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Craft + Commerce 2019

It was around 9PM when the dancers came out to perform. TheLED lights built into the tiles of the dance floor started to sparkle. The dancers’ jackets and sneakers also lit up as they popped, locked, and breakdanced in front of us. After they were done, we joined them as the beat was pumped into our chests by the subwoofers.

The familiar song started to rise to a crescendo, and from the corner of my eye, I saw the DJ lift up something like the cannon they use at baseball games to shoots t-shirts into the stands. As the beat dropped, and Lil’ Jon screamed, “turn down for what?!” he blasted a pillar of fog over the the jumping crowd of attendees. This was Sunday night at the closing party of Craft + Commerce, the conference thrown by ConvertKit, an email marketing company.

The irony isn’t lost on me. I didn’t expect the service I use to send emails to organize one of the most uplifting and inspiring conferences I’ve attended. I had a letter ready to send you on Monday, but I decided to postpone till next week so I can share my experience and takeaways from the conference. I have pages and pages of notes from the sessions I attended, and have made friendships with people who share the same mindset of creating art that is generous and empathetic. In short, I’ve found my tribe.

Internet Friends

I knew of the conference last year, but I gave myself a lot of excuses not to go since I was a freelancer and didn’t have an email list, course, or product to sell. But over the past year, I made some friends in the Seanwes Community, and quite a few of them recommended it and were going to be there. Meeting these internet friends I’ve made was going to be worth the trip, and the conference was going to be the icing on the cake. I ended up having more cake than I knew what to do with.

If this past weekend has been anything, it’s been understanding that I'm not alone, and everyone is stumbling trying to find out where to go next. I always knew this to be true, but now I’ve shaken hands and had great conversations with fellow travelers. The most inspiring stories were ones about finding their true north. For some, it was a winding path that had huge challenges to overcome. For others, it was through failures and how they were able to learn and move forward from them. Their convictions weren’t something that was divined onto them, but forged through a journey that was messy and unclear.

True North

For me, that journey has been highlighted by these letters. Writing for you every week has been so fulfilling. It’s made me more present of what’s happening around me. I’ve had to wrestle with my thoughts and hone them down so that I can articulate them clearly to you. But the truth is, it has been messy for me as well. I’ve had to dig deep and unearth the beliefs and values that mean the most to me. But it’s an uncomfortable process and what I usually find is raw and jagged. This weekend has inspired me to double down on what I know and polish up those stones so that I can share my truth with you.

Minnow Park