The first chapter in Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work! introduced me to a brilliant word “Scenius” which he credited muscian Brian Eno with creating. It’s the argument that no great genius existed in a vacuum. Instead they were part of a scene. Interacting with other people, sharing ideas, building on what others had come up with.
While we all can’t be geniuses we can benefit from being part of a scene. As a developer I can learn things on my own, build things on my own and never share what I’ve learnt, the processes I’ve used or the things that I’ve built. That would get me so far but what gets me much further is opening up so people can see what I’ve done. OK that leaves me exposed to scary critique or risking looking like a novice but if I’m willing to take these risks I get the benefit of feedback and other peoples’ different take on things. Everyone has their own experiences and influences that mean they look at things differently. Interacting can help me see new ways of doing things, new places to take my applications/learning and introduce me to new influences that broaden my outlook.
I love being part of both physical and virtual scenes. Attending meetups and workshops and sharing my ideas over twitter and this blog. I can see the benefits both in terms of my work and my attitude to life. Being part of a scene has driven me to learn more about my trade, overcome my fear of speaking in front of a group and being wrong and increased my joy for learning and trying new things. Seeing what others have achieved and their passion is inspiring and infectious. If you aren’t already part of a scene go out and find a meetup where you can talk about the things you do. If there isn’t one near you find one online or start one up.