There's nothing like a good excuse to be among your peers. When it is packaged up as a trade show in a city like San Francisco, it's a pretty solid formula for fucking good times.
Last week was GDC. It's been a long time since I've last attended that show, but thanks to my collaborators at ArtStation, there was extra legitimate motivation. In fact, I don't need a lot of excuses to hit up San Francisco; It is the hub to tech powerhouses, a massive ecosystem of VC with accompanying start-up fodder, and it is an epicentre of creative talents fuelled by some of the world's top studios in design, publishing, games, film and advertising.
Having previously worked at a company who's head office is in the Bay area, I logged my share of visits. More importantly, what keeps me coming back time and time again is a base of truly exceptional friends and contacts that have tipped the balance so that all the actual yuck and terrifying qualities of that city pale by comparison.
We aren't talking about the collectable variety of friend in the social media context. Everyone should aim to attain and maintain meaningful and substantive friendships, ones grounded in trust. Regardless of how the lines are drawn, whatever level of intimacy, shape, or size of it, when shit goes South, your friends are those that you can count on in their own unique and respective way.
The value of friendship is pretty easy to qualify. On the other side, it is handy not to have any enemies, but let's face it, there are lots of happenstances in life and business that can lead to less favourable sentiments. Like any good story, it is usually impossible to shake these antagonistic characters out of your plot line.
For the most part, many varieties of enemy are mostly harmless. In fact, they can offer a number of useful side-benefits... For example, as anti-mentors, they provide you with the perfect model of what not to be like, a benchmark from which you can analyze and develop against. Beyond this kind of counter-intuitive self-help, it is also your responsibility to find appropriate techniques to manage your personal adversaries. If an enemy knows how to push your buttons and bring out the worst in you, you'll need to fortify your own self-control to resist potential downward spiral. Your reputation is precious, so protect it. A solid baselines to work with include civility, professionalism, and even legal considerations.
Maintaining enemies is a lot of emotional effort and in the many layers of 'its a small world', you cannot just rely on friends to succeed in life. Similarly, you may need the support of a rival and that will probably be a battle you play against yourself as much as your perceived adversary.
Ultimately, friends and nemeses are floating points.
Life is short. You can't have enough friends. You can be your worst enemy. Never say never. Live to fight another day. Eat more fruit.
There it is... A regular dose of self-awareness and a healthy attitude can go a long way in helping to navigate through the burning shit piles and assholes that come hand-in-hand with life and business.