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We are genetically oriented toward learning from others, an easy thing to forget these days. Here's why in-person socializing is so important, and efficient.
I’m a 30-year-old writer who works from home and thrives on the neat things you can do with technology. I’ve written books about smartphones and online social networks, and I’m reading things all day. But perhaps the most idea-generating part of my workweek is attending a knitting circle. I’m pretty sure at least a half-dozen other web professionals feel the same way, and you might as well.
Not a traditional knitting circle, mind you, but it’s the same kind of idea. Every week, I carve time out of a weekday morning to meet up with a semi-regular crew of guys about my age. Three are programmers, two (including me) are writers, two are entrepreneurs with hard-to-explain revenue streams, and one is a designer. We show up with links and articles we’ve found interesting, projects and ideas we’re turning over and trying out, and stories our wives are sick of hearing about. We have a Google Group, a Skype chat room, and we all use Twitter, but those morning sessions are what we’re really about.
Left to our base instincts, we'd all probably spend that scheduled time, like most of our time, in front of a screen. But by forcing ourselves to meet up and talk, even if there’s no particular label or mission statement to it, we get vital exposure to the kinds of benefits that salespeople, network-savvy executives, and other people we usually try to avoid are seeking out. I’ve picked up paying work, traded contacts, sparked story ideas, and solved tech problems at those get-togethers. And I get much-needed practice at hearing others out, arguing my beliefs, and plain old face-to-face socializing.
That’s just dandy for me. But why...