I work for a small company, so my daily interactions are really limited. Of the handful of people in our office, I'm the only one with interests in design concepts, user experience, improved coding, social media and... well... what I'd call a better internet.
Small companies have their merit, but I really wish I had a person or two to chat about industry developments or new solutions with. I feel like these kinds of exchanges really propel personal and professional development, and the kind of isolation I'm currently experiencing can lead to a nasty case of stagnation.
Sometimes it only takes a villager
For about a year I was honored to work beside Dan Denney, the brain behind the Front-End Design Conference and a contributor to the Fuel Brand Network. I really feel like I grew a lot while working with him, but not because of anything he might have directly taught me. I would say that a lot of it was hearing about blog posts he read, having to articulate my thoughts on a CMS, talking about the latest Boagworld podcast, or any other incidental exchange we had. We would both later come to agree that it was never the projects we were working on but our conversations that really drove us to the next level.
Sometimes the villager moves on to another settlement
Since Dan left, I've been working in something of a vacuum. In lieu of the daily banter, we've decided to work out our own little geeky book club of sorts. It's not nearly as convenient as spinning around in a chair, and we're still sorting out the details, but it looks like we'll be reading Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler and chatting about it over Google Wave. I'm currently reading two other books, plus my normal assortment of online reading and tutorials, but I'll gladly make the time.