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The Final Shift

12-20-16 Ben Callahan

Ben shares how we are committed now more than ever, thanks to The Shift and those who participated, to broaden our perspectives and to share our learning without fear.

About one year ago, we had an idea. We were thinking about the difficulty of writing, the intentionality required in diversifying the content we consume, and the increasingly brutal landscape of social media. And so, we launched The Shift:

A writing project designed to help us produce and consume unique perspectives on topics relevant to the web industry.

Each month, we offered a topic, sometimes with a few writing prompts, and asked you to spend some time thinking and writing. Turns out we were right—writing is hard. While we didn’t have a tremendous volume of articles written, we did have some very thoughtful contributions.

Thank You

To those of you who set aside the time to read and write, thank you! Thank you for putting yourself out there. I know personally how difficult it can be to put original ideas down on paper and publish them for the world to critique. It is tough. When people first start here at Sparkbox, it’s always interesting to hear their response to the requirement that we all write on The Foundry. Almost every single person says something like, “I don’t have anything to share that people will want to read.” Or maybe, “I’m not a writer!”

Eventually, we get them to write. And when they write, they get smarter. They are forced to slow down—to organize their thoughts around a very specific topic. The writing process is one of the most transformative that I know of. I hope that each of you who contributed this year felt a bit of this transformation. More importantly, I hope you will continue to write. Whether you recognize it now or not, you have a unique perspective to offer. Also, there are so many people out there eager to learn. And they—like the rest of us—need unique perspectives.

What’s Next?

As we sat down recently to evaluate this experiment we call The Shift, we all agreed that its season is over. While this post is our final contribution to The Shift, we are committed now more than ever to broaden our perspectives and to share our learning without fear. You’ve been a part of that. Your willingness to participate has strengthened our courage and our resolve.

Here’s to hoping we’ll read you again soon. Here’s to The Shift.

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