Summer ‘16

I remember being on the phone with Iheanyi and having him be real with me about my plans for the summer. I remember telling my dad I was going overseas for a couple weeks to make art because everything in my life was finally falling into place and I felt like I could take that risk.

I never imagined that a phone call with a good friend/mentor and a conversation with my dad would lead to the best summer of my life so far. I remember in April during dead week at Purdue, I left a meeting with my psychiatrist and a thought kept bothering me. The thought of whether I could be better at life. Until then, life to me was something I saw as a problem. Life to me, was a difficult thing. I had several conversations with my maker on why I existed and what life means. He seems to talk like me and that was reassuring.

I tend to describe my life in terms of color. The pre-summer life of Fisher was grey and black but the present Fisher’s life is yellow and sky-blue with a hint of orange-red. Those are two polarizing descriptions because those colors are on the opposite parts of the color spectrum but that’s how life is. Asking myself if I could get better at life put so much into perspective and made me realize that life is such a beautiful and amazing thing.

I remember on my flight to San Francisco from Mexico City, I had a conversation with myself about what’s next. Truth be told, I figured out I didn’t want to know what was next. I simply wanted to experience things as they came and live within those moments. All I knew was that I was going to work at Pinterest for the rest of the summer. Working at Pinterest opened my mind to another side of tech that I hadn’t experienced before. A side where the people were incredibly passionate about the things they were building but at the same time, they were incredibly passionate about their lives and their aspirations. My first day at Pinterest, I got dinner with the other interns in my program and hearing what they were passionate about made me realize that things were going to be different from here on out.

In tech, to me at least, there are a lot of false passions. People say they’re passionate about helping people or passionate about education or whatever but usually, it’s just to make themselves seem more interesting when they actually don’t really care. But being at that dinner table with people whose faces would light up when they started talking about making music or film photography or teaching girls to code or connecting developers in Africa with clients overseas, it felt real. Like, life felt real.

A lot of people I’ve met in tech only want to talk about tech. They only want to talk about startups or starting a startup or what company X or Y is doing. They only want to talk about who’s raising what round, etc. Shit’s annoying. Being able to talk about film photography or making music allows me to connect with someone so much more. It’s great when you find people you connect with and you can build relationships with. People you see yourself being friends with for a long time. You know, who you choose to be around lets you know who you are.

I remember someone telling me I was privileged for saying “I like to make things. I like to be creative with code.” That forced me to take a step back and be like “I make art. I’m just doing what I like. How does that make me privileged in any way?” But fuck that guy. Everyone I’ve met this summer thinks it’s insanely cool that I make art with code. They like the idea of being creative with code where the things you make is out of the normal. Shit that isn’t regular.

My favorite memory of the summer would be slow dancing with a girl in my kitchen with no music playing. I don’t know why but it sticks out the most. I think that moment was when I realized again that I never take the time out to ask whether I could get better at life. Life is short but at least, there’s space to stretch out and really vibe with someone. Not a prom, not a wedding, when was the last time you slow danced with a man or woman? Seriously.

I hope I can keep meeting people who are far removed from tech because I want more interesting conversations. I want to create this vibrant community around me. I want to be challenged. My favorite two people I met this summer are a music producer and a photographer. The conversations I had with them were surreal and I’m glad I can call them my friends. I took time out to meet with kids who were born and raised in SF and were not involved in tech in anyway. Kids who are artists, musicians, store clerks, waitresses, and hairdressers. Kids whose parents are dentists, store managers, bus drivers, restaurant managers, and road workers. Ordinary people doing what they like because it’s incredibly easy to get lost in the chasm that is tech.

The best conversation I had was with a girl I met at a party who has to work two jobs so her family can afford the home they’ve lived all of her life in SF. Like that opened my mind up to a different side and life of SF I’d never really heard about or encountered. It’s so amazing being able to share beautiful vibes with beautiful people.

I remember my conversation with Theresa at Internpalooza and how we bonded over how much we both disliked tech and the culture behind it. There’s so much that happened this summer that I don’t have the time to go into but to Theresa, Emmanuel, Ashley, Amy, Ugo, Casey, Amit, Nic, Dom, Paul, Alejandro, Zaire, Vanessa, and Gabriella, thank you for the conversations. There are a number of more people I met but you guys made this summer for me. To everyone else I met that I didn’t get a chance to mention, blessings to you and the conversations we had. I will cherish the thoughts and ideas we exchanged. I truly love you guys.

Theresa and I at Explore Pinterest

I could have chosen to talk to you about my internship at Pinterest or my trips overseas or being interviewed by VICE and The Wall Street Journal but I think the people I met and the things I learned are more important than those other topics. I’d like to think I changed and grew this summer but to do that, I had to get out of who I was. Perhaps, to do something new you have to first be a little bit something you’re not. I also think that I fell in love in with life this summer. After experiencing the bad parts of what life is and how difficult it can be, I feel like I’m in love with how beautiful and amazing and colorful life is and can be. You can’t have sunshine without a little bit of rain.

I have no commitment to tech forever, but whatever I do, it will be a fun journey and I’ll be proud of what I do. I just hope I can help create a world where people feel connected and not alone. I want to add more yellow to people’s lives. ☀️

So to anyone: what’s something that changed who you are?

My name is Fisher and if you’ll indulge me, I want to keep finding people who feel good to be around and work with and I want to support them and let them support me.