It was life changing. Again. Here was what I had to say about Creative South last year.
I went to Creative South last year and met a lot of people I already knew online. My "fake internet friends," as I like to jokingly call them.
A lot of them were able to come again, so it was really refreshing to hang out with them again and bond over coffee at the same spot, Iron Bank coffee shop.
Relationships were deepened, struggles were discussed, and solutions were offered. And most importantly, Snapchat face swaps happened.
Along with those that came last year, there were more of my "fake internet friends" I had never met in person.
Deepening relationships is my objective at Creative South. And this was, once again, a very successful year.
Scotty made me (and at least 4 other guys) cry
Scotty Russell is a dear friend of mine. And he gave his second ever public speech at Creative South. At the beginning he told the heartbreaking story of how he felt like a complete loser as a kid. Football ended up being his way of trying to prove to the world he wasn't a loser.
In his first year in college, he blew his back out twice while playing football. His dream of making something great of himself seemed to be crushed for good.
Something happened to him last year at Creative South, though. He regained a sense of community and purpose. He worked his butt off all year and created amazing illustrative lettering pieces to accompany his message of positivity and hustle and encouragement.
Scotty's message resonated with the crowd like no other. When he finished, the crowd erupted and gave him a standing ovation. It was a really special moment. I'm really proud to have been there.
I heard Scotty telling someone, in amazement, "I've had five dudes tell me they cried during my talk!" I was one of them.
Conferences are a great place to bounce around new ideas. I heard a lot of people talk about the importance of taking risks and experimenting. It's safe to follow trends, but how much more exciting and rewarding it is to set them!
I had a conversation at the last breakfast before heading out with a couple of guys that I really admire. They were gracious enough to listen to me stumble through some branding and vision related things I have been struggling with. A quick brainstorm later and I have a couple of exciting ideas I'm going to be pursuing soon. More to come on those later.
Come as friends, leave as family
Mike Jones, the one who started and runs Creative South, sets a beautiful theme for the conference. His big thing is #hugnecks. I'm very grateful for his love of the design community and how he has taken massive action to create an atmosphere of love and family. It's a beautiful thing.
If you've ever been on the fence about going to Creative South, make sure you make it next year.