in community with others. So we launched tours and started local groups and conferences and even bought a bus so we could get to more places and encourage those communities to grow.
On paper you may see SHOWIT as a software company that builds technology. But at our core we believe technology is greatest when it enhances creativity, the creativity that comes from individuals who come together and contribute their unique mark on this world. Online and social networks are great for connections, but we believe that deep friendships happen face to face, which is why we will always encourage and promote getting together in local groups or going to conferences or workshops. In October we are hosting UNITED in Scottsdale, the goal is to create an experience that helps you grow, not just in skills but in relationships that will help you succeed. We hope you will join us, be inspired and encouraged by a community that loves and builds each other up.
Fourteen years after getting married, my wife and I are so thankful for the people in our lives who have encouraged, challenged and supported us, because they helped keep us afloat when the waters were rough. I suspect that the vast majority of Showiteers, the ones who would say their businesses are thriving, would also say that it is because of the support of fellow creatives. This is so important–to provide you with resources, to tell you you're worth it, to let you know you're not alone.
So go, be awesome, and let's do this together.
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