Tall Trust Trees: Dribbble at Epicurrence

Dan Cederholm
Published in
4 min readMar 12, 2018


The view from the deck of Tenaya Lodge, HQ for Epicurrence.

It’s been over a week since returning from the latest installment of Epicurrence—a 4-day Winter Work Week for creative folks that took place at the Tenaya Lodge near Yosemite National Park in California. I came back inspired by a variety of things: The human spirit, natural wonders, and beautiful Almond Country™.

Okay the latter is something Sarah and I devised while making the 4-hour drive from San Francisco through the valley of agricultural wonders. We think they were almond trees. The groves that went on for miles and miles. “Will we ever see the end of Almond Country”, we asked repeatedly.

Eventually, we did, with the drive transitioning from nut trees to the High Sierras, where it was snowing and the threat of tire chain requirements was palpable and a bit frightening.

It’s About People

Epicurrence, and the stories shared by the speakers remind me what’s most important—far above the pixels we push: Connections we make and the relationships we put effort and care into. When you strip away the work, you’re left with people and friendships. That might sound a bit corny, but the older I get, the more crystallized that realization becomes.

I’m also reminded of the thing I’m most proud of when it comes to Dribbble: That we’re able to help foster those connections, get people working together, helping career paths, etc. Several folks at the event came up to me and said, “Thank you for Dribbble, it’s the reason I’m freelancing / got a job at ______.” When Rich and I started Dribbble as a side project, I would’ve never dreamed of hearing that. We didn’t set out to be a platform that helps people, but as time went on, it became clear that the real product was in fact the community.

I strongly sense that’s the same for Epicurrence. Dann Petty has curated a unique, intimate conference and the people that continually show up are what make the event so special. I was struck by how many attendees were hugging each other on the first night, as if they were old friends, only to discover they had only just met at a previous Epicurrence event. That speaks volumes to the care Dann and co. have put into making it very unlike your typical tech conference.

Epicurrence folks checking out Profile Rock (I think).

The Trust Tree

Epicurrence talks a lot about its “trust tree”. That is, that the stories shared at the event stay at the event. This allows speakers and attendees to get very candid.

In my Q&A session with Charli, I was able to talk about some things I haven’t talked about previously. Some struggles with anxiety disorder, for example. Opening up a bit has inspired me to talk more about this publicly. Several folks came to me afterwards sharing that they also suffer from the same issues.

The more people talk about mental health, the less stigmatized the topic will be. There is a spirit of vulnerability at Epicurrence that is unique, and that’s infectious.

The “Tunnel View” of El Capital on the left, Half Dome off in the distance at the center, and Bridalveil Falls on the right.

Feeling Small in a Good Way

In addition to the conference itself, we were just an hour drive from Yosemite National Park and Dribbble CEO, Zack, was kind enough to drive some of us down the windy road to Yosemite Valley to see the awe-inspiring El Capitan, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, giant trees, and everything else that makes this park such an amazing place.

Zack and I in front of Yosemite Falls

I felt incredibly small there. 3,000 feet of solid granite will do that to you. But small in a very good way. Standing on the floor of the valley, surrounded by the unimaginable, it was a reminder of how small we are on this planet. Which itself is a speck in the Universe. And so on and so on. It puts things in a good perspective: What’s really most important? Should I be stressing about deadlines, work, or politics—or should I take a moment here to understand how I fit into this world?

We squinted hard at El Capitan to see if there were any climbers on its face that cold day. To imagine that it’s been climbed in its entirety, sometimes without ropes, is profoundly humbling.

That combination of being both vulnerable and humbled over the span of a few days was invigorating. I’m going to try hard to remember the stories and that valley view when I next need a shot of perspective.

Thank you for having us, Epicurrence.



Dan Cederholm

Making type and goods at SimpleBits®. Co-founder of Dribbble. Author, speaker, and USCG-licensed captain. Dad in real life.