A little over a week ago, three guys from Campbell’s visited Indy Hall. The same group of guys stops by every now and then, they say they like to get out of the office when they have the opportunity. I’ve noticed how they tend to come in as a group, sit together as a group, leave together as a group - they confirm a lot of reasons as to why Indy Hall isn’t built for teams.
On this most recent visit, one of the guys (let’s call him Nick) asked to talk to Alex and I because “Campbell’s is interested in brainstorming ways to connect with the Indy Hall community”, and Nick was hoping we could offer guidance toward the best way to go about that. We sat and talked.
[Side note: I’ll refer to this group of guys as “Campbell’s” because at this point in the chat, they’re still thinking like the company they represent, not like the individuals they actually are. We began the conversation with “Campbell’s”, but by the end of the talk, we were chatting with Nick.]
We suggested they take business off the table and instead, try having conversations about basically anything else. Extract whatever plans or needs or stakes you’ve got for having this conversation, talk about coffee or sports or movies or where you’re coming from or anything at all except for the things you’re here to accomplish. Our community produces a great deal of great stuff, but it doesn’t function on transactions. The people who jump in with “you give me this and I’ll give you that” don’t ever see the results they’re expecting. There’s rarely a second Day Pass after that one.
Maybe it sounds counterintuitive to not talk about the thing you’re aiming for, but it’s not. The people here are getting to know one another through seemingly insignificant conversations about whatever they’re mutually or uniquely passionate about. Those passions are not always work-related, in fact, most of the daily conversations at Indy have nothing to do with our own careers. We ask questions and shoot the shit, and that’s how things work at Indy Hall. On the surface, those interactions may seem insignificant, but they’re actually the most important pieces toward building trust.
Ultimately, that’s the thing the Campbell’s guys didn’t have yet: trust. They didn’t know how to get it, and they figured the best way to start was by discussing their goals for being here in the first place instead of spending time talking about who they are and where they come from. Their way of approaching our community was like going on a first date and saying “Look, I’m here because I want us to have sex, let’s brainstorm how we get to that.” There’s rarely a second date after that.
Speaking on those seemingly insignificant interactions, Alex mentioned an Indy Hall member named Jack. After a short time of coming to Indy Hall to work, Jack finally “sunk-in” when he started playing pick-up soccer with a few other members. He’d come in to work in the morning, get stuff done, midday break to kick a soccer ball around with other Indy Hallers, then head back to Indy to finish the workday. Soon, Jack came to care more about this place and the people here because he met them through a pretty casual game of soccer - not because anyone sought to immediately help him do his job, not because he identified people who offered to satisfy his objectives. Indy Hall became a place where he could do his work AND be himself. Part of that - a big part - was because of soccer.
His ability to form relationships with new coworkers at Indy Hall, people who were very recently complete strangers, came from his ability to be himself. That made Jack more comfortable, that made everyone else more comfortable with Jack. Consider, we only get comfortable around people we trust. So, boom, Jack has trust in the people he works with and therefore is capable of working with them with more eagerness and in greater capacities. Where did that trust come from? Pick-up soccer.
The story about Jack made me realize something: Indy Hall, itself, is a pick-up game. It’s invitation-based, it’s pretty freeform, it’s dynamic and fun and ruled by the players, and it’s a really small and seemingly insignificant way that we spend time with each other. Within that environment, we learn to care and trust one another.
I understand why the Campbell’s crew was confused, too. More over, I understand why Nick was confused: we happen to look like a coworking space which looks like an office, and he has a set idea for how an office works, what an office means. But Indy Hall looks like other things, too, like a famers market and a comic book club and an art gallery and an ice cream social and a poetry reading and a fashion show and a potluck dinner and a jam band and a classroom and etc etc etc. The more I think about it, Indy Hall is really a pick-up game that’s made up of tons of much smaller pick-up games; all of them are invitations for people to be themselves, ways to sink-in among a bunch of people you haven’t met yet. All of them look like a things that don’t necessarily look like work.
Indy Hall is a pick-up game.
I like that.
Hi, I’m Adam Teterus. You might know me from hearing me say dumb things into a microphone while in a dark room at Philly Give & Get, Ignite Philly and the Indy Hall keypad (I recorded those prompts while inside a dimly-lit closet). On July 17th, Innovation in the Park: Presented by AT&T will offer your chance to see me say dumb things into a microphone in the sunlight.
Chris Wink of Technically Philly fame clearly lost his mind when he asked me to co-host this totally free event at Liberty Lands in which a bunch of super smart and talented geeks give short talks and rad demos to teach us all about cool science…stuff. The man gave me absolutely no boundaries on how many science-related puns I’m allowed to make while emceeing with the astonishingly beautiful and talented Technically Philly journo, Juliana Reyes.
Chris Wink’s mistake is your reward.
Also, he promised me that the show will feature explosions but did not specify what would be exploding.
On July 17th, Innovation in the Park: Presented by AT&T will offer the very slim but very real chance that I will explode!
July 17, 3:30 - 6:30pm @ Liberty Lands Park (where the Indy Hall BBQ was)
Oh, and Tony Hsieh will be there!*
Hit the jump for details, and please RSVP! http://www.meetup.com/Technically-Philly/events/179806402/
*Err, wait, no. I’m sorry. That’s Tonia Hsieh. She’ll be talking about lizards and robots so who really cares if I tricked you into thinking the CEO of Zappos will be there? Not me, I don’t care.
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
The Poetics of Pooh:
On Bears, and Rabbits, and Trying to Write
I don’t have time to get into the entirety of Pooh with you. Even if I were able to.
Because as you probably know, Pooh has his own Tao, now.
So let’s leave it here—there’s an immensity to Pooh. There’s a touch of eternity to all his bumbling; a bottomlessness to his most rumbly of tumblies.
There’s a stare into the open eye until the closed eyes open kind of Zen to Pooh.
He’s got Pooh-dist leanings, you could say.
I want to talk about everything that makes Pooh, Pooh. But I don’t even understand it all. So instead I’ll reduce it all down to a single point—to my very favorite moment, from my very favorite character, from my very favorite story from the entire World of Pooh.
Which is my very favorite.
Here’s how it starts:
Christopher Robin has sent Pooh off to gather the provisions they’ll require for a hastily-planned expedition to the North Pole. Neither Pooh nor Christopher Robin is really sure what the North Pole is, per se—merely that it’s a thing that exists be sought out.
There’s a strange pull to it, perhaps. Magnetic and invisible.
Pooh tromps merrily along through the Hundred Acre Wood and finally comes across Rabbit, who—characteristically—would much rather have never been come across in the first place.
Here is their exchange in its entirety:
“Hallo Rabbit,” says Pooh, “is that you?”
“Let’s pretend it isn’t,” says Rabbit, “and see what happens.”
“I’ve got a message for you.”
“I’ll give it to him.”
"We’re all going on an… an Expotition with Christopher Robin!"
"What is it when we’re on it?"
"A sort of boat, I think," says Pooh.
"Oh! That sort."
"Yes. And we’re going to discover a Pole or something. Or was it a Mole? Anyhow we’re going to discover it."
"We are, are we?" said Rabbit.
"Yes. And we’ve got to bring Pro-things to eat with us. In case we want to eat them. Now I’m going down to Piglet’s. Tell Kanga, will you?"
And Pooh toddles off in search of the North Pole.
Now if I had the time, I could with spasms of delight tell you of just how happy this scene makes me. How Rabbit—usually so persnickety, always the wettest of blankets—takes a moment to delight in screwing with Pooh for no other reason than the sheer satisfaction of doing so.
I would love to do this. But I have no time.
So instead I’ll point out the other side to this scene. The immense side.
How, for all its acidity and dark comedy, it manages to house one of the purest, most wonderful, most beautiful, most honest phrases about what it is to be, to exist, and to imagine I’ve ever read.
Hallo Rabbit, says Pooh, Is that you?
“Let’s pretend it isn’t,” says Rabbit, “and see what happens.”
Let’s pretend it isn’t, and see what happens.
If I were the kind of man who believed in literary tattoos, this would be my tattoo.
“Let’s pretend it isn’t and see what happens.”
Has there ever been a more elegant description of the act of imagination? Of the creative impulse? Of the urge to unsee what you’re looking at, and to look for what it is you want to see?
In a single spendthrift phrase, Rabbit captures the delight and abandon and valiant, deliberate choice of what it is to imagine.
Let’s pretend it isn’t, and see what happens.
I think about this story a lot.
About Pooh and how he wanders through the Hundred Acre Wood looking for something he can barely describe.
And I think of Rabbit, and how he with one tiny utterance defines the very thesis of daydreaming.
I think of how according to this story… to imagine and to live… they are in their truest sense, an adventure. An expedition.
And then I think of how often I forget that fact.
How I’ve grown old enough to fret over adult things. About my growing waistline. And my wasting hairline. And how I’m not exactly doing the thing I want to be doing… and how isn’t that always the way? And how unlucky am I? And oh bother… why bother?
And suddenly everything turns dark and grim.
And even creativity—even writing—becomes this winding bumble toward some hazy, unknown pole. A journey for which I feel woefully, almost comically underprepared. How I’ve got nothing to say. And how I’ll never write a thing to be proud of.
And every hope and excitement becomes rank and heavy like a blackbird on my shoulder.
And then, I think… this is what it means to be a writer.
So let’s pretend it isn’t. And see what happens.
And everything’s okay again.
—Andrew Panebianco is a writer at the Philly ad firm, Brownstein Group. Prior to that he inflicted piles of Romantic poetry and Shakespeare on a decade’s worth of college kids. He is also the author of nearly 200 definitions to words that aren’t, but should be. Read more at wordsthatarent.com, and follow him @fancywhitebread.
I drew this cover variant for Superman Unchained at the start of the year, and it’s been published finally hence me sharing it sans le logo etc. I’m seeing the Richard Corben influence creeping in more and more, which is strange considering that I was actively repulsed by his work during my formative years (i like it now tho).
My name is Sigrid Ellis. I am the editor of Pretty Deadly, by the Eisner-nominated team of Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Rios, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles. I have been nominated for two Hugo Awards, one for my editorial work on Chicks Dig Comics, and this year for editing Queers Dig Time Lords.
I am queer. I am a woman. I am feminist. I believe in the intersectionality of oppression, and I intend to work against same. In comics or anywhere else.
I am comics. Always have been, always will be.