What community really means

Recently, a newsletter from our friends at the Happy Startup School caught my eye – my interpretation of it (rightly or wrongly) boils down as follows:

  • If we want our work to be genuinely fulfilling, we should gauge our success first on the strength of our community.
  • A strong community is an indicator of our commitment to things we care about; things that give us purpose and identity.  
  • It is our responsibility to build relationships ,and deeper relationships are able to affect real change.

I think it’s fair to say that finding fulfilment in the little things both at home and at work is more valuable to all of us than ever. It made me think about the importance of the work we refer to here (perhaps too dismissively) as side-projects. 

Over the past couple of years, we have started to build the Worthing and Beyond network based around our own values and interests – creativity, fairness in business, finding opportunity to continually meet and engage with nice people.  There is no commercial goal here, but we commit business resources to keeping it going and enjoy every second of that investment.  

With the insights at the top of this post in mind, the strength of this network will be a huge indicator of our success both personally, and as a business. We will continue to grow it as best we can and have every belief that it is a community that will spread positivity and potentially affect positive change.  

We continue to seek other opportunities to grow and develop the community around our business.  A glance at our recent social-media and blogging activity would be testament to our excitement about our support for an 8th-tier semi-professional football club in Brighton – one with an incredible community.

Community, we can relate easily to positivity.  Most of us know instinctively that communities need to be inclusive in order to be ‘good’.  Our children are being taught about the values of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at school but I’m not sure there are quite as many parents that understand them. Just from my experience watching football I’d suggest that perhaps those values aren’t as prevalent in our communities as they should be.

Whitehawk FC however, have pushed on with one of the most beautiful examples we’ve seen of the resetting of community standards. A lower-league football club whose fans chant anti-racist, anti-homophobic songs and who call out any activity that doesn’t fit with their ethos vocally and with humour. This is making a difference in the world of football. It’s a joy to be around and it can’t rationally be argued with.

At Huxley, we support a similar resetting of community standards, but for the digital world.

For those of you who aren’t aware – around 70% of websites are not accessible. For example, those with visual impairments might not be able to use an inaccessible website, older people might not be able to use an inaccessible website.  Unbeknown to us, our friends may not be able to follow and use websites with inaccessible copy. 

These experiences should not be dismissed as the inevitable symptoms of aging, or dyslexia or colour-blindness, but as fundamental design errors. Would a county council develop a town centre that 65 year olds are unable to navigate? Would people not really care if a library simply couldn’t cater for people in wheelchairs?

The Internet is our world, now, like it or not. We’re in the matrix.  A community of communities that is only going to get more advanced, more weird, and more important. 

Let’s make sure it’s inclusive.