A journal series about navigating change and shaping the identity of a business — by Alec Babala and Brandon Tyson.
For this journal series, Babblings, we’ll report on the development of our growth studio, BBBABEL. We’re on a mission to discover our identity, both for our studio and for our personal lives, and we want to share whatever we find along the way.
This is not a definitive guide for starting a business. This is an honest journal on change and identity. Brandon and I hope that our Babblings can help you translate your own experiences.
A few days ago, as my plane from Los Angeles back to San Francisco began its descent, the baby next to me also began to cry. I released a big sigh and said, “You and me both.”
Just like this baby, I’m having a hard time articulating the specific problem. It’s an all encompassing identity crisis, one that’s too impatient to wait for mid-life so I’m plagued by what my generation calls a “quarter-life crisis.” This is defined by Wikipedia as general feelings of being lost, scared, lonely, or confused.
I recently started a new business with Brandon Tyson.
We’ve played with the idea since we first met at RISD, back when Brandon would sleep on my dorm floor and we’d dream up visions of a future studio. Over the next eight years we watched each other grow from messing around in art studios to taking on ambitious projects, and after countless long discussions we’re starting to figure out how to turn our friendship into a partnership and our dreams into existence.
By finally taking the step to gain control of my career, I’ve found myself in the unknown for the first time. And in the most dreadfully existential way, this decision has infinite possibilities, therefore, infinite ways to fail. But I see facing these uncertainties as something that we all share. Whether it’s deciding to take the next step in a relationship, going back to school, or backpacking through Argentina, we all reach a point where we need a change.
All these ways of navigating change are valid, and it’s hard to understand what’s right for yourself. As of now, my choice is a startup studio, but I’m allowing myself to not know all the answers, to not have a straight plan, and to trust that by being open-minded will lead to finding a true identity.
Today, I see that we’re faced with an overwhelming amount of information.
With a computer accessible in our pockets, we can have ten opinions on the most specific issue at all times, and all these voices start to converge and sound like random noises. It begins to sounds like babel. At the surface, babel is useless, but when you listen closer and evaluate all the voices individually, you can start hearing patterns and truths, and start to make decisions again. Babbling is a low-risk way to start conversation, you don’t need fleshed out sentences or even words, just an idea.