Proximity

 I'm the first person that will talk (or yell) about how insane it is that so many people aren't leveraging the power of the internet to build internet products and companies.

Our small team builds, maintains and sells a product used by independent yoga studios across the world, we've helped numerous startups launch their ideas, and we've implemented software solutions for billion dollar companies that have eliminated legacy systems with modern software.

And we do this with a team of people across four states, three countries, and two continents.

The notion that you can't do great things when you're not in the same location as the people you're working with is simply wrong, and getting me to believe otherwise would require me to think that I am living my entire life in an imaginary world.

But nothing is free. And as with everything, there are tradeoffs.

Because the internet is so powerful, and because it enables so much, we can forget about how important proximity is. 

We can in fact lean too much on the internet.

Being on a hangout with someone is not the same as giving them a hug. Sharing emoji in a chat room is not the same as laughing over drinks. And reading an email about a concern someone has is not the same as hearing their voice crack in person as they share their fears.

The past few months I've been reminded that getting together with the people that are important to you, in person, is critical to maintaining healthy relationships.

Our team recently had a retreat in Wisconsin where for the first time most of us got together in one place. It was a pivotal moment for us.

One of our programmers who lives in Europe came to the states for 3 months over the summer, and there's no doubt that our relationship is stronger because we were able to spend time together.

I just came back from a visit with an important customer in California and while we work together very well remotely, there are just some challenges that are easier to tackle when you're in the same room together.

The internet is wonderful. That I am able to run an entire business from a laptop, and that anyone who works with us can work from anywhere in the world that they want, whenever they want, is something that I am grateful for on a daily basis.

I truly believe we are living in magical times. 

But it's important to recognize that when it comes to human relationships, the internet *facilitates* connection. It isn't connection itself.

Proximity matters.