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Last year our illustrator Emir Ayouni was invited to go and speak at this years Creative South, a design conference in Columbus, Georgia that hosts some of the best designers in the world to come and share their experiences in the industry for a weekend.

Naturally we were ecstatic for him and told him we would do anything we could to help. We may have spoke too soon. Almost immediately he cashed in on the helping hand we offered.

He relayed that he had spoke with the organizers and they wanted us to come and speak alongside him as a full team.

We were blown away. Not just from the generosity and the amazing opportunity for to come tell our story and talk shop. But mainly because as a team we have never even met each other in person. Not even once.

Wait What?

Forefathers started in 2011 between myself and lead developer Matt Hay with Emir and a couple of others joining the fold a year later. It was a a big idea at the time because we all lived thousands of miles away from each other and had never started a digital agency before. We were freelancers.

While that seemed risky at the time, it wasn’t. We all wanted something bigger and better and didn’t have much to lose aside from just our personal time and a couple of bucks if it didn’t work out. We shared the same work ethic and design vision and that was enough for us.

Over the course of 5 years, none of us have even been in the same room together. Never sat down for lunch or a beer together. We’ve never even had the opportunity to say turn that horrible fucking song off!

The Story

Despite the distance between us we have shown up for the challenges Forefathers requires of us everyday and fight for our little corner in this industry. Our goals are simple; Create progressive designs for great clients that we can stand behind.

As we push our company further we are entering new, uncharted territory that will be detrimental by our growth. Even the new challenges weren’t in the initial game plan. We can’t stop progress because something makes us uncomfortable as people. That’s poisonous to the company.

I’ll be the first to admit that public speaking is a challenge for a lot of people and it’s no different for us. Partly because we don’t know our dynamic yet as guys in a room together. But also because we are pretty reclusive individuals. The thought makes each of us anxious and uncomfortable.

In 2014 I even attended a very big design conference among a lot of our peers and while I took in all of the talks from people I admired in this field I kept to myself for the most part. I didn’t introduce and chat as much as I could have out of being naturally withdrawn and it’s a regret I have. There was no reason to keep to myself.

So we are looking at Creative South as not just a major opportunity, but as a next step for us a team and also individually and not stand in the way of our growth as a whole. But it won’t come naturally at first.

Fighting against growth because it doesn’t come natural at first is in fact poisonous. It’s dangerous and an instant defeatist frame of mind that can hang on forever if you let it.
Poison In Your Orchard

Since Creative South is in Georgia it naturally got me thinking about peach orchards. I started thinking about how an orchard could represent our current apprehensions and reclusive nature.

Obviously the entire orchard produces all of your present and future goals. If you are like us the field likely stretches farther than the eye can see, with many potential goals that haven’t been set yet. And somewhere in the orchard lies a poison that represents an area that you are uncomfortable with, eating away at all of the potential around it. It’s in there and there’s no ignoring it. We all deal with this eventually and we have to make the choice. Let it reside and rot everything around it. Or remedy it.

Fighting against growth because it doesn’t come natural at first is in fact poisonous. It’s dangerous and an instant defeatist frame of mind that can hang on forever if you let it.

We could easily leave the poison in our orchard. We could stick with our reclusive, even comfortable nature, continuing exactly what we are doing and make some flimsy excuse as to why we shouldn’t accept this challenge or back out. Or we can bunker down, write our panel, speak in front of our peers as a team, and have an amazing fucking time with a little extra effort no matter how apprehensive. Seems like a fair trade.

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