Like Minded People?

by Lan Bui on November 20, 2010

Is it beneficial to spend time with like minded people

The Survey

The other day I emailed our newsletter subscribers (sign up here to get in on the conversation) because I was thinking about like minded people and what it means to others… here is a copy of the email:

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately… why do we always get such a high after we go to a conference or workshop? Well, I think I have it nailed down to something pretty simple… like minded people.

If you have a day job that is unrelated to photography or video I’m sure you can relate… you get some great industry news and can’t share it with anyone at work because they don’t care, or even worse… they just think you are a big geek. At a conference… everyone you run into will sit for hours and chat about the same geeky things… there it is… like minded people.

I’m sure you are busy, so I’ll stop here and just ask that you answer two very quick questions… don’t worry I’ll talk more about where i’m going with this after I get some responses

Click here to answer two quick questions now


We received a lot of responses… and I was very surprised and ended up feeling very sad after going over the numbers and essay responses. Here are some quotes from the answers to the question “We would love to hear about a memorable experience that resulted from being with like minded people. Please also talk about stuff that resulted from it and if you feel like you want to experience something like that it again… maybe even how you think you could recreate that type of situation again…”:

I loved my graduate years at **** as a graduate photography student because we got to share our similar passions and our ideas, and we discussed and critiqued each other’s work. After I graduated, and started to focus on building up my own photography business, I found it very challenging to find like-minded people where I was living at (and still does) and even doubly challenging in that I am Deaf and uses ASL as primary mode of communication whenever I’m around like-minded people. I have had so much personal growth during my graduate years at **** that I’m now still seeking to get back to that kind of atmosphere. It’s not so easy having to find an interpreter and most often whenever I do join a photography group, I found myself being left out of the group discussion, thus I have to work doubly harder to engage people to discuss with me about what’s what within the photography world. Internet has helped to level that playing field somewhat, but not 100% but it’s better than nothing.

… in 2003 I auditioned for american idol… And there were 8,000 people standing/sitting etc singing/ practicing and it was amazing to just be around everyone who all shared the same passion… It was like everyone just got “it”.. No one had to say anything.. It was just an unspoken understanding. Wppi gives that on a different scale.. It’s not quite as magical but would be nice if it was! It always seems like there’s competition at phoography conferences.. Like “who’s who” and It takes a lot away… We don’t have anything in common anymore- instead you feel like you’re not quite good enough…

As artists, entrepreneurs and explorers, so much of this experience requires “breaking off from the pack”. Taking time with your own thoughts, examining your personal values and understanding the needs of others. This process requires risk and most of all….outside support (once you’ve established what you’d like to pursue within yourself). Like-minded people help remind us that no journey is ever really alone. We are all in this (to some degree or another) together.

I WISH there were like minded people up here!

I am a gamer. Ever since I first held my first joystick on an Atari 2600 I have been hooked. For several years I have been on staff of a huge computer gaming event in Dallas called QuakeCon. I work with a team of video enthusiasts and we create some fantastic videos celebrating what we love to do, play games. We work our butts off for an entire week but some great things come out of it. I would love to work with a team of people and produce great gaming video content.

I think it’s important to have spaces for folks to be together from similar backgrounds/experiences and spaces for folks to share across backgrounds/experiences. What usually results is a sense of deep connection to one another and a commitment to building something together (i.e., better communities, spaces for learning, etc.).

And I think this one is my favorite… haha…

Doing a photo and video shoot in a forest with a zebra…. oh and two guys who were totally inspirational in their approach, their knowledge and just being plain nice to be around!

There were so many essay answers I didn’t want to post them all… I did read every single one and really enjoyed reading them. Thank you so much for all of your responses! It personally meant a lot to me to hear from all of you.

So Sad

What made me so sad was thinking of all of the responses from people that wished they could spend more time with like minded people. Here is the picture I have in my mind:

A person is married and their wife/husband doesn’t share any interset in their passion, they go to work at a day job… because it is the right thing to do… because they get insurance and they went to school for it. No one at work is like minded, they are all pale robots working in white fluorescent lights staring at 15 inch LCD monitors having conversations like “Did you hear about blah blah blah?” … “yes blah”. This person gets to go to one industry trade-show a year and that is the one thing keeping them going every year, they get a high of all highs every time they go… and they get post trade-show blues for months after they get back home.

I’m sure that is pretty exaggerated… but it is just what I saw after seeing this graph from the survey:

how often to you spend time with like minded people

42% of the people surveyed don’t get to spend any time with like minded people more than once a month… I could not live with that!!!

Of that… 9.9% only get to spend time with like minded people once a YEAR!!! OMG… that must be horrible.

I’m still thinking about this survey and just had to share the results because I was so surprised by it. I’ll be writing a follow up soon, so for now leave your thoughts in the comments or talk to me on twitter about it.


PS. Oh… and if you want to have some interaction with like minded people for FREE… join me in Beverly Hills (LUXE Hotel Penthouse Suite) this Monday, November 22 at 7pm. RSVP here now (free pizza too).

  • Christine

    I love that we have a great group that gets together once a month to talk about business and other things – but the BEST part is witnessing the people that get together inbetween the formal meetings. It always makes me smile to see them tweet about lunch dates, photo walks, etc.

    So if anyone is in Houston, they are more than welcome to hang out with us – we’re happy to share & support each other and all grow together! (If I lived closer to SoCal, I’d take you up on that invitation for sure!)

    • Lan Bui

      There is time for you to fly out!

  • Cathy and David

    These are some really interesting results guys. :)

    • Lan Bui

      Yeah… I would have thought that a much smaller percentage of people would only get yearly interactions.

  • Dave Warner

    I added the comment “I WISH there were some like minded people up here!” (above) because I think a lot of us DON’T live in areas where there are lots of people, giving you the ability to hook up with those who like the same things as you. My only contact with other photographers is through the LensFlare35 Podcast because of how remote this area is. But, you DID give me an idea – maybe we should create an Adirondacks photo group? Get together once a month? At least you got me thinking about it Lan – I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    • Lan Bui

      Thanks for the response, there were a lot that said what you said… so it makes me think that if you do put something together there will be a great response.

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